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Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy to help Indian scholars

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2018

Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Education Yao Leehter talks to Priyanka Srivastava on country’s new policy that aims at increasing collaboration between the two countries in higher education and economic cooperation

Taiwan – a lush green island surrounded by Pacific Ocean, East China Sea, North China Sea and Taiwan Strait is a country that takes pride in its extraordinary, prolific research work and highest number of patents each year. The country can soon be one of the top destinations for research students in India, as Taiwan is attracting Indian brains. Thanks to Taiwan’s recently introduced New Southbound Policy (NSP) targeting Southeast and South Asian countries as strategic partners, the connect between the research scholars and students will grow with time.  

Introduced by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education (MoE), the NSP aims at enhancing the exchange and partnerships with neighbouring countries especially India. Yao Leehter, Deputy Minister of Education aims at strong friendship between both the governments and hopes the “collaboration to go a long way.”

We want the Indian government to be more collaborative and the officials should reach out to us in various education initiatives. From the various countries that we have included under the NCP, our focus is on India,” said Leehter Yao in an exclusive chat with the Education Times at the ministry’s head office in Taipei.

Our universities are looking at young brains from India and enthusiastic approach of the students to participate in the Masters, PhD and post-doctoral work,” said Yao, who is confident of seeing an increase in the number of students at various universities in the coming years. The immediate goal is to have 20% increase in students by 2020 to enrol in master’s and PhD.

At present, the number of Indian students is around 1500, and the Ministry is hoping that NCP will inspire students to increase it to 10000 students, in the coming years.

"International mobility is one of the main goals of our government. We need student who can be educated here and eventually absorbed in technology companies that have set up plants. The international students will advance the business and industrial transformation,” added Yao emphasising on how the ministry has introduced initiatives to popularize Mandarin in India.

Knowledge of Mandarin and familiarisation with the Taiwanese culture can increase the association, for which Taiwan Experience Education Programs (TEEP) has been introduced. TEEP has an eye on encouraging international students to participate in short-term professional internship projects.

“The 65 research centres set up in 24 universities have been working on various projects, for which we need to strengthen the foreign collaborations,” said Andy Cheu-An Bi, Director General, Department of International and Cross-strait Education pointing at how the initiative will boost collaborative research education.

Mandarin language promotions have been enhanced through several programmes launched by the government where maximum thrust is on expanding Mandarin teachers in Indian schools. Under the NCP, the Ministry has increased Huayu Enrichment Scholarship Program to 14, under which a student can learn the language at one of Taiwan’s Chinese learning centres, earning a stipend of NT$ 25,000 (US$830). The government is also promoting Taiwan’s Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL), which needs to be formally recognised by the government in India to support the students here.

“Taiwan has the resources, all that the students need is learn the language and be a part of higher education revolution,” added Cheu-An Bi.


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