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Taiwan schools eyeing students on mainland

By Lawrence Chung, The Straits Times, Taiwan Bureau, 15 December 2000

They may be banned from having Chinese campuses, but Taiwan universities team up with mainland counterparts to attract students

TAIPEI - In a bid to survive competition that threatens to intensify with Taiwan's impending entry into the World Trade Organisation, more Taiwanese universities are turning to the lucrative market in China.

They are planning to hold joint student recruitment exercises with their mainland counterparts.

This is despite the fact that the Taiwan authorities ban local academic institutions from opening campuses in China and do not recognise mainland Chinese academic qualifications.

Ms Liu Chia-ju, executive secretary of the education promotion department of Hsuan Chuang University in Hsinchu county, said: 'We have already applied to the Education Ministry to offer business administration courses for graduates in Shanghai.

'Once we get the approval, we will start recruiting students in February next year.'

According to Ms Liu, university president Fred Ho Fwu-tyan felt that there was great potential for the recruitment programme as students in the initial period could come from about 200,000 Taiwanese businessmen as well as their dependents who are now staying in Shanghai.

To ensure the university does not run foul of Taiwanese regulations, she said that the graduate students would return to Taiwan to sit for a qualification test.

This is the local requirement for graduate students before they are allowed to pursue post-graduate courses.

On passing the test, they can then return to China to complete their theses for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, Ms Liu said.

Mr Yu Ke-chiang, research and development executive director at Yuan Ze University in Taoyuan county, said his school has an agreement with Qinghua University in Beijing and Jiaotong University in Shanghai for an Executive MBA programme for Taiwanese students.

The programme is expected to begin next March.

Min Chuan University in Taipei also has similar plans on its drawing board.

Commenting on these moves, Education Minister Ovid Tseng said that in theory, there was nothing wrong with Taiwanese educational institutes setting up schools in any part of the world, including China.

'Still, we need to follow the government's policy, especially when we still do not recognise the mainland's academic qualifications,' he said.

However, he said his ministry is planning to send a delegation to China to study its academic system, to prepare for the day when the ban on setting up mainland campuses is lifted.