Taiwan Introduces Scholarships to Keep International Grads
|Created At:||19 September, 2023|
|Created By:||Allaa Ashraf|
In an effort to strengthen its workforce, Taiwan aims to retain 210,000 international students after they graduate.
To achieve this goal, the education ministry plans to establish overseas offices in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Their target is to attract 320,000 international students by 2030, a significant increase from the approximately 19,000 students in Taiwan in 2022 (pre-pandemic figures were around 57,000).
Taiwan faces demographic challenges, including an ageing population and declining birth rates, prompting the government to actively recruit international talent to address workforce gaps and enhance industrial competitiveness.
The focus is on STEM students due to high demand from Taiwanese companies. The plan involves an investment of approximately $162 million, with eligible international students able to apply for government scholarships and stipends from sponsoring companies.
Most students will pursue dual degrees, spending two years in their home countries and two years in Taiwan. After graduation, they are expected to work in Taiwan for two additional years with their sponsoring companies or repay their scholarships. The government will simplify residency processes to facilitate this initiative, apart from its existing efforts to attract full-course undergraduate students to study in Taiwan.
Earlier this year, government oversight bodies criticised the education and labour ministries for not adequately safeguarding international students against workplace exploitation. Yang Yu-hui, Director of the Department of Technological and Vocational Education, emphasised that the new scholarships will alleviate these concerns. He stated, "They should be able to focus on their two-year studies in Taiwan with the scholarships provided by the Taiwanese government, which include a one-way air ticket, visa application fees, and university tuition and fees." Additionally, Yang mentioned that corporations collaborating with universities will offer a monthly stipend of at least NT$10,000 (equivalent to USD $312) and provide job opportunities, which should adequately cover daily expenses.
Taiwan initiated its New Southbound Policy in 2016, aimed at strengthening relations with Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Australasian countries, including enhancing educational connections through scholarships for students from these regions.
Christopher Green, a researcher at the Department of Education at National Chiayi University, noted that international students in STEM fields often face challenges in securing graduate employment in Taiwan, partly due to language barriers. "Students come for the scholarship and knowledge opportunities but generally are stuck and do not move to business within the country as they perhaps assumed would be the case," he remarked.
Taiwanese universities have witnessed a decline in enrollment, with a 20% decrease this year compared to 2012.
Green emphasised, "International student recruitment is key to all universities, both private and public."
He added, "The current policies of pressure on women to work and men to work harder has led to many not having children or emigrating to other countries for better pay. The level of pay is one-third that of Korea or Japan. Taiwanese can go abroad and get better pay and therefore take their families with them".