MOE may accredit mainland junior college diplomas

By Joseph Yeh,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The government is considering recognizing Chinese junior college diplomas to attract more students from the mainland to continue their education in Taiwan, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday. The ministry is considering expanding accreditation to include Chinese junior colleges so that students from across the Taiwan Strait could enroll at local two-year colleges, Lee Yen-yi (李彥儀), head of the MOE’s Department of Technology and Vocational Education (教育部技職司), told local media yesterday. The new policy could take effect as soon as August after an executive order is passed by the MOE, Lee added. Lee explained that Taiwan has huge advantages in attracting Chinese students to study at two-year colleges. Students in China are given an associate degree after they graduate from junior colleges, but only around 5 percent of them are able to be admitted into a university or college to continue their education if they are interested in pursuing a master’s degree, she added. In Taiwan, however, those who graduate from two-year colleges are immediately given a master’s degree, she noted. There are a total of 58 two-year colleges locally, with 20,000 vacancies opening to applicants each year, Lee said.

The abundant opportunities in Taiwan may attract more Chinese students to stay, the MOE official said. Opening Doors to Chinese Students

Lee said there are a total of 1,246 junior colleges in China. The MOE would probably accredit only 190 of them, she said. The proposal has not been finalized. The MOE’s latest proposal is part of the ruling administration’s ongoing plan to open the doors of local higher education institutions to more Chinese students to promote closer cross-strait exchanges. The ministry began a program in 2011 that opened more than 100 Taiwanese colleges and universities to 2,000 Chinese students each year.

Also, the government acknowledged a total of 41 Chinese universities and it is considering expanding the accreditation to 112. In an effort to protect the rights of local students, however, the government imposed restrictions, including banning Chinese students from taking certification exams and not allowing them to stay in Taiwan after they graduate. The policy is also meant to save many local schools from shutting down. The island country suffers from having too many universities and not enough students due to its low birth rate. Therefore, local universities are eager to attract students from China and elsewhere.