Ma to review mainland student restrictions


TAIPEI — President Ma Ying-jeou said Thursday that the government will conduct a comprehensive review of the current restrictions on Chinese nationals studying in Taiwanese universities, as part of its efforts to attract more students from China.

Ma also reiterated the government’s goal of including Chinese students in the National Health Insurance program to give them equal treatment to that extended to international students from other countries.

Speaking during a meeting of university presidents held in Tainan, southern Taiwan, Ma pointed out that universities around the world are competing to recruit top students from other countries amid the global trend toward internationalizing higher education.

The restrictions on Chinese students, however, puts Taiwan at a disadvantage in this competition, he noted.

According to the president, opening Taiwanese universities to Chinese students is beneficial to Taiwan because it allows young people from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to make friends, compete and cooperate with each other. The policy also increases the sources of students for local universities, which are facing recruitment shortages due to Taiwan’s declining birth rate, he said.

Over the past three years since local universities began admitting Chinese nationals, approximately 20,000 of them have come to Taiwan to study, Ma said.

Meanwhile, there are currently 70,000 foreign students from other countries, a significant increase from 2008, when there were fewer than 30,000, he said.

On the issue of tuition fee adjustment, Ma said the government hopes that a transparent, market-based formula can be worked out to guide such adjustments.