Experts explains unenthusiastic responses toward Taiwan universities’ ‘new immigrant category’

TAIPEI (The China Post) — As the population of new immigrants in Taiwan surged past 650,000, many universities are beginning to pay attention to the rights and interests of these new Taiwanese.

In a bid to encourage new immigrants to further their education, a “new immigrants’ category” was launched for the first time as universities and colleges look forward to welcoming new students in the 2022 school year.

However, many were surprised to see the lackluster responses that came after applications were opened.

According to Chinese-language media reports, the Tsing-Hua Interdisciplinary Program (清華學院學士班) saw zero applications for its new immigrants’ class, while the East Asian, and Chinese language teaching departments of the National Taiwan Normal University (台灣師範大學) only saw one new immigrant applicant each.

Administrative assistant Wang Jie (王潔) of the Tsing-Hua University administrations office  explained that “the special selection for the bachelor’s class of Tsing-Hua University recently set up a new category for new residents with five additional spots to encourage new immigrants who have worked in Taiwan for several years to apply.”

However, it seemed that during the promotion stages of such courses, the school failed to engage with their target audience, leading to many children of new immigrants calling to express their desire to apply only to be told they did not meet the requirements.

Former legislator Lin Li-chan (林麗蟬) pointed out that the departments should add spots in classes that new immigrants may find interesting, such as the department of social work, long-term care, hospitality, and more.

In addition, Lin believes that the spots should also be offered to the long-excluded Mainland Chinese spouses so as to improve the effectiveness of the universities’ enrollment.

U News chief executive officer Wei Chia-hui (魏佳卉) further analyzed that most new immigrants get their information through group chats. At present, there are few government units and universities that use these channels to promote courses, which is a possible reason of why the news didn’t reach new immigrants in time.

She called on the Ministry of Education (MOE, 教育部) to help new immigrants who hope to study and receive junior high or high school diplomas, so as to improve the university enrollment policy as a whole.