President Tsai eying 20% jump in Southeast Asian students to Taiwan

President Tsai Ing-wen said Thursday that she hopes to see a 20 percent annual increase in the number of students from Southeast and South Asia at Taiwan universities.

Speaking of her administration's "new southbound policy," Tsai said Taiwan will proactively seek to engage in an exchange of talent with other areas in Asia.

"The success of the policy will require people with the skills and knowledge to implement it," Tsai said at a seminar in Taipei.

One of the strategies is to attract more university students from Southeast and South Asia, she said, setting a goal of 60,000 by 2019, which would mean a 20 percent annual increase.

As part of the exchange plan, Taiwan's Ministry of Education has allocated NT$1 billion (US$31.9 million) to a program that will help children of new immigrants visit their parents' home countries, Tsai said.

The government will also subsidize a program that will allow 12,000 Taiwanese youths to work, study or volunteer in Southeast Asia, she said.

In addition, Taiwan will increase the number of scholarships to students from Southeast Asian countries, Tsai said.

She said her administration's new southbound policy is different from the one that was implemented in the 1990s, in that it seeks to create common interests by building wide range of connections, rather than focusing mainly on trade and investment.

Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council,