Lu Mu-lin, political deputy minister of the Ministry of Education Taiwan
By Kang Shin-who
The Taiwanese government is trying to strengthen educational ties with Korea and attract more students by through scholarships.
According to the country's Ministry of Education, there are about 30,000 international students in Taiwan - about 1,500 are Korean nationals.
Vice head of the ministry Lu Mu-lin said Taiwan hopes to increase its number of Korean students in an effort to internationalize its universities and improve education.
"Currently, over a thousand Korean students are studying Chinese or seeking a degree in Taiwan. We extremely treasure the existing friendship and understanding between Korea and Taiwan. I strongly believe that more mutually beneficial cooperation and results for both countries will be expected," said Lu.
Lu visited Korea this week to look around and encourage the Taiwan Education Center, which was set up to promote Taiwanese universities and Chinese language programs in Korea.
In an interview with The Korea Times on Tuesday, the vice minister said Korean students can learn Chinese at quality institutes and that many universities also offer academic programs in English.
"If Korean youngsters would like to study and learn more about Taiwan, we will do our best for them with various scholarship programs and a quality language learning project," Lu said.
Taiwan has 28 Mandarin training centers that offer a variety of courses for students at different proficiency levels. They are taught by faculty members who have experience with international students.
The ministry provides grants to encourage foreign students and government officials to receive Mandarin training in Taiwan and to gain a better understanding of the culture, educational system, science and technology advances, and the political system.
In addition, the ministry also introduced the "Taiwan Visiting Chinese Language Teachers Program" in 1984 and has sent 277 Chinese language teachers overseas to promote Taiwan's Mandarin education and learning program. It also provides an English language-taught Mandarin program
Taiwan has a total of 145 four-year universities and is running a special project to enhance the quality of the higher education institutes and make them globally competitive by inviting distinguished world scholars.
Private universities charge $3,000 for annual tuition, while state-run universities levy half that amount. International students can receive $755 annually for a Language Enrichment Program or undergraduate studies and $906 for postgraduate studies.
Referring to educational tours, Lu said, "The tour programs will give Taiwanese students and students from other countries opportunities to experience and learn about each other's cultures, exchange new ideas and views and to have contact with the real world."
The ministry has established what is called the "Taiwan International Association for Educational Tours," which has seen a total of 1,911 Taiwanese students come to Korea and 1,682 Korean students visit Taiwan over the past three years.
Furthermore, the ministry plans to reach out to another region of Korea - North Chungcheong Province - for further education exchanges. Under the plan, Ming Chuan University in Taiwan will team up and exchange students with Chungbuk National University and Juseong University.