A courtesy call on Dr. Lucia Lin, Political Deputy Minister by Professor James Lee, Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, Macquarie University Remarks by Dr. Lucia Lin
It’s a great pleasure to welcome Professor James Lee from Macquarie University in Sydney to Taiwan on behalf of the Ministry of Education. I know that you’re a strong proponent of internalization and have a longstanding interest in international issues in higher education. This is very much in keeping with the approach of the Ministry of Education here in Taiwan.
Development and internationalization of our higher education sector is among our top priorities. International cooperation has become a significant way to enhance educational quality and our profile, and of course, with that, our international competitiveness.
And indeed, about 5% of Taiwan’s higher education institutions have soared to now be ranked among the top hundred universities in the Asia university rankings. This is very gratifying.
Equally importantly, Taiwan has been making a major educational contribution to South-East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand in our region. For example a major area of our regional involvement is helping Thailand develop its technological and vocational education and training sector, particularly in the tertiary area.
Between 2013 and 2017, the Ministry will invest 20.2 billion NT dollars (over 665 million US dollars) into a wide-ranging Technological and Vocational Education Reform project, now in its second phase. This is to ensure that the technological and vocational education and training that this sector provides meets industry needs, and even anticipates them. Its key focus areas include ensuring teaching quality, developing curriculum flexibility, and expanding practical collaboration with industry.
Another major educational contribution we’re making in South-East Asia is the Ministry’s Elite Study-In-Taiwan Program which began in 2008. We work under this umbrella program to help university lecturers and officials in neighboring South East Asian countries obtain various scholarships to undertake a degree, usually a master’s degree or a PhD, or professional training, in one of 50 Taiwan consortium universities, and benefit from the quality of our higher education system. For example, targeting the training of government and professional personnel to help rebuild Aceh, following the devastating tsunami in 2004.
Taiwan has a dynamic education and research system, and Taiwanese researchers already enjoy collaborative partnerships, in fields such as materials science and electrical engineering, to name just two, and share a global outlook with their Australian research partners. In recent years, many bilateral academic agreements have been set up between institutions of higher education in Australia and in Taiwan. And for many years our Ministry of Education has been providing Taiwan Scholarships to undertake a degree, and Mandarin Chinese Enrichment Scholarships to outstanding students from Australia. We’re sure that they’ll enjoy satisfying educational and cultural experiences in Taiwan that will further enhance their studies and help them become successful global citizens.
Taiwan participated in the pilot program of the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan and we were very pleased to accept an invitation to be a host location from 2015. We know that the New Colombo Plan will be driven by demand from Australian universities and by students themselves. I’m very confident that the universities in Taiwan can offer first-class internship and mentorship opportunities in programs—across an enormous range of fields—that will attract many Australian undergraduate students, and cater well to their interests and needs.
I should point that an increasing number of undergraduate subjects at particular institutions are now being taught in English. This is in addition to our long-established language programs, where Australian undergraduate students can select to study simplified as well as traditional Chinese characters.
So we hope that Macquarie University will explore further collaboration and possibilities for student and teaching staff exchanges with more of our universities. Such interactions will set the stage for successful outcomes and futures for our young people, our future global citizens.