On March 15, 2018, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) in Vietnam issued a notice regarding the 2018 Common Senior High School Graduation and University Entrance Examination (referred to below as ‘the university entrance examination’) stating that for their Foreign Language subject, students can choose from one of six languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, or Russian, and that students need not sit for that examination if certain conditions are met. For the first time, having already passed the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) at Level 3 has been incorporated as one of the conditions for not needing to sit the test.
TOCFL tests are regularly held in Vietnam, with more than 4,000 examinees each year. Thirty tests are planned to be held in 2018, at test sites in different parts of the country, including the cities of Can Tho, Da Nang, Da Lat, Ha Long, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nha Trang, and Dong Thap Province, Ha Tinh Province, and Vinh Phuc Province. Over the past few years, TOCFL has become closely connected with overseas student recruitment, overseas Chinese language teaching, and the selection of excellent staff by local Taiwanese businesses.
This formal recognition of TOCFL by the Vietnamese government means that schools, colleges and universities in Vietnam can use TOCFL as a foreign language proficiency standard, and it can be similarly used for civil servant recruitment, and staff recruitment by enterprises. Importantly, this will strengthen the TOCFL brand and its effectiveness in Vietnam, and this will in turn help to further broaden the number of test sites for TOCFL in Vietnam, and assist student recruitment by universities and colleges in Taiwan.
In 2017, there were 7,339 Vietnamese students studying in Taiwan, a 53.7% increase compared to the number in 2016, and 2,541 of the students in 2017 were non-degree students, representing a substantial increase of 68%. This made Vietnam the New Southbound Policy country with the second highest number of students coming to study in Taiwan. The highest numbers of student coming to Taiwan are from Mainland China, followed by the numbers from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam.