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On 9 February 2011, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education announced the specific quotas for the first batch of Mainland Chinese students to enter its higher education institutions. This figure for the 2011/12 academic year is capped at 2 000 students. Furthermore, these individuals will be enrolled mainly in undergraduate degree programmes (68%) and private institutions (76%). Among the 134 institutions given permission to admit these students, 49% are technical universities/colleges.
The admission of students from Mainland China was made possible in Taiwan by the approval of three acts in August 2010. A rather intense political debate between the two dominant political parties in Taiwan preceded the approval of the acts (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, August 2010). Political sensitivities are still clearly in evidence; in the same announcement about the specific enrolment quotas, institutions are sternly advised to adhere to the principles and quantitative limits outlined in the regulations pertaining to the admission of Mainland Chinese students.
Taiwan’s decision to allow its higher education institutions to enrol Mainland Chinese students came 13 years after Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to China in 1997 and opened its door to Mainland Chinese undergraduate students in 1999. In a context smaller in scale and less politically sensitive, only 150 students were admitted to the eight publicly funded institutions in Hong Kong under a highly selective scholarship scheme. Since then, Mainland China has become the major source of publicly funded and self-financed non-local students in Hong Kong. As of 2009/10, 90% of the 9 333 non-local students in Hong Kong are from Mainland China.
News release, Department of Higher Education, Taiwan