Will online degrees become more 'legitimate'? - BBC News

Will online degrees become more 'legitimate'? - BBC News Will online degrees become more 'legitimate'? - BBC News edX and Coursera learning platforms - courses and price comparison - Business Insider - Business Insider Some Top Online MBA Programs See Applications Surge - Poets&Quants UC online program ranked as one of the country's most affordable - The News Journal Will online degrees become more 'legitimate'? - BBC News Posted: 25 Nov 2020 12:00 AM PST Still, questions remain about of the impact of online degrees. Will they make the same impression as in-person degrees? Will the ubiquity of online learning devalue traditional degrees? Hollands at Teacher's College also wonders if in-person degrees will become exclusively for wealthy students, meaning campus-based programs may end up signalling a student's status instead of a 'better

Drive for English-taught degrees to lure foreign students - University World News


Taiwan’s education ministry is pushing forward with its goal of bilingual English-Chinese education in schools and more university degrees and postgraduate courses taught in English as part of an effort to attract foreign students to plug a demographic gap, improve the country’s competitiveness and to compete head-on with universities in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Taiwan’s goal, announced by President Tsai Ing-wen in 2018, is to become a bilingual nation, including at university level, and attract more foreign students, particularly from Asian countries, under its New Southbound Policy launched in 2016.

The ministry held meetings last month with the heads of top universities to select universities to move towards the goal of half of all undergraduate courses, 70% of masters courses and 90% of doctoral degree courses to be taught in English within a few years. This compares to fewer than a third of masters and doctoral courses taught in English at present.

Universities likely to be selected to receive special government funding for the switch include National Taiwan University. National Sun Yat-sen University has said it aims to teach all its graduate courses in English by 2030. Most of its current English-taught courses at present are in engineering and management disciplines.

The meetings come as the ministry last month earmarked TW$3.61 billion (US$127 million) over the next two years for bilingual education in all school grades before tertiary education.

The money will be for classes taught in English, subsidies for some subjects to be taught in both English and Mandarin Chinese, increased support for disadvantaged students and students in rural areas where there is already a shortage of teachers, and increasing teachers’ English fluency by allocating funds for short-term study abroad programmes, Deputy Education Minister Tsai Ching-Hwa told local media on 4 October.

English-proficient high schoolers would then feed through to the universities.

Hsiao-Wei Yuan, vice president for international affairs at National Taiwan University (NTU), said bilingual education by 2030 “is a very ambitious goal”.

NTU currently has 1,900 English-taught courses. “We have designed some English-taught programmes. We encourage professors to teach their courses in English and we subsidise this with some funding for professors to transform their courses from Chinese to English,” she told University World News.

“There are a lot of PhD students who are required to publish papers before they graduate. They have to write these in English, so they might as well write their whole PhD in English,” Yuan said.

“At NTU it is probably not a problem to teach in English – 70% of our professors had their higher degree from overseas and among those professors 80% are from the US or English-speaking countries or Hong Kong. Now the university is encouraging teaching in English, so I can see it accelerating,” Yuan said.

More English-taught courses

Late last year Beijing announced that mainland Chinese students would no longer be allowed to attend universities in Taiwan, which had attracted 8,000 mainland students until 2019. The government is stepping up its efforts to attract students from Asia – interrupted this year by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the change also means a greater emphasis on switching to English rather than relying on mainland students who speak the same language.

A recent editorial in the Taipei Times newspaper noted that “the push to create a bilingual nation is about decoupling Taiwan from the linguistic and cultural ties that bind it to China, as much as it is an attempt to internationalise the education system”.

Yuan noted that every department at NTU can accept foreign students for doctoral studies even if they don’t speak Chinese. “Our students can complete a masters degree without a single word of Mandarin,” she said, but “for bachelor degrees we do need to have more push”.

More undergraduate degrees, starting with civil engineering, economics and mechanical engineering, will be taught in English at NTU. “We already have masters degree courses in English including agricultural economics, technology, global MBA, global health, biodiversity, global agricultural technology and genomic science,” Yuan added.

English-taught courses are also a way to improve NTU’s standing in global rankings. NTU is already in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education and QS world university rankings. “Our ranking has dramatically increased over the past two or three years so this is our strategy of internationalisation. We are doing that very vigorously, so our professors realise the importance of English taught-courses,” Yuan said.

NTU’s English-taught courses were originally designed to attract international students. The university has just under 3,000 foreign students – the largest foreign student body among Taiwan’s universities. But courses taught in English also attract local students, many of whom are proficient in English.

Students already have to pass an English proficiency test before they can graduate from NTU; otherwise they have to take some intensive English courses before they graduate, Yuan noted.

Young Taiwanese have exposure to English on the internet and in the media. “But of course, we do also have students whose English is not that good. We try to help those students and provide special language courses for them. We want to make sure that the English level of all NTU students can be increased,” she said.

English proficiency of local students is set to improve in future. Taiwan’s foreign English teacher recruitment project, in existence since 2014, normally recruits around 80 native English-speaking teachers a year. In July the Education Ministry announced this would rise to 300 a year, according to a report by Taiwan’s Central News Agency, although this is far from covering all schools.

NTU is also setting up an international college teaching entirely in English to attract international students. This is similar to international colleges such as Underwood International College at South Korea’s Yonsei University or Peking University’s postgraduate Yenching Academy, with specially taught global programmes, including international exchanges.

NTU’s international college will have an interdisciplinary focus with topics related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Tuition fees will be a little bit higher and we will focus on links with industry, so they will mentor students for a year,” Yuan said.

The international college has already begun recruiting students to its agriculture programme, but there are plans for a stepped up recruitment drive and new buildings to house the college, she said.

Looking towards Hong Kong

Academics in Taiwan talk about Taiwan taking over from Hong Kong or even Singapore for quality English-language higher education. While, previously, professors from Taiwan moved to Hong Kong, Singapore or mainland China due to better salaries, there are signs that the flow is reversing, particularly from Hong Kong, as many see the city’s freedoms being eroded and regard academic freedom as being particularly under threat.

Since the National Security Law was passed in Hong Kong on 1 July, the number of students from Hong Kong and the former Portuguese enclave of Macau, adjacent to Hong Kong, has increased 50%, according to figures released this week by Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong. He declined to give an overall figure.

Taiwan set up the Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office in July to assist people from Hong Kong seeking to study, work or live in Taiwan. Around 4,097 students from Hong Kong applied to Taiwan’s universities this year – a five-fold increase from two years ago. The office has been allocated a budget of TW$30 million (US$1 million) for next year.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong said interest in Taiwan’s universities had risen since the protests in Hong Kong started in June 2019. Several Taiwanese universities allowed students from Hong Kong to take up studies in Taiwan as ‘visiting scholars’ after prolonged closures of Hong Kong’s universities in 2019, before the COVID-19 outbreak. Some look likely to stay longer due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

NTU, Taiwan’s highest ranked and most prestigious university, and National Sun Yat-sen University, which has one-fifth of its faculty from abroad, may be exceptions along with a few other top-tier universities in having faculty that can teach in English. At National Tsing Hua University around a third of graduate courses and 15% of undergraduate courses are taught in English, according to the university’s president, Hocheng Hong.


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