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According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, a total of 117,970 foreign students attended universities and colleges in Taiwan during 2017, and this figure represented an all-time high and accounted for 9.3% of all university and college students. In addition, the number of foreign students from countries targeted by the New Southward Policy increased by 5,681 persons compared with the year before, which almost made up for the decrease in Chinese students by 6,677 persons.

A total of 37,999 students from countries under the New Southward Policy attended universities and colleges in Taiwan during 2016, and accounted for 32% of all foreign students. The number of these students has also been growing steadily. Since it began promoting the New Southward Policy two years ago, the government has significantly increased funding for relevant programs. There has consequently been a clear rise in the number of students from New Southward Policy countries, who have increased by close to 10,000 persons during the last two years, and now account for nearly one-third of all foreign students.

In particular, more Malaysian students come to seek their degrees in Taiwan than students from any other country. Malaysian students totaled 13,433 persons in 2016, and far outnumbered students from China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Vietnam. In fact Malaysia has been the only country to send more than 10,000 students at any one time.

The Malaysian students studying in Taiwan can be classified into three major categories: “overseas Chinese students,” “foreign students,” and short-term non-degree students. According to statistics from the Ministry of Education, the number of Malaysian foreign students studying in Taiwan has increased by 1,000 persons during the most recent three years, nearly putting them on a par with Malaysian overseas Chinese students, who still comprise the majority of Malaysian students.

Most universities are currently doing their utmost to recruit Malaysian students. National Taipei University of Business and National Taipei University of Education have held recruiting meetings in Malaysia to encourage local Chinesespeaking high school graduates to pursue degrees in Taiwan, and have specifically targeted Malaysian Chinese-language schools and independent high schools. National Taipei University of Business hopes to double the number of its Malaysian students within three years. For its part, National Taipei University of Education has specially established a joint recruiting office to bear responsibility for recruiting students from the ASEAN area, which includes many of the countries under the New Southward Policy.

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