Academia-industry project benefits Indian students

The first batch of students taking part in a specialized program for young scholars from India at Wu Feng University in southern Taiwan’s Chiayi County is scheduled to graduate Jan. 20, with many of them on track to work as engineers at a local machinery company.


Tsai Hung-jung, a professor and head of the university’s College of Safety and Engineering, said the program was launched by the institution in 2013 in collaboration with Chiayi-headquartered Far East Machinery Co. More than 30 of the 87 students taking part in the scheme will be graduating this month with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering.


The education initiative was proposed by David Chuang, president of Far East Machinery, which has a sales and customer service office in India. “With its huge population, India is probably the only country comparable to mainland China in terms of market potential,” he said. “We need to build our own talent pool to secure a foothold there.”


Chuang teamed up with Wu Feng University to create a program tailor-made for Indian high school graduates interested in pursuing advanced education and a career in the machinery industry in Taiwan. Selected students sign a contract agreeing to work for the company for three years following completion of a four-year degree, which is paid for by the company. Participants must pass academic and internship performance evaluations to remain in the program.


According to Tsai, the university considers international student recruitment to be a vital part of its operations. “We plan to offer more specialized programs directed toward international students, especially those from Southeast Asia, in line with the government’s New Southbound Policy,” he said.


Tsai said his institution will establish a talent development center in India this year to provide Mandarin language courses and student recruitment services. The university also intends to work with Chiayi’s Sieh Chih Vocational High School to craft a similar program for students from Vietnam in the near future.


A key component of President Tsai Ing-wen’s national development strategy, the peoplecentric New Southbound Policy seeks to deepen Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, trade and tourism links with Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. (KH-E)


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