The purpose of this research is to identify the gaps between policy goals and policy implementation of international student policy in Taiwan’s higher education system. Exploring possible causes that lead to the gaps are the focus as well. Although the cases drew upon are based in an Asia country, yet the higher education is one of the sectors where global, national, and local discourses interplay (Scott, 2011). Therefore, the findings and implications could be international.
Taiwan decided to put international student recruitment on its policy agenda in order to respond to global forces and domestic need. In 2004, the Ministry of Education produced a report on Expanding International Student Population in Taiwan and the Executive Yuan included it into the National Development Plan. In April 2011, the Ministry of Education put forward Study-in-Taiwan Enhancement Program. The aim was to position itself as a higher education hub in East Asia by setting its target countries in Indonesia, Viet Nam, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. In 2016, as part of the New Southbound Policy, which seeks to strengthen the economic and trade ties with Australia, New Zealand and 16 countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia, the Ministry has expanded its target countries in align with the Policy (Ministry of Education, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016). On the other hand, due to the ‘special state-to-state relations’ between Taiwan and China, not until the 2011/12 academic year did Taiwan start enrolling the People's Republic of China (PRC) degree students under ‘Three Restrictions and Six Prohibitions’ (Executive Yuan, 2014).
The Ministry has put forward several plans through state-initiated mechanisms to encourage higher education institutions (HEIs) to enroll international students and provide support services. However, individual HEIs are also required to respond to global pressures, students’ needs and carry out institutional responsibility based on their positioning and values. Therefore, HEIs might implement the policy with objectives in mind that are different from those of the government. Furthermore, policy implementation is seen as “a continuous process of negotiation between actors whose interactions modify policy intentions and goals” (Reale, & Seeber, 2013: 137). ‘Actors’ here refers to leaders or staff at the same or different implementation levels, such as nations and institutions, and having the agency to re-read and interpret policy texts. Therefore, within the process, policy actors would receive, react, and remake policy in a complicated and multi-level field (Rizvi, & Lingard, 2010; Sin, 2014; Trowler, 2003). Hence, with the uncertainties from global, national and local dimensions and the agency of policy actors, it is highly likely that the gaps between policy goals and outcomes inevitably occur.
A glonacal agency heuristic proposed by Marginson and Rhoades (2002) is used as a theoretical framework to analyze Taiwan’s international student policy in a global, national and local setting. The framework encompasses lens at global, national and local levels, and provides an appropriate structure to analyze current higher education policy. Local dimension refers to institutions, localities, and communities; national dimension means national policies, polity, economy, culture and laws; global dimension means world knowledge system, information flow, people mobility and institutions global networks. The framework is neither a linear nor hierarchical model. Instead, the three dimensions interact and overlap, specifying the embeddedness of global imperatives, national policies, and local organizations in which the policy is formulated and implemented. In addition, this framework emphasizes on the agency of policy actors at the three levels as well as the unique characteristics, such as history, contexts, and resources of nations and institutions (Marginson, 2011; Marginson, & Rhoades, 2002; Vaira, 2004).
Department of Statistics, Ministry of Education. (2015). 2014 International degree students--by country. Retrieved 15 January, 2017 from http://stats.moe.gov.tw/files/detail/103/103_ab103.xls Executive Yuan. (2014). Opening up Taiwan’s higher education system and recognition of the PRC degree. Retrieved 11 October, 2016 from http://www.ey.gov.tw/policy5/News_Content.aspx?n=CA60F31A88AF3736&s=79DBE3E74CCCC15E Marginson, S. (2011).Global, local, national in the Asia-Pacific. In S. Marginson, S. Kaur, & E. Sawir (Eds.), Higher education in the Asia-Pacific: strategic responses to globalization (pp. 3-34). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. Marginson, S., & Rhoades, G. (2002). Beyond national states, markets, and systems of higher education: a glonacal agency heuristic, Higher Education, 43, 281-309. Ministry of Education. (2009). Policy on International Students Recruitment in Higher Education. Retrieved 11 January, 2017 from https://www.fichet.org.tw/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/%E5%8C%97%E5%8D%80%E5%9C%8B%E9%9A%9B%E4%BA%8B%E5%8B%99%E4%B8%BB%E7%AE%A1%E6%9C%83%E8%AD%B0-%E5%90%B3%E4%BA%9E%E5%90%9B.pdf Ministry of Education. (2010). Policy on Exporting Higher Education to Southeast Asia. Retrieved 11 January, 2017 from http://epaper.edu.tw/old/topical.aspx?topical_sn=467 Ministry of Education. (2011). Study-in-Taiwan Enhancement Program. Retrieved 11 January, 2017 from http://ws.ndc.gov.tw/Download.ashx?u=LzAwMS9hZG1pbmlzdHJhdG9yLzEwL1JlbEZpbGUvNTU2Ni81MjQxLzAwMTQ0NDUucGRm&n=6auY562J5pWZ6IKy6Ly45Ye6LeaTtOWkp%2BaLm%2BaUtuWig%2BWkluWtuOeUn%2BihjOWLleioiOeVqy5wZGY%3D&icon=..pdf Ministry of Education. (2016). Developing Talents for New Southbound Policy. Retrieved 11 January, 2017 from http://ws.moe.edu.tw/001/Upload/7/relfile/8053/51384/5fd31e54-beb7-48c1-b018-22ccf3de1e19.pdf Reale, E., & Seeber, M. (2013). Instruments as empirical evidence for the analysis of higher education policies, Higher Education, 65, 135-151. Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. London, UK: Routledge. Scott, P. (2011). The university as a global institution. In R. King, S. Marginson, & R. Naidoo (Eds.), Handbook on Globalization and Higher Education (pp. 59-75). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. Sin, C. (2014). Lost in translation: the meaning of learning outcomes across national and institutional policy contexts, Studies in Higher Education, 39(10), 1823-1837. Trowler, P. (2003). Education policy (second edition). London, UK: Routledge. Vaira, M. (2004). Globalization and higher education organizational change: a framework for analysis, Higher Education, 48(4), 483-510.
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