TANGA CITY — Taiwanese college students are now applying for an academic renewal certificate after their studies were interrupted for over a decade.
The country’s National Education Commission said Friday that its program will be launched in the first quarter of next year and that applicants will be asked to provide information on the nature of their studies and their progress toward completion.
The commission said its initiative is designed to help Taiwan students with their transition to higher education, and also to promote higher education in the country.
The move comes amid an economic downturn that has left more than 100,000 jobs at risk, according to the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics.
Taipei is one of the few countries in the world to allow students to choose their higher education option after they complete their studies.
Currently, students who choose to take the certificate have to pay fees of 1,200 yuan ($20) a semester, according the commission.
In recent years, the country has also introduced a new system to encourage students to transfer into tertiary institutions, which are designed to prepare students for college.
A student can now choose from a list of top-ranked universities that are part of the National Academic and Research Center, or NARRC, which is based in Taipei.
To qualify, students must pass a rigorous academic assessment, take an academic examination, pass a foreign language exam and submit a transcript.
They must also complete an assessment course on the topic of their chosen field of study.
“We are also looking at the possibility of creating a special program to give students a chance to go to university abroad and study,” the commission said in a statement.
Its new program is meant to help the country’s academic leaders and scholars with their academic renewal.
Many Taiwanese students have been working without a diploma since the late 1990s, when the island was under the communist government.
More than 2,000 students from around the country went through the exam program, and most were not accepted.
During the early years of the system, students were required to complete an academic assessment to qualify for a diploma, but the exam became less rigorous and students could choose from courses online.
Then in 2008, a new government-run program called the National Scholarly Service began allowing students to complete the exam, which was a way to encourage them to continue studying.
Students were also encouraged to take a course in English language, a program that has been criticized for not helping them better prepare for their final exams.
As the years went by, many Taiwanese students did not graduate, according a 2011 study by the University of Tokyo.
About 40 percent of students in the past decade had never completed their degree, the study found.