Jose Kalathil

New Delhi: Puyam Tondonba Singh (25) is an Master in Science (MSc) from Central Agricultural University, Imphal. After his post-graduation, he had been longing to do doctorate from a foreign university and was searching the possibilities for the same from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). His search finally ended when he got admissions in three universities in Taiwan, of which he chose National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) for his PhD studies. He will begin his research in this university in September and will stay in Taiwan for four to five years till he completes his doctorate.

Puyam is among the 79 students from India who have been awarded full scholarships by the Taiwan government for pursuing higher studies there.This year's total scholarships amount is Rs 14 crore.

At a function held at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC) in New Delhi, its Representative, Ambassador Chung-kwang Tien, congratulated the recipients and handed over certificates to them. He said some students from neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh have also been benefited. TECC was established in India in 1995. He also said that Taiwan was the first Republic in Asia and like India where there is freedom of speech.

Stating that no talented students should lose an opportunity for pursuing further education due to financial constraints, Ambassador Tien urged the awardees to work hard and learn Taiwanese culture. In 2018, there were 2,398 Indian students studying in Taiwan. "Educational link is the most important exchange activity between India and Taiwan," he added. The family members of the recipients took photos with the ambassador on the occasion.

Earlier, introducing himself in Hindi, the ambassador urged the students to learn Mandarin, which is original, during their stay. Explaining that there is much similarity between Mandarin and Hindu languages, he said the meaning of 'thu' in Hindi and 'tu' in Mandarin is the same.

Every year, two categories of scholarships are provided by the Taiwan’s Ministry of Education -- Taiwan Scholarship for degree seeking and Mandarin Chinese Scholarship. This year, 45 Taiwan Scholarship recipients got the fully funded scholarship for their further study in Taiwan. Among them, 23 are for PhD Degree, 20 are for Master Degree, and two for Bachelor Degree. Moreover, 34 Huayu (Chinese) Enrichment Scholarship recipients will go to Taiwan universities for intensive language course of 3, 6, or 12 months.

This year's recipients are from 22 states out of 29 -- Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, Telangana, Assam, Chattisgarh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Manipur and from one of the seven union territories of India, the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Some students from the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal have also got scholarships.

During the ceremony, an alumina, Dr. Vasanthan Thirunavukkarasu (researcher in Taiwan’s Academia Sinica), shared his experience and benefits of studying in Taiwan. Mr. Subhash Kumar (Assistant Professor in Banaras Hindu University) and Ms. Ringngam Lamkang Sankhil (Assistant Professor in Amity University, (UP) also shared their Taiwan experience.

Education Division Director Mr. Peters Chen said, Taiwan now is ranked the No. 13 destination for Indian students to pursue their further degrees. National Taiwan University ranked No. 67 in QS ranking 2019 and there are five universities ranked within top 200. Moreover, reasonable tuition fee makes it attractable for foreign students, with around Rs 1.1 lakh per year (two semesters) in national university and around Rs 2.2 lakh per year in private university. Taiwan universities sincerely welcome more and more Indian students to visit Taiwan and study in Taiwan. Many courses in departments in Taiwan universities are conducted in English. Upon approval, graduated foreign students can even apply for (job-seeking) further extension of visa, in order to look for a job or apply for work permit. The total extended period of residency is one year at the most. Taiwan has a friendly environment for studying and for bright career.

This year, awardees were selected from a pool of 400 applicants from all over India. They were selected, after reviewing transcript, recommendation letter, proposal, supplemental documents, potentiality, academic performance, and admission letter. Due to the huge number of applicants, interviews were not conducted this year.

At the outset, the ambassador asked the awardees to click photos of any of their liking during their stay and post them in the TECC website.To encourage this habit, he announced Taiwan-made cell phones for the best three entries on the occasion of Taiwan National Day on 10 October. He assured that the winners will get them even if they are in Taiwan.

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