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New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

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New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby Liam Og » 29 May 2016, 11:42

I went to two public schools in New Taipei today with my wife and our young son. Both schools did not let him enter the enrollment process, and told us to come back next week. However all the school places will already be gone then. The reason given was a new regulation that says that foreigners can only enroll in public schools if there are places left over after all Taiwan locals have applied. As there are limited school places this makes it effectively impossible for non Taiwanese to access public schools in Taiwan. This is not fair for many reasons. For example: foreign nationals resident in Taiwan pay the same taxes as locals and on that basis should have the same access to the services that these taxes pay for.

Has anyone else come up against this problem. Like I said, they told me it is a new regulation, just out this year.
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby hsinhai78 » 29 May 2016, 12:43

BillCollins wrote:I went to two public schools in New Taipei today with my wife and our young son. Both schools did not let him enter the enrollment process, and told us to come back next week. However all the school places will already be gone then. The reason given was a new regulation that says that foreigners can only enroll in public schools if there are places left over after all Taiwan locals have applied. As there are limited school places this makes it effectively impossible for non Taiwanese to access public schools in Taiwan. This is not fair for many reasons. For example: foreign nationals resident in Taiwan pay the same taxes as locals and on that basis should have the same access to the services that these taxes pay for.

Has anyone else come up against this problem. Like I said, they told me it is a new regulation, just out this year.


The enrolment of foreign students in elementary, junior and senior high schools is governed by the regulations on International Students Undertaking Studies in Taiwan. The act has last been amended in 2014. Article 5 of the act states that the number of international students that are admitted is limited to an additional ten percent of the number of local students approved on a case by case basis. Article 20 of the act states that international students who have acquired legitimate resident status in Taiwan and are applying to study at an elementary school, junior high school and senior high school may directly apply to a school near his or her residency. Article 20 further states that an international student being denied enrollment due to the selected school’s filled recruitment quota may apply for assistance from the government.

1. The quota mentioned in the act implies that international placements are additional to local placements.
2. As long as the 10% quota is not exhausted, there should be no reason for the school to deny admission
3. The act does not state that foreign students should take the left-over spots from Taiwanese students
4. The act states that foreign students should apply near their residency

My suggestions:

a. Inquire the school's admissions quota for international students
b. Inquire the current total foreign student population
c. Apply for admission
d. In case of non-admission, get the decision in writing
e. Complain to the education department of your county/municipality

Furthermore, separate admission regimes are common. In real life - at least when colleges and universities are concerned - this actually works to the advantage of foreign students over Taiwanese students.
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby Liam Og » 29 May 2016, 14:31

hsinhai78 wrote:My suggestions:

a. Inquire the school's admissions quota for international students
b. Inquire the current total foreign student population
c. Apply for admission
d. In case of non-admission, get the decision in writing
e. Complain to the education department of your county/municipality

Furthermore, separate admission regimes are common. In real life - at least when colleges and universities are concerned - this actually works to the advantage of foreign students over Taiwanese students.


Thanks for the advice. They said these new enrollment rules apply this year for the first time. Phoned both school weeks ago and they said to come and enroll on the 29th. But when we showed up as instructed we were sent packing with statements along the lines of 'you foreigners cant enroll because you have to wait until children from our own country have taken their places first' in front of an audience too both times. I have no faith in a school/system that would do that on first contact. Thanks for the advice. Its good advice but I wont be following it. Don't want to have anything more to do with Taiwan public schools after that. Being told to go home foreigner in front of a group of parents and their children is pretty much game set and match.
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby tommy525 » 29 May 2016, 15:03

Another step backwards for Taiwan. It's just not a first world nation. It's bigotted and anti foreigner.
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby Icon » 29 May 2016, 15:43

BillCollins wrote:
hsinhai78 wrote:My suggestions:

a. Inquire the school's admissions quota for international students
b. Inquire the current total foreign student population
c. Apply for admission
d. In case of non-admission, get the decision in writing
e. Complain to the education department of your county/municipality

Furthermore, separate admission regimes are common. In real life - at least when colleges and universities are concerned - this actually works to the advantage of foreign students over Taiwanese students.


Thanks for the advice. They said these new enrollment rules apply this year for the first time. Phoned both school weeks ago and they said to come and enroll on the 29th. But when we showed up as instructed we were sent packing with statements along the lines of 'you foreigners cant enroll because you have to wait until children from our own country have taken their places first' in front of an audience too both times. I have no faith in a school/system that would do that on first contact. Thanks for the advice. Its good advice but I wont be following it. Don't want to have anything more to do with Taiwan public schools after that. Being told to go home foreigner in front of a group of parents and their children is pretty much game set and match.



Please make a written statement to the relevant authorities - Ministry if Education, your own country`s representative here. Include names of officials involved. Even if you have given up on the public school system please help us establish a precedent for future reference. We would be much obliged.

If it had been the other way around, the whole island would be up in arms about this “loss of face”. As Tommy states, such policy makes Taiwan look backward. And even while respecting tbe policy, a much more diplomatic way could have been found to handle the matter. Heck, they could have taken your paperwork and explained it would be dealt with after locals were accomodated. And then deal with it in their own schedule. Were they afraud to be so overrun with students in a time when birth rates are plummeting? Or overrun
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby headhonchoII » 29 May 2016, 16:25

You need to play the game, record their statement, ask they to show relevant regulations and say you will be contacting the ministry of education. It does sound like xenophobia .
I wonder were you applying to more prestigious schools in Taipei?

By the way we live in xin bei Shi but do not have huji here as my Taiwanese wife is not from here and does not own property here. We had to beg a local person to register our kid temporarily under the huji. It is extremely competitive to get into some schools. Talking in the public forum on the enrollment day put the admins on the spot and Unfortunatelty they handled it extremely badly. The reality is the system sucks for a lot of people.
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby Liam Og » 29 May 2016, 17:41

headhonchoII wrote:I wonder were you applying to more prestigious schools in Taipei?


First was Dafeng elementary, near Cardinal Tian hospital, second was Xindian Elementary near Bitan. Neither are prestigious. Both said that every other school also had the same policy as them. They were all polite and everything but the message was a very clear no foreigners until after the admission for Taiwanese was finished.
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby Liam Og » 29 May 2016, 17:52

Icon wrote: please help us establish a precedent for future reference.


Guess we will just wait and see if there actually are any spaces left in any public schools next week, and if there is we will apply and see if we get another round of foreigner crap. If we do Ill probably have a rant and call it a day. The game isn't worth the candle if you have to fight for a school to take your child. Because after you 'win' you then hand your child into the care of a school that you have just alienated. I'd rather have a clear start where we aren't starting out as those troublesome outsiders on the very first day.
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby Icon » 29 May 2016, 22:13

BillCollins wrote:
headhonchoII wrote:I wonder were you applying to more prestigious schools in Taipei?


First was Dafeng elementary, near Cardinal Tian hospital, second was Xindian Elementary near Bitan. Neither are prestigious. Both said that every other school also had the same policy as them. They were all polite and everything but the message was a very clear no foreigners until after the admission for Taiwanese was finished.


Weird. Dafeng is supposed to have a special program for South East Asian integration and other pro foreigners exchanges and activities - I have helped with a few. Not good if a school supposedly so “pro” turns out not so.

So sorry for your experience. There are not a few foreigners in Xindian and the community has a good reputation. Better fix this fast.
Lo urgente no deja tiempo para lo importante. Mafalda.

None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.
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Re: New regulations mean foreigners are excluded from public schools in Taiwan

Postby hsinhai78 » 29 May 2016, 23:11

Before we conclude that this is a case of xenophobia we should wait until OP reports back after next week.
And as I have written in my first (long) reply, separate quotas and placements are in fact the legal reality and usually work to the benefits of foreigners, i.e. in college admissions in Taiwan. I can somewhat sympathise with the officials that OP encountered: Taiwanese parents compete for placements and a foreign family being given de-facto preference would cause social tensions. I am sure that would cause social tensions in Western countries as well.
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