Taipei, June 8 (CNA) The National Immigration Agency (NIA) forged an alliance with National Open University Friday to offer new immigrants educational opportunities that will make it easier for them to assimilate themselves into society.
NIA Director-General Hsieh Li-kung and Chang Chi-hao, president of the university, signed the cooperation agreement, under which the school will open language, culture and living skills courses for new immigrants -- mostly from Southeast Asian countries, according to the government agency.
For new immigrants, electronic sources are the best channel and the fastest way to blend into a new culture, Hsieh said.
National Open University is Taiwan's first university to offer remote lectures via audiovisual media. Founded in 1986, it was established to provide adult eduction.
Chang said there are currently only a handful of new immigrants who are studying at the university because under existing regulations, only those with Republic of China (Taiwan) citizenship and a household registry are entitled to take courses at the school.
Addressing the restriction, Hsieh said the Executive Yuan has approved the NIA's proposal to revise the regulations, which will allow anybody with a Taiwan residence permit to apply to study at Open University.
The plan still has to be approved by the Legislature before it takes affect, Hsieh said.
An Open University student from Vietnam, known as Yen Pei-ying in Chinese, said that before she gained Taiwanese citizenship, she could only learn Mandarin at community colleges or neighborhood supplementary schools.
Once the restriction is relaxed, more new immigrants will have the change to enjoy higher education with simply a residence permit, she said.
(By Sunrise Huang and Elizabeth Hsu)