Taiwan Higher Education Fair is held in Indonesia annually with representatives from many universities in Taiwan going over to meet their prospective students in person. Due to COVID-19 pandemic and travel difficulties, this year’s fair was cancelled and the cancellation posed a new challenge to the recruitment of international students. However, Asia University (AU) adopted an innovative way to carry out the mission on line. It successfully launched this education exhibition for the first time in Taiwan with online live system through which 27 Taiwan universities participated in this event.
Taiwan Higher Educational Fair 2020 was jointly organized by AU, China Medical University (CMU) and Taiwan Education Centers, in Jakarta and Surabaya, Indonesia. As a pioneer to conduct this online exhibition, Prof. Jeffrey J. P. Tsai , President of AU , emphasized that AU is able to think out of box by creating an innovative way for international exchanges even under the dire constraint of the pandemic.
On June 20th, 2020, the first ever online Taiwan Higher Education Fair was held at Evergreen Laurel Taichung Hotel and hosted by Prof. Yinghuei Chen, Dean of International College, AU . 27 universities, both public and private, participated in this exhibition via videoconferencing. Representatives from the universities in Taiwan, such as AU, CMU, NCCU, NCTU, NTNU, NSYSU, NUTU, and NKUST, introduced their schools and provided incentives to recruit talented Indonesian students to study in Taiwan.
1,100 students from Indonesia registered for this event. However, since the event was held publicly, the total number of live viewers reached more than 2500 people.
Andi Azhar, one of the team members who helped organize the education fair and who was also the MC on the venue, said that Microsoft Teams was used as the base of the conference and YouTube as the channel to broadcast the event online so that people could watch it on the Internet. Only three key team members were in charge of broadcasting programs, but they magically ran the event smoothly.
Mr. Pi Tsu-An, Director of the Department of International and Cross-Strait Education, Ministry of Education (MOE), said that this online education exhibition corresponds with the government’s New Southbound Policy, an initiative to enhance cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and 18 Southeast Asian and South Asian countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia. He was pleased to see Taiwan Education Center in Surabaya actively assisting the local colleges and universities in recruiting Indonesian students to study in Taiwan. Mr. Pi delivered on behalf of MOE his gratefulness to AU for this breakthrough in the haze of COVID-19.
As the host of this trailblazing event, Prof. Jeffrey J. P. Tsai , President of AU , delivered a speech, accentuating the ability of Taiwan education in turning this pandemic crisis into a chance for innovation. He suggested that all domestic universities should prepare to conduct teaching and research through technology. He believed that the internet will be an important medium for teaching and learning in the future.
Prof. Yinghuei Chen, Dean of International College, AU, said that each university had 15 minutes to introduce the features and characteristics of their universities, and 5 minutes for Q&A with Indonesian students who joined the event. The atmosphere of the education exhibition was lit up by the interactions between the students and participating university representatives. Scholarships were also given out to attract Indonesian students. Prof. Chen illustrated the merits of studying in Taiwan, such as Taiwan’s geographical location, its highly developed economy, friendly environment for foreigners, inexpensive tuition fees, excellent quality of higher education, and great Chinese-learning opportunities. These factors are very appealing to Indonesian students.
Scholarship is also another point of interest for them. Miss Ou Shu-fen, Director of Education of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia (TETO), also introduced the Taiwan Scholarship and the Chinese Language Scholarship via live broadcast. As a Taiwan education representative in Jakarta, she was pleased to witness and participate in this pioneering work.
The event took place for 12 consecutive hours. According to Miss Primasari Cahya Wardhani, manager of Taiwan Education Center Indonesia in Surabaya, to keep the students staying engaged in the event, lucky draw for scholarship was open to those students who remained online for more than 4 hours, and the ones who stayed for more than 6 hours would get an e-certificate. Nine scholarships for bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees were respectively given to qualified students at the education fair.
Taiwan Higher Education Fair 2020 turned out to be a great success as the first online exhibition of its kind. It has successfully attracted more than two thousand viewers in Indonesia via the new “zero contact” communication mode. When asked which method is better to hold the education fair in the future, Primasari Cahya Wardhani said that both online and traditional methods have their respective advantages and disadvantages. She suggested that for the next education fair, both online and offline methods could be considered. Indonesia is a big country of islands, so online method will be more convenient for those who are living far away from the venue of exhibition.