TAIWAN/ROC - PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM

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PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

NEWS RELEASE October 14, 2002

SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME REVISED MOU

A regional scholarship scheme for applicants from Forum Island Countries has been revised to allow for longer courses as well as work attachments with regional organisations.

The changes are part of a revised Memorandum of Understanding for the Taiwan/ROC - Pacific Islands Forum Scholarship Scheme.

The MOU was signed on 15th October by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Mr Noel Levi, CBE, and the Representative of Taiwan/ROC to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, Mr Fu-Tien Liu. The new MOU establishes the conditions of awards that will be offered for 2003.

The maximum duration of awards will be increased from three to six years to allow for longer courses such as undergraduate Law, and the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. Also on offer will be short work attachments with agencies of the ten-member Council of Regional Organizations in the Pacific (CROP).

The Scholarship Scheme had been formally launched on 12 March, 2001 with the signing of an MOU by the Taiwan/ROC Representative and the Forum Secretariat Secretary General.

An initial grant of US$1.5 million from Taiwan/ROC over the three years (2000-2002) has seen 53 long term scholarships offered to students from 13 Forum Island member countries, and seven regional short term training courses approved.

Taiwan/ROC has provided another US$500,000 in funding for 2003.

The original MOU requires a review of the Scholarship Scheme in its third year, 2002,. and this was conducted in June-July this year. The review highlighted the usefulness and popularity of the Scheme and the need to update certain sections of the MOU.

Some countries had expressed the desire to specify their own priority fields for training, and there were requests for institutions from the north Pacific to be added to the list of eligible institutions under the Scheme.

The Scholarship Scheme is open to the 14 Forum Island countries (excluding Australia and New Zealand) and provides scholarships for formal training and short-term training courses in priority areas of the Forum Island countries.

The current scholarships are in Education, Agriculture, Health, Information Technology, Marine, Financial Management, Tourism, Land Management, and Journalism. The first graduates are expected from the University of the South Pacific and the Fiji School of Medicine at the end of 2002.

Remarks by the Representative of the Republic of China/Taiwan Mr. Fu-Tien Liu, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding of the Taiwan/ROC - Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Scholarship Scheme

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Honourable Secretary General, W.Noel Levi, Honourable Deputy Secretary General, Iosefa Maiava, Directors, Representatives of CROP agencies, Staff of the Forum Secretariat, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am very honoured to attend the signing ceremony of the Taiwan/ROC - PIF Scholarship Scheme. First, I would like to thank the Forum Secretariat for your support of my Government to provide quality education to the Pacific Island region and the Management Committee of the Scheme for their hard work and efforts to ensure its success. Not only our two sides, but also the thorough study by a consultant, who was hired to review the MOU, should also be commended. This proves our seriousness in ensuring better prospects for this very meaningful Scholarship Scheme that all Forum Island countries can benefit from. The Honourable Secretary General himself, has put in a lot of his vision for this new MOU, which also includes suggestions by all member Forum Island Countries. After review, the new MOU now covers some of the following very important points that will be of great advantage to the Forum Island region:

1. All student awardees after completion of their study must return home to contribute to their country. This inclusion in the new MOU, was well accepted by Forum Island Countries, my Government, and the awardees themselves. No one had raised any objection to this recommendation, which will greatly benefit each of the awardee's country.

2. The Gender Equality Selection in the MOU has been importantly emphasised and will contribute greatly to the fairness in awardee selection.

3. To fully utilise the resources of the Scholarship Scheme, the Priority Fields of Study for each individual country will be recognised and facilitated to benefit the priority requirements of each Forum Island country.

4. We must never fail to neglect the special needs of less developed Smaller Island Countries. We are pretty sure that highlighting their inclusion under the new MOU will fulfill their participation and make the distribution of Scholarships for the region more complete.

Again, the Forum Secretariat has our respect for all their efforts in the successful implementation of the Taiwan/ROC-PIF Scholarship Scheme. As I mentioned, my Government firmly believes that education will pave the successful fundamental development of a country and region. This is because my country, the Republic of China on Taiwan has reaped the benefit of this policy since 1952. In 1952, our GNP was approximately US$140 per capita. Today, it has reached US$1,400 per capita, almost one hundred times.

We attribute this achievement to successful education. We have throughout the many years, sent our students to study at various institutes in other countries, and most have returned and contributed back to the whole country. We would like to share this important strategy with you and I am glad that the Forum Secretariat under Secretary General Levi, shares the same concept. Our support of this concept today, which is enshrined in the new MOU, should make us proud, as its contribution will be returned not only to each individual Forum Island Country but also to the whole Forum region, in the future. Finally, as Secretary General Levi mentioned to me months ago, our MOU scheme was in its baby stage, but now with the signing today of the new Memorandum of Understanding of the Taiwan/ROC - PIF Scholarship Scheme, I believe it has now reached the adult stage. 

Thank you.

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