TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Fan Yun (范雲) was joined Friday morning (May 6) by the Taiwan Human Rights Association and the Taiwan Labor Front in accusing the University of Kao Yuan (KYU) for misleading students about his work-study program and forcing students to work long hours in factories to meet tuition and other fees.
One of the sources for a Taiwan News report on the matter contacted Fan’s office about the situation at KYU. In a video shown during Friday’s press conference at a building of the Legislative Yuan, this student detailed the difficulty of keeping up with his studies while working more than 40 hours a day to pay tuition, housing and fees. program cost of NT$63,000.
Students recruited by the school in the Philippines, in conjunction with personnel agency JS Contractor, Inc., were told they would be set up with internships. However, internships, regardless of student major, are four hours of the same type of work as their part-time jobs — a way around the 20-hour legal limit on student work.
A second Filipino alleged via video at the event that during the recruitment process, KYU misrepresented the conditions students would face. She called the grinding, welding, packing, cleaning and other jobs they end up doing “hard work.”
The hosts of the press conference cited KYU registration materials, saying that students can only get by on NT$80,000 a year in Taiwan, excluding tuition and other school-related fees. This unrealistic sum misleads students in low-income countries, leaving them with no choice but to work full-time, they pointed out.
A Kao Yuan University student delivers a video statement while wearing a mask to protect his identity. (Screenshot by KYU student)
Lawmaker Fan said foreigners make up 31% of KYU students. The proportion is high, she said, because the school took advantage of the Regulations for International Students Studying in Taiwan. In its current form, the law allows universities to compensate for low enrollment by over-enrolling international students – 167 students in the case of KYU in 2018.
She pointed out that there is no obligation for universities to outline the details of professional internship programs for New Southbound students, which calls into question public confidence in such programs in the future.
Taiwan Human Rights Association Secretary-General Shi I-hsiang (施逸翔) said that if the allegations about Kao Yuan are true, they represent International Labor Organization indicators such as the abuse of a vulnerable position, deception, overtime, debt bondage and harsh living. and working conditions.
Taiwan Labor Front Association general secretary Sun Yu-lien (孫友聯) accused the Ministry of Education (MOE) of not learning from other recent incidents in which rights foreign students were raped. He called on him to thoroughly investigate the root causes and cooperate with the Ministry of Labor to impose the necessary sanctions.
“Ministries and associations should work together to do a good job of verification and stop allowing Taiwan’s higher education policy to become a human rights black hole,” a joint press release said. following the event.
Fan and Sun also helped organize a press event for Ugandan students sent on a factory “internship” by Chung Chou University, which was eventually banned from enrolling new students. Other similar incidents in recent years have involved Eswatini students at MingDao University in 2020 and Sri Lankan students at Kang Ning University in 2018.
The Ministry of Education has been investigating KYU for the past month and has twice sent officials to the university to interview students. A ministry official told Taiwan News it will continue to make surprise visits to universities to avoid further trouble.