NPUST and OCAC Open Southeast Asia High-Tech Agricultural Talent Training Base

The Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) is promoting a “High-tech Talent Training Base” project and recruiting overseas Chinese students for programs designed to cultivate the type of high-tech skills currently in demand by domestic and overseas enterprises. National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), which is one of project hubs, has already offered 41 training schools and trained nearly 2000 students from Southeast Asian countries since the concept was initiated in 1963. And now, with the support of the OCAC, the university aims to recruit even more outstanding international talent to its two-year associate degree on “Plant Industry and Precision Tropical Agriculture”.

On September 28th, a plague unveiling and signing ceremony were held for the Southeast Asia High-Tech Agricultural Talent Training Base at NPUST. The agreement was signed by the NPUST Dean of the Office of International Affairs, Vincent Shi, and the OCAC director, Wei-Te Lin in witness of OCAC Minister Chen-yuan Tung, NPUST president Chin-Lung Chang, Legislative Member Liao Wan-ju and other high-level officials. Afterwards the party relocated to the College of Agriculture to take part in the plaque unveiling ceremony.

OCAC Minister Chen-yuan Tung said that “NPUST is one of Taiwan’s strongest schools in the area of agriculture technology and even the top when it comes to tropical agriculture. OCAC is working with countries to jointly promote the integration of industry, government, and academia for the purpose of providing various resources. Through course sharing we can add depth to exchanges and the cultivation of scholars, students, and industry workforces—and NPUST is the main pillar of this cooperative initiative. In the future, we will not rule out extending to regional cooperation and even developing a joint-degree system. Also, the Overseas Youth Vocational Training School will be conferring associates degrees to its graduates, and we hope that some will stay in Taiwan to continue studying, and that high-tech agricultural talent will flow more smoothly towards Southeast Asia. When it comes to economies and talent, the aim is to improve development and increase the interaction by and between Taiwan and her neighboring countries”.

NPUST President Chin-Lung Chang said “the purpose of establishing an agricultural talent training base is to help more Chinese youth to come to Taiwan to acquire skills in agriculture technology, quality control management, and research—and to train talent in related areas. After their training is complete, they can return to their overseas communities to apply what they have learned and make full use of their strengths. The training program has a curriculum which predominantly consists of practical courses, and through the practical learning, the students are able to quickly get an understanding for the technologies and then apply them.”

The training school has kept its eye on industry demand over the decades, covering “Farm Operations” in its earlier years and transitioning to “Plant Industry and Precision Tropical Agriculture” by its 31st offering. Over this time, nearly 500 students acquired practical skills which they could take back to their countries of residence to provide related services. As time went on, the program opened up to other areas as well, such as “aquaculture” (in the 36th offering) and “automated agriculture” (in the 39th). For the most part, the students who come to Taiwan to take part in the program are second generation farmers living in overseas Chinese communities and sometimes are even children of training school alumni.