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President Tsai visits Taiwan-Paraguay Polytechnic University, witnesses donation ceremony for Acer tablet computers


President Tsai explains trip objectives before departing for Paraguay and Belize

I am delighted to visit beautiful Paraguay once again, and even more pleased that right after arriving, my first stop is to be here, presiding over the opening ceremony for math and English pre-university courses at the Taiwan-Paraguay Polytechnic University (UPTP). This is a testament to the achievements of Taiwan-Paraguay cooperation in education.

Education is the foundation of any country's long-term competitiveness, and cultivating engineers and technicians is particularly important for a growing economy.

Under President Horacio Cartes' leadership, the Paraguayan economy has seen steady growth over the past few years, transforming the previous focus on agricultural and animal husbandry, towards industry and commerce. It is now thus the best time for Paraguay to expand its higher, technical, and vocational education.

Higher, technical, and vocational education in Taiwan are the keys to supporting rapid high-tech industry growth. Our big focus on education has ensured the sustained transformation and improvement of our industrial sectors. This keeps Taiwan competitive in rapidly changing markets.

When President Cartes visited Taiwan last July, he expressed hope that Taiwan and Paraguay would launch a cooperative plan to establish the UPTP. Paraguay's Education Minister Raúl Aguilera just explained the story in detail in his speech. Taiwan was honored to enlist the support of the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST), ranked among the top five universities in Taiwan, an elite university with extensive practical experience in technical and vocational education. The NTUST was thus put in charge of plans and preparations for the new university in Paraguay.

After more than a year of hard work, teams from both countries had confirmed the legal basis and obtained land, and campus construction was set to begin. A team of experts from the NTUST will help provide instructors, design a curriculum, and invest in facilities.

The new university is expected to be comprised of four engineering departments—civil, mechanical, industrial, and computer engineering, and is scheduled to formally open in March next year. We look forward to the UPTP becoming, like the NTUST, one of the world's top new schools, creating the kinds of engineers needed to support Paraguay's development.

Although 400 spots were available for pre-university courses, there were more than 4,000 applicants, with the successful candidates in the audience being among the best students in Paraguay. I admire your enthusiastic commitment to Paraguay's national development, and thank you for affirming the quality of Taiwan's higher education.

The next step for the UPTP's university curriculum is to enroll 100 students from the pre-university courses, so everyone has a chance to vie for a slot. To encourage the students, each student admitted to the university will receive a tablet computer from Taiwan's Acer Corporation.

In a moment, we will be witnessing the ceremony of the Acer tablet computer donation. I want to specially thank Acer for working together with the government to support the educational development of Taiwan's diplomatic ally. I also want to thank NTUST professors Fang-Jung Shiou (修芳仲) and Fuchen Teng (鄧福宸) for your enthusiastic participation. I hope you can contribute your accumulated expertise and abilities to the enthusiastic young Paraguayan students.

Here, I want to take the opportunity to announce more good news: To help Taiwan's allies cultivate technical personnel, the government will increase the quota for technical and vocational students in Taiwan. It will also provide financial aid to young students who want to come to Taiwan and attend courses in: mobile phone applications; home appliance and vehicle repair; carpentry skills; computer engineering; and refrigeration and air conditioning repair.

The number of slots in Spanish-language courses for students from our Latin American diplomatic allies will increase from 75 to 350. We welcome interested students from Paraguay to enroll in technical courses in Taiwan.

I hope that all the students in the audience, whether you continue your schooling at home or receive training overseas, will one day become outstanding professionals and play a leading role in Paraguay's continued industrial and technological progress.

In the future, I also want to ask everyone to always remember that Taiwan is Paraguay's best friend, and we're happy to share our experiences, and contribute in any way we can to Paraguay's future.

In closing, I want to extend my best wishes for the success of the UPTP, and an ever stronger friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay.

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