Anger Over Delay Of 'Thai-Taiwan Study Programs'

(14 September) More than
100 students and their parents in Chiang Mai Province filed complaints with the police against an
educational agency, alleging that the agency has failed to answer why the students have not been
enrolled in Taiwanese universities as promised.

According to the complaints, the Secondary
Educational Service Area 34 (SESA 34) had advertised a study program in 8 universities in Taiwan for
students in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son Provinces, in exchange for a fee of 40,000 baht per student,
while other expenses would be covered by the institutions.

So far, 230 students have signed
up for the program, and paid the fee in advance. However, the students have not been granted visas
from the

The groups of parents met at the police station in Mueang district, Chiang Mai
province, to file complaints against the organisation on Saturday, after SESA 34, a government led
educational service responsible for Secondary Education services in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son
provinces, promised them their students should be enrolled in Taiwanese institutions since
April.

According to the parents, SESA 34 assured them that their children will be admitted to
8 Taiwanese Universities for only 40,000 baht fee, as other expenses will be covered by the
institutions.

So far, 230 students had enrolled for the programme, advertised by SESA 34, and
paid 40,000 baht in advance. The students have yet granted visa from the
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Bangkok and
have not received any clarification for the delay from SESA 34.

Many students said they had
already rejected offers from Thai universities in order to pursue their study in
Taiwan.

Some parents became suspicious when the process was delayed,  and sought information
from the Taiwanese authority, who denied any knowledge of the scheme.

The students
and their parents who filed complaints at the police station today also threatened filing a legal
action with the Administration Court against SESA 34 in the near future, as they suspected the study
program is in fact a fraud.

Mr. Wichien Chompuphol, deputy director for SESA 34, said that
the agency began advertising the project after it had been contacted by the Vocational Study
Organisation, the Association of International Cultural Exchange, and Centre for International
Students (Thailand), plus 8 rectors from the Taiwanese universities.

He explained that the
Taiwanese counterparts asked them to seek 400 students for the course, but only 230 applied. SESA 34
then submitted all required documents to the
Taipei Economic and Cultural
Office
to grant the students a visa.

Mr. Wichien added that he had been in
contact with the Taiwanese institutions, and had not been inactive with the case, but the Taiwanese
officials appeared to try to prolong the case. According to Mr. Wichien, the Taiwanese informed him
there have been problems with the visa processes.

Nevertheless, responding to the threats by
the parents to bring the matter to the court, Mr. Wichien said he would refund the money paid to the
program to the parents as soon as possible.