The first intake of students at Cher Wang's Guizhou Forerunner College applaud at the new school's inauguration. (Photo/CFP)
Taiwan's richest person, Cher Wang, the chairwoman of smartphone maker HTC, has donated 180 million yuan (US$28.1 million) to found a charitable college in Guizhou in southwest China and also hosted its opening ceremony on Thursday.
Guizhou Forerunner College was set up by the VIA Faith-Hope-Love Non-Profit Foundation run by Wang and her husband and has recruited 300 freshmen for its first intake. Most are from low-income rural families and 86% of students receive full scholarships.
"We expect that poor students with outstanding performances at Forerunner can make contributions to society in the future," Wang said.
"I chose Forerunner College because it can support me to carry out college dream with the least amount of money," said freshman Wu Dabin from a rural family in Guizhou.
The college possesses international teaching resources including Nigel Burton, the former director of the global web business division of Microsoft, as well as twenty long-term volunteers from other countries.
The college provides three years of free or low-cost education in vocational fields in partnership with leading enterprises. Courses on offer include hotel management, computer science, tea production and processing, and psychological counseling.
Guizhou is one of the poorest and least developed areas in China. The college has pledges that one third of students will be given full scholarships and a further third can obtain half scholarships.
Wang said that Guizhou needs help, especially in the field of vocational education. She added that it is a test and will set up more similar colleges if Forerunner College is successful.
Cher Wang 王雪紅
Guizhou Forerunner College 貴州盛華職業學院
VIA Faith-Hope-Love Non-Profit Foundation 威盛信望愛公益基金會