Twenty-three students left the Chinese mainland for a year's study in Taiwan Wednesday, marking the start of a mainland government-funded project to send 200 students to study on the island.

The 23 students from Fujian Polytechnic of Information Technology and Fujian Commercial College embarked Wednesday morning on a ship from the province's capital of Fuzhou.

“It is the first time in Fujian and in the country as well that so many students are going to Taiwan on government scholarships,” said Wu Xingnan, an official of the province's education department.

The department plans to send 100 students from vocational schools and 100 others from universities to study in Taiwan institutes including the National Chunge Hsing University, Chienkuo Technology University and the Chung Chou Institute of Technology.

The students will enter courses in information engineering, machine design, software and agriculture in Taiwan.

The Fujian Education Department will provide each student with 5,000 yuan (732 U.S. dollars) as a living allowance during their stay in Taiwan, and some universities are to provide additional subsidies.

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