Tue, Sep 30, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Schools in Southeast Asia discuss need for equality

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A consortium of six overseas Taiwanese schools operating in Southeast Asia said they had become the major choice for Taiwanese expat families living in the region because they provided an education compatible with Taiwan's educational system and, with that in mind, discussed what improvements needed to be made to their programs to retain students.

The six schools were founded by Taiwanese businesspeople working in the four Southeast Asian countries where the schools are located.

The union of school boards yesterday held a seminar at the Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店) to discuss the management and the current predicaments of overseas schools.

The Taipei School in Ho Chi Minh City, the Thai Chinese International School, the Penang Taiwan School, the Kuala Lumpur Taipei School, Jakarta Taipei School and Surabaya Taipei School sent a total of 100 delegates to attend the seminar and exchanged their experiences in teaching and administration.

"Some Southeast Asian countries place restrictions on Chinese education thus their educational system, teaching materials and courses are quite different from those of Taiwan, which has caused difficulty for students who continue their studies in Taiwan," said Hsia Cheng-hua (夏誠華), director of the Institutes and Libraries of Overseas Chinese studies.

"Payouts to overseas Taiwanese schools are 10 percent lower than those of Taiwan schools while teaching hours are 40 percent higher. This intimidates prospective teachers considering working in a foreign land," Hsia said.

Chang Fu-mei (張富美), head of the Cabinet's Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission attended the seminar and said the commission has paid greater attention to the education of overseas Taiwanese since the "Go South" policy began.

Schools in Southeast Asia

* Thai Chinese International School

* Penang Taiwan School

* Kuala Lumpur Taipei School

* Jakarta Taipei School

* Surabaya Taipei School

Minister of Education Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村) said at the seminar that the Ministry of Education enacted a regulation to help promote overseas Taipei schools in 1998 as part of the "Go South" policy.

He also said that last year the ministry sent soldiers to serve in the educational alternative-service program.

"We know Taiwan these children have the right to receive an equal education and the ministry will do its best to help improve Chinese[-language] education, no matter the cost in money or human resources," Huang said.

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