Fri, Jan 14, 2005 - Page 4 News List

`Cultivate Taiwan' winners chosen

SOCIAL EDUCATION A total of 88 candidates were selected by the government to carry out programs that promote education in schools and the community

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Through the teamwork of the government and the public dedicated to social education, Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) said yesterday that he believes the "Mentor: Cultivate Taiwan Program" will give a fresh impetus to both schools and communities, and improve the distribution of educational resources between cities and rural areas.

The program is a social-educational program that was sponsored by the presidential office, the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Education and the Public Network Foundation in 2003.

Based on its four guiding principles of "Overcome Difficulties," "Caring," "Career Guidance" and "Inheritance," the program has drawn 339 organizations and individuals to participate in the selection process.

During the "Mentor: Cultivate Taiwan Program" seminar held by the ministry yesterday, Tu thanked organizations and individuals for their joint efforts in progressively promoting education in the schools and communities in their areas.

"I have seen a tremendous vitality in these individuals as they each bring their own educational resources to full play. Together, this team's work has made immeasurable impact on society," Tu said.

A total of 88 candidates were selected to execute their "Cultivate Taiwan" proposals, such as exchange student programs, "caring for the elderly who live alone," and "bringing love to the prison" proposal.

Sixty-four people were finally chosen to be formal members of the program.

Thanks to the help of 541 activities and 3,133 promotion teams, the program has so far drawn a total of 2020,425 people to participate in the activities, according to the ministry.

Program members shared their successes in the seminar. Blind marathon runner Chang Wen-yen (張文彥), for example, finished running around Taiwan last year, and aims to run in a marathon abroad this year.

By overcoming his physical difficulties, Chang said that he hopes to bring more disabled people out from the darkness, to live more positively.

Another disabled member of the program, a radio host named Liu Ming (劉銘), proposed the "bring love to prisons" plan. He invited program members from various backgrounds to give speeches in prisons, and share their life experiences with prisoners.

Liu said that through those stories shared by speakers, he hopes to encourage prisoners to never give up on themselves or their future.

The "Seeking the future for Autistic children" plan, on the other hand, came from the mother of an autistic son.

"I never regret the fact that I have an autistic boy. If not for him, I would never have learned to understand humanity," said the planner Yuan Zong-chi (袁宗芝).

Using her personal experience, Yuan aims to assist families with autistic children and provide appropriate educational possibilities for both the children and their families.

The 64 program members will keep working on their plans to cultivate Taiwan.

The ministry also established a "Selected Mentors" Web site, designing various online classes taught by professional teachers chosen from the program.

The program will also hold a "Cultivate Taiwan Forum" every two months to invite members or other individuals to share their successes in promoting education.

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