Thu, Jun 08, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Ministry will fund students to teach Mandarin abroad

OVERSEAS EXPERIENCE The ministry will subsidize the expenses of students who are training to be Mandarin teachers so that they can gain experience with foreigners

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

To encourage students who are preparing to become Mandarin teachers, the Ministry of Education is offering subsidies for internships abroad so they can experience teaching Mandarin to foreigners.

The plan to offer the subsidies was decided at the end of last month and will allow students to teach abroad at a legally registered school.

Lin Yi (林逸), the official in charge of the project at the Bureau of International and Cultural Relations under the education ministry, said yesterday that the ministry would pay for plane tickets and part of a student's living expenses abroad, excluding schools in China, Hong Kong and Macau.

The students are to sign up through their own graduate institutes before the end of this month, Lin said.

Each graduate institute is also expected to find a partner school abroad for their student to teach in, he added.

The education ministry wants to encourage universities to cooperate with foreign schools so that students can gain experience teaching Mandarin abroad, Lin said.

As of now, no applications have been received, but Lin said that inquiries have been made regarding the subsidies.

Students are required to intern for at least 100 hours abroad and report back to the education ministry upon their return.

"It is a great opportunity for them since students preparing to become teachers must do internships before they become a certified teacher anyway, and the education ministry is offering them an opportunity to step out," Lin said.

He added that it also provided a chance for Taiwan to reach out to the world and promote Mandarin education abroad.

To meet international demand for Mandarin teachers, the education ministry is drafting plans to encourage the nation's universities to establish several teaching-Mandarin-as-a-second-language graduate institutes.

Meanwhile, National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) this week sent its second group of Mandarin teachers to Thailand to teach at local colleges. The first group of 22 teachers went to Thailand last November.

This time, 44 teachers were sent, indicating the need for Mandarin teachers abroad, education ministry officials said.

Thailand's Ministry of Education decided last year to include Mandarin education in all high schools starting in 2008, and plans to expand this to junior high and elementary schools.

The program to send teachers abroad was arranged by NTNU and teachers' colleges in Thailand. It selected certified teachers from Taiwan.

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