English centers to expand
The Taipei City Government will expand its English program in line with its goal of establishing one English learning center in each of the city’s 12 administrative districts by the end of next year, the city’s Department of Education said. The centers, to be staffed by foreign teachers, will be focal points for daily English instruction in the city, exposing students to multiple learning experiences by creating classrooms that simulate supermarkets, bus stations and other common venues, the department said. Penglai Elementary School and Bing Jiang Elementary School were the first two schools to join the three-year program in 2009, and they both now have three foreign teachers, it said. Two more centers were set up last year, and four will be established this year and next, it said.
CETUSA offers refunds
The Council for Educational Travel, USA (CETUSA) on Friday said it would offer full refunds to students who wanted to withdraw from the program in the wake of a scandal related to the US nonprofit group. According to media reports, the US Department of State has banned the council from bringing foreign students to the US to work for the summer after many students who participated in the program last year filed complaints. The ban took effect on Jan. 30. The Taiwanese agent for the council said about 50 to 60 students had paid a visa application fee of NT$5,000 at the time the ban was imposed. The agent has sent out letters informing students of the problem and said it would seek alternative solutions for those still wishing to participate.
Disney joins Lantern Festival
Representatives from Tokyo Disneyland said yesterday they were looking forward to performing at this year’s Lantern Festival, which will start tomorrow in Changhua County. The Disney crew will present a one-of-a-kind parade during its first overseas performance, Tokyo Disney Resort ambassador Eriko Yokota said at a welcoming party in Taipei held by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Tokyo Disneyland’s “Dream Bus,” a specially designed float, will be part of the parade, Yokota said. More than 100 Japanese artists and musicians, along with about 40 Taiwanese elementary students, will perform at the parade, presenting a mixture of US, Japanese and Taiwanese culture, the Tokyo Disney team said.
Steamed buns create jobs
The head of the National Immigration Agency (NIA) yesterday praised a Chinese immigrant for creating job opportunities for other immigrants in Hsinchu County with her famous mantou, or steamed buns. NIA Director-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) thanked Wang Lingfeng (王翎鳳) for launching a popular and reputable online mantou shop that has created jobs for new immigrants who help make the popular buns in Baoshan Township (寶山). Moreover, Wang will be creating more jobs when she expands her product line to include Hakka products, said Hsieh, who was visiting Baoshan to learn how to make the famous brown sugar-filled bun that is the most popular item in Wang’s online shop.Wang, a native of Hainan Island, has lived in Baoshan with her husband for more than three years, officials said, adding that she recently established a Hakka-themed leisure farm.