More than 200 university students from China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan yesterday gathered at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) to share their experiences in a volunteer teaching project initiated by the university in 2009.
According to NTNU Secretary-General Lin An-pan (林安邦), when the global financial crisis hit in 2008, news of many youngsters living in the countryside unable to afford to go to school spurred the university to take action. In collaboration with China’s Peking University, NTNU recruited about 100 students to teach in rural high schools in Taiwan and China in 2010.
“Through teaching and living with the locals, they can learn a lot more from their colleagues, teachers, students and their parents and have the opportunities to understand and respect each other’s differences,” university principal Chang Kuo-en (張國恩) said.
The volunteer teaching project has since become an annual event. This year, 211 students from 17 universities will be selected to teach one-week courses at 26 junior-high schools in Taiwan and China.
Last Sunday, 19 teams of young teachers were sent to rural schools in Yunlin, Nantou, Chiayi, Pingtung, Hualien, Taitung and Kinmen. They were charged with devising curriculums and teaching subjects such as English, science, math or anything that their students wanted to learn.
Returning to Taipei from Chihshang (池上), Taitung, yesterday, Ting Chiu-tzu (丁秋子), a senior from NTNU, said that contrary to what she expected, there was no lack of facilities where she taught.
“There are 7-Elevens, PCs and Web access,” Ting said.
Assigned to teach in Gongliao, (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), Huang Shao-wei (黃紹緯), from NTNU, said children in the rural town were much simpler and better mannered than city kids.
“They wake up at 5am in order to catch the bus. There are not many buses in Gonliao, so if they miss the early mourning bus, they will be late for school,” Huang said.
The same group of 211 students will set out to teach in seven rural schools in across China on July 21.