Tue, Jun 20, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Branded pears help send Miaoli students abroad

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Proceeds from a National Sun Yat-sen University entrepreneurial initiative have helped fund six students’ study trips to the Philippines.

The project is aimed at boosting rural economies and failing elementary schools by sending academics in management-related fields to help local businesses become profitable.

The initiative helped farmers in Miaoli County’s Jhoulan Township (卓蘭) market Asian pears under the brand name “Shuanglian pears,” resulting in a 30 percent profit margin.

A portion of the profits amounting to NT$220,000 were used to send six Shuangliang Elementary School graduates to the Philippines to study for two months.

Chen Yi-heng (陳以亨) of National Sun Yat-sen University, Lee Yun-ping (李芸蘋) of National University of Tainan and Lee Ming-yen (李明彥) of Chung Yuan Christian University led the project.

Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) on Thursday last week praised the elementary school’s faculty for their initiative and dedication to education.

School principal Shen Yi-cheng (沈羿成) in August last year lobbied his friends and family to buy NT$700,000 of the pears, NT$120,000 of which was allocated to the school’s operating fund.

Last month, when the township was experiencing a cabbage glut, Shen led faculty and students in pickling 7,000 heads of cabbage and selling them online, which alleviated the pressures on both local farmers and the school.

The university’s initiative and its staff have done much to revitalize the local economy, create jobs for young people and strengthen the township’s education, Hsu said.

Hsu also encouraged people to try the pears when they come in season next month.

The school said the initiative brought in the resources to experiment with new lesson plans and foreign-language instruction that would have otherwise been unavailable to a rural school.

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