Fri, Aug 31, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Penghu hit hard by falling enrollment

REMOTE ISLES:Three of Penghu’s elementary schools added only one student each, while Nantou said 22 of its schools added fewer than three students this year

By Liu Yu-ching and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Two teachers look after a single student in Jhongtun Elementary School in Penghu County’s Baisha Township in an undated photograph.

Photo: Liu Yu-ching, Taipei Times

Hit hard by a declining birthrate, Penghu County yesterday said that three of its elementary schools had welcomed only one new student each for the new school year.

The county said that since most of its schools are spread across several islands, it has numerous small schools, but fewer classes.

The latest official figures showed that there were 22 schools with less than 50 people each, including faculty, the Penghu County Government said, adding that 24 schools had less than 10 people each.

While three schools welcomed only one new student each this year, there were already more children this year, thanks to the Year of the Dragon in 2012, it said.

Many Taiwanese parents believe that the dragon is an auspicious symbol and choose to have their babies that year.

Ministry of the Interior statistics showed that 234,599 babies were born in 2012, compared with 196,627 in 2011.

Jhongtun Elementary School in Baisha Township (白沙) and Jhuwan Elementary School in Siyu Township (西嶼) were to receive two students each, but one of the Jhongtun students transferred to Jiangmei Elementary School, while the parents for the other applied for home-schooling, the county government said.

The other school, Hujing Elementary School, on Hujing Isle (虎井嶼), has a total of six students, all of whom are related, the county said.

Meanwhile, Penghu Elementary School added 614 new students this year, nearly 100 more than the 521 students recorded last year.

Nantou County reported a similar problem with enrollment, saying that 22 schools added fewer than three students this year, while seven remote elementary schools welcomed one each.

Nantou Bureau of Education Director Lee Meng-chen (李孟珍) said the agency has instructed all schools to assist in acclimatizing new students, especially the seven in which there would only be one student per class.

Social activities should be planned and students should not be left alone, which could affect their ability to learn to interact with others, Lee said.

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