Thu, Nov 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Elementary schools to teach immigrant languages: minister

Staff writer, with CNA

Vietnamese immigrants wearing ao dai hold samples of Vietnamese food at an event in Yunlin County on Jan. 1.

Photo: Liao Shu-ling, Taipei Times

Languages of “new immigrants” are to be listed as required courses at elementary schools as second-generation immigrant students now make up 7 percent of total student numbers, the Ministry of Education said yesterday.

The total number of second-generation immigrant students has exceeded 300,000, and they make up 7 percent of the total number of students at various school levels and 12 percent of students at elementary and junior high schools, Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) said at a legislative hearing.

Among those students, 32,189 are at kindergarten, 107,407 are at elementary schools, 73,894 are at junior high schools, 68,883 are at senior high schools and 24,684 are at college, the ministry’s statistics showed.

These students are an important part of society, Yeh said, adding that their education would focus on building their advantage at using their native language and helping them explore opportunities from the government’s New Southbound Policy, which aims to strengthen the nation’s trade and economic ties with members of ASEAN and South Asian countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia.

The ministry has listed the languages that students with an immigrant parent must choose between as Filipino, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Burmese, Cambodian or Thai, Yeh said.

The ministry is compiling textbooks and preparing materials on these languages and is recruiting teachers, Yeh added.

The ministry has said that the program would be officially implemented in the 2019 school year.

The number of new immigrants in Taiwan has surpassed 540,000, statistics showed.

The term “new immigrant” refers to foreigners who have moved to Taiwan after marrying a Taiwanese.

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