Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Migrant workers can attend free language course

Staff writer, with CNA

New Taipei City’s free Chinese language program designed to help migrant workers integrate more quickly into society is being held again this year, beginning on July 7, a city official said on Tuesday.

The classes are to be split into four to cater to Indonesian, Vietnamese, Philippine and Thai workers, New Taipei City Labor Affairs Department official Huang Yu-wen (黃郁雯) said.

The classes would be grouped based on nationality, because they rely on bilingual instructors who use their native tongue to help teach the course material, Huang added.

There are expected to be about 30 students in each class, which involves phonetic symbols, communication and dialogue, reading, and learning by singing, she said.

Each group would go through a basic beginners program every Sunday for seven weeks through Aug. 18 before progressing onto an advanced program of six classes from August to September, she said.

By offering Chinese classes to foreign workers free of charge, the program hopes to minimize language barriers and give the workers an in-depth understanding of Taiwanese customs and habits, Huang said.

Participation is limited to foreign migrant workers in New Taipei City. For more information about the registration process, people can call (02) 2366-1368, Huang said.

The course follows on from a similar program last year, which students described in a video uploaded on YouTube.

In the video, a Thai migrant worker named Ah Min said that students should not be afraid of joining the classes if they do not know the language well, and should look forward to the benefits it will bring afterward.

“After you learn Mandarin, you can speak and communicate with your [Taiwanese] friends and employer to understand what they are talking about. It feels great,” he said.

Hartini, a migrant caregiver from Indonesia, said she was very happy with the course and praised the instructors for putting a lot of effort into their classes.

“The program was very successful and through the course I met many new friends,” she said.

The program was first initiated in 2016, and after a one-year hiatus in 2017, it resumed last year, Huang said.

New Taipei City had 98,156 foreign migrant workers as of the end of April, of which 42,165 were from Indonesia, 34,471 were from Vietnam, 14,040 were from the Philippines and 7,479 were from Thailand, Ministry of Labor data showed.

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