Tue, Jun 25, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Mandarin classes begin July 14: MECO

USEFUL SKILL:Some of the workers who have attended the program were able to find good jobs in the Philippines using the Mandarin they had learned, an official said

Staff writer, with CNA

A new round of Mandarin classes for Philippine migrant workers to help them assimilate more quickly into their work environments and upgrade their language skills are to begin in Taipei next month, an official at the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Labor Center-Taipei said on Saturday.

The classes begin on July 14 at the Ugnayan Center in Taipei and would be split into two groups — Mandarin 1 and Mandarin 2 — to cater to the students’ different levels of proficiency, MECO Labor Center-Taipei Deputy Director Dayang Dayang Sittie Kaushar G. Jaafar said.

Mandarin 1 classes teach students words in daily use, including numbers, times and places, in addition to teaching them how to read and write basic Chinese characters.

Mandarin 2 classes include more characters and words at an intermediate level and involve more conversation, she said.

To give the students more practice in speaking Mandarin, the classes would also see the students do some acting, Jaafar said.

“Upon completion of the courses, we get the students to portray some acting roles where they speak Mandarin. It’s very interesting and very fulfilling,” she said.

Both classes run for 10 Sundays with about 50 students per class.

The classes aim to help migrant workers assimilate into Taiwanese society and communicate better with their employers and their workmates, she said.

“If the workers are able to understand basic words and have a basic understanding of Mandarin, it would be a very good way of establishing a very good rapport with their employers,” Jaafar said.

Participation is limited to members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, a Philippine national government agency that protects and promotes the welfare of overseas workers.

Registration for the classes starts on July 7, Jaafar said.

The program was started in July 2014 and has been running since, with classes held four times a year.

Students who have attended the courses often gain more benefits than just being able to communicate with their Taiwanese employers or colleagues, Jaafar said.

Some of the workers who have attended the program found good jobs in the Philippines using the Mandarin they had learned.

“We have heard that some of them have landed jobs in language centers. Some of them got a job as a translator and one is a driver of tourist buses who earns between 25,000 and 50,000 pesos [US$487 and US$973] [per month],” she said.

Meanwhile, other students have returned to Taiwan to work in local employment agencies and as translators for Philippine workers at Taiwanese factories, she said.

To learn more about the classes visit the Polo-Owwa Taipei page on Facebook.

There were 153,865 Philippine migrant workers in Taiwan as of the end of last month, according to Ministry of Labor data. They last year remitted US$583.84 million back to their home nation.

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