Wed, Sep 11, 2019 - Page 4 News List

New Southbound Policy: Ministry looking to improve exchanges

NEXT STEP:The Ministry of Education, having met its quantitative goals, is now shifting from output-based to outcome-based goals for every academic program

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Students focusing on semiconductors and optoelectronics have a preference for this particular program, which has a goal of 200 students graduating in the next two years.

To help with recruitment and to better prepare the students for Taiwan, ministry-sponsored Mandarin-language teachers have been sent to two IIT campuses to offer lessons and to better understand the needs of Indian students.

That is part of the ministry’s plan to support Mandarin-language education for foreign students — not only to prepare the students for life in Taiwan, but also in response to growing demand in other target nations.

The ministry in October last year launched a program that encourages Taiwanese to teach in India. Not only does this increase the ties between Taiwanese and Indian schools, the government hopes that the classes would pique students’ interest in studying in Taiwan.

A similar program was initiated with Vietnam in April.

“The program will reduce the culture shock when the students arrive in Taiwan,” National Chiao Tung University vice president Edward Chang (張翼) said. “They will have more confidence to live independently in Taiwan, and this will also raise their willingness to stay in Taiwan and work in the nation after graduating.”

The ministry in July launched the Chinese Teacher Training Program, which trains teachers specifically for students from New Southbound Policy nations so that they can provide customized classes that meet their needs. The training also includes classroom management, as well as basic counseling techniques.

“With adequate language skills these students can immerse themselves in Taiwanese society. Mandarin skills are invaluable if they want to work in a Taiwanese corporation or in the Asian market in general,” Bi said.

As there are far more students from New Southbound Policy nations coming to Taiwan than vice versa, the ministry would continue to provide incentives for Taiwanese to head to partner nations for either study or work, Bi said.

The interest is there: a King Car Cultural and Educational Foundation survey in October last year found that more than 67 percent of children and nearly 80 percent of university students were willing to consider studying or working in Southeast Asian nations.

The Mandarin teachers to India initiative is one component, while 2,013 students from 95 schools are taking part in the New Southbound Pilot Overseas Internship program this year.

Judging from the number of approved applications, the ministry expects to nearly double the number of participants next year.

The proposals are diverse — National Pingtung Institute of Science and Technology’s department of aquaculture is planning for its students to experience one-stop-shop shrimp farming in Brunei, while Mackay Medical College is partnering with the Mercy Community Service Aged Care Center in Brisbane, Australia.

The government is also targeting having Taiwanese doctoral graduates teaching long-term at universities in the target nations.

“Once people see the opportunities in these nations, they will no longer think that Europe, the US, Japan and South Korea are the only overseas options,” Bi said.

The final component is to provide more platforms for exchanges between Taiwan and New Southbound Policy target nations.

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