The government aims to make Taiwan the top destination for Mandarin learners from the US, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) said yesterday.
Tseng made the remarks at a two-day symposium, called Teaching Chinese as a Second Language in the US, which opened in Taipei yesterday, and was attended by officials and Chinese-language teaching experts.
The US-Taiwan Education Initiative, launched on Dec. 3, 2020, is to expand access to Mandarin learning to students in the US, while safeguarding academic freedom, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Deputy Director Jeremy Cornforth said.
Photo courtesy of American Institute in Taiwan
Cornforth thanked the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan) for helping more than 200 American Fulbrighters travel to Taiwan last year, despite COVID-19-related restrictions.
Taiwan is the biggest partner of the US’ Fulbright program, Tseng said.
“Some countries” have utilized language teaching as a tool to infiltrate and undermine democratic societies, he said, without elaborating.
To counteract such infiltration, Taiwan must stand out to share its quality Chinese-language teachers and teaching resources — a better “Taiwan model” — with its like-minded democratic partners, he said.
“Taiwan is the most reliable partner for the US,” as both sides would work more closely to promote Taiwan’s teaching methods, Tseng said.
Hopefully, Taiwan would become the top destination for Mandarin learners arriving from the US, he said.
Taiwanese who teach the Chinese language in other countries are not only teachers, but must also shoulder the responsibility of spreading Taiwanese culture and values, National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) said.
The government is working with the US and European countries to promote Taiwan’s model of teaching the Chinese language, he said.
Ten Taiwanese schools have since last year worked with more than 20 US schools to promote Chinese-language learning, Deputy Minister of Education Lio Mon-chi (劉孟奇) said.
The education ministry offers US students scholarships to study Chinese in Taiwan, and it would increase subsidies for Chinese-language teachers working in the US, he said.
The education ministry is also helping local schools that partner with schools in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Lio said.
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