By Ann Maxon / Staff reporter
To prepare for the official implementation of “new immigrant language” courses in the 2019-2020 school year, the Ministry of Education has trained more than 2,000 part-time teachers and developed pilot programs for teaching the languages remotely in 44 schools, the ministry said yesterday.
Beginning in September, new courses in Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino and Malay are to be offered as a required elective at elementary schools alongside Hoklo （commonly known as Taiwanese）, Hakka and Aboriginal languages, and as an elective at junior-high schools.
To ensure a smooth transition for the new curriculum, the ministry’s K-12 Education Administration has been revising regulations to cover the hiring of part-time teachers at elementary and junior-high schools who can teach the seven languages and designing teaching materials for the courses, the agency said in a statement.
It has also trained 2,081 part-time teachers and developed pilot programs to enable remote teaching in areas where teachers for certain languages might be lacking, it said.
The pilot programs — a collaboration between the government, National Central University and the Institute for Information Industry’s Digital Education Institute — were established at 44 schools in 20 cities and counties in the 2017-2018 school year, and can ensure that even students who live in remote areas have an equal opportunity to learn the languages, it said.
Since the 2015-2016 school year, the agency has given subsidies to schools willing to hold activities that promote the languages and cultures of new immigrants, such as summer camps and other events, it said.
“It is hoped that through learning the languages of new immigrants, students can begin to learn about and appreciate Southeast Asian cultures, develop an international vision, and have greater opportunities for learning and development,” the ministry said in a statement.
Two people walk through the main entrance of the Ministry of Education in Taipei on Friday. Photo: Lin Hsiao-yun, Taipei Times