Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Taiwanese Government Refocuses Education for Push into South East Asia

  • In respect ofestablishing programs and educational pathways for talented educators and mid-level government officials”, the MOE plans to aggressively invite SEA mid-level government officials to come to Taiwan for further study. Presently, talent cultivation plan agreements have been signed with Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Malaysia, etc. In the future, cooperation with SAE countries will be continued to assist them to cultivate their high-level talent. Moreover, the MOE plans to hold a higher education forum and invite important leaders to come to Taiwan for dialogue. This is to seek their identification with Taiwan’s education and facilitate further cooperation between both sides. A Taiwan-Thailand higher education forum was held in March 2012 and a Taiwan-Indonesia higher education forum was held in April to facilitate international higher education exchange.
  • In respect of “increasing interactions between Taiwan and SEA”, the MOE encourages colleges and universities to give courses for various languages. In addition, guidance courses, nation-wide and community artistic and cultural performances, family parent-child exchanges for new inhabitants are held. These efforts attempt to increase mutual understanding between Taiwanese residents and new inhabitants through learning and exchange. Besides, schools assist SAR international school to hold campus activities, including enrolment, social exchange, language exchange, alumnae experience sharing, festivals, etc. And guidance for international students’ life is actively given to facilitate international exchange

  • As mainland China dims in luster as a manufacturing center due to rising labor costs and a high employee turnover rate, more and more Taiwan businesses are channeling their overseas investment toward Southeast Asia. Taiwan's investment in its top five Southeast Asian trading partners was 14.8 percent of the nation’s outbound total in 2015, up from 5.8 percent the year before. This compares to 50.4 percent for mainland China, down from 58.2 percent.
  • The shift of Taiwan businesses’ attention from mainland China to Southeast Asia is largely due to the region’s affordable labor, optimal location and public sector support. The efforts taken by the MOE and other public sector entities are key to meeting the demand of Taiwan companies for talent familiar with Southeast Asian languages and cultures.

Scheduled for implementation in 2018, Taiwan’s new curriculum guidelines for its 12-year compulsory education will incorporate Southeast Asian languages into the required courses of local languages in elementary schools. Yet the plan isn’t meeting the teacher qualifications in the new guidelines with a lack of Southeast Asian language teachers. 

More and more high schools in Taiwan are starting to offer class in Southeast Asian languages such as Vietnamese, Thai, Malay and Filipino. The Ministry of Education is considering including Southeast Asian languages into the official curriculum guideline for second foreign languages to encourage more high schools offer related courses.