Taiwan pushing new immigrant language education

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Languages of new immigrants in Taiwan will be listed as required courses at elementary schools in the near future as the number of second-generation immigrant students increases, making up 7 percent of the total student numbers, the Ministry of Education said Wednesday.The number of the second generation of immigrant students in Taiwan has exceeded 300,000, making up 7 percent of the total number of students at various school levels, with 12 percent of the total at elementary and junior high schools, Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong said at a legislative hearing.Among these students, 32,189 study at kindergartens, 107,407 are at elementary schools, 73,894 are at junior high, 68,883 are at senior high school and 24,684 are at college, according to the latest statistics released by the ministry.These students are an important part of Taiwanese society, Yeh noted, adding that their education will focus on building their advantage at using their native languages and helping them explore opportunities from the government's New Southbound Policy that aims to strengthen Taiwan's trade and economic ties with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian countries, as well as New Zealand and Australia.The ministry has listed the languages that Taiwanese students with a new immigrant parent must choose as Filipino, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Burmese, Cambodian and Thai, Yeh said.The ministry is compiling textbooks and preparing materials for learning these languages and is recruiting teachers, Yeh added.The ministry has said that the program will be officially implemented in the 2019 school year.The number of new immigrants in Taiwan has surpassed 540,000, according to statistics.The term "new immigrant" refers to foreigners who have moved to Taiwan after marrying a Taiwanese.