Taipei, April 28 (CNA) Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan visited an elementary school in south-central Taiwan on Saturday, which has been included in a pilot project aimed at building a better network for the care and education of children of new immigrants.
Lee, accompanied by National Immigration Agency Director Hsieh Li-kung, visited Changhu Elementary School in Gukeng, Yunlin County.
“The project will start with education and extend to the care of new immigrants and their children,” Lee said.
The interior ministry will work with the Gukeng Township Office to provide educational counseling and other services, he said.
The “Torch Project,” to be launched in September, will be carried out at elementary schools where there are 100 or more children of new immigrants or where such students account for more than one tenth of the total number.
At present, there are 1,974 elementary schools that meet the criteria but because of limited funds, the interior ministry has decided to limit the project to 303 schools recommended by local governments, according to Lee.
In Yunlin County, a sum of NT$8.4 million (US$287,573) will be allocated for visiting families of new immigrants, nurturing a pluralistic culture, and providing such immigrants with courses taught in their mother tongue, he said.
Gukeng Township chief Lin Huei-ju said children of new immigrants account for one third of all elementary school students in the town, far higher than the national average.
Lee promised to make Gukeng a “model township” in the project. He said the National Immigration Agency will work with the project to visit families of new immigrants in the town and offer them employment counseling and medical care.
As of the end of February, the number of new immigrants in Taiwan was 641,121, with 158,584 children in elementary schools, or 10.9 percent of the total number of elementary school students nationwide, according to Ministry of the Interior statistics.
(By Yeh Tze-kang and Lilian Wu)