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Taiwanese students in U.S. taking on Taiwan's rural education gap

2018/08/12 20:41:27

CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 12 (CNA) A nonprofit organization founded by Taiwanese students studying in the United States has been active in trying to raise awareness of the education gap in Taiwan's rural areas and get more involved in teaching children in those areas.

Ko Han-wen (柯涵文), a co-founder of the Students for Taiwanese Educational Progress (STEP), told CNA in an interview that the idea behind the group was motivated by the sizable education gap between rural and urban areas she noticed during her high school days in Taiwan.

After starting her studies at the University of Southern California, the 20-year-old Ko said she hoped Taiwanese students in the U.S. could be made aware of the education problems in Taiwan's rural areas and have the opportunity to return to Taiwan to lend a helping hand.

That's why she established STEP with a number of friends who were also studying in the U.S., she said.

Working closely with the Boyo Social Welfare Foundation, STEP held a winter camp last year at Sinyi Township's Tong-Fu Elementary School in Nantou County, and they returned this year and held a summer camp at the same location in July.

Ko said they chose to hold the camps at the same location because of the emphasis STEP puts on teaching continuity and its desire to support the growth of the same group of children.

The main focus of its teaching program was to inspire the children's interest in English and literature through interesting and vivid teaching methods and adaptations of Western classical literature, Ko said.

Such activities allow children from rural areas to experience different cultures, Ko said, but they also spark new cultural exchanges when the volunteers, many of whom do not speak Chinese well, interact with the children.

Ko said the group will continue to pay attention to education in Taiwan's rural areas so that more and more Taiwanese students studying in the U.S. can be encouraged to return to Taiwan to interact and motivate children in those areas.

(By Liu Kuan-ting and William Yen)
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