Taiwanese innovations win big at educational summit - Focus Taiwan

Taiwanese innovations win big at educational summit

Teresa Lin (林雅莉, fourth left) and Lasse Leponiemi (center) with 2019
Teresa Lin (林雅莉, fourth left) and Lasse Leponiemi (center) with 2019

Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) Taiwan innovations were big winners at an educational summit held in Taipei on Wednesday, winning four of the seven prizes for projects that focused on the future employability skills of students.

The NXTEducator Summit, organized jointly by Taiwan-based Sayling Wen Cultural & Educational Foundation and Finnish-based non-profit education promoter HundrED, selected the seven winners out of almost 100 entries from 21 countries submitted by Chinese-speaking K12 educators.

The innovation "Co-Publishing Project: Inspire Taiwan children from remote schools learning motivation" by Chang Tien-hsiung (張天雄), CEO of Wu-Mai Education Foundation, won the 2019 NXTEducator award for inviting Taiwanese children, aged six to 15, from remote areas to be photographers and capture images of their living environment.

"The project encouraged children to be more confident about themselves and also allowed children from new immigrant families to express gratitude for the hard work of their parents," Chang said.

In Taiwan, the term "new immigrants" is generally used to describe about 550,000 people, mostly women, from China and Southeast Asia who have married Taiwanese spouses and established families over the past two decades.

The project has already published three books to date and generated over US$20,000, which will be used to fund the education of children in rural areas, Chang said

The aim of the project is to deploy a framework where children learn to take responsibility by facing and understanding the challenges faced in making the photo books, said Chang, who was a photojournalist for 15 years.

Chang Tien-hsiung (張天雄, right) and his daughter

Another Taiwanese innovation that received the award was the "Teach For Taiwan" program, which aims to eliminate the gap between educational opportunities for children in large cities and rural areas.

The two-year program takes teachers to educationally disadvantaged primary schools to build a network that connects educational institutes, businesses and governments to foster excellent teaching and achieve educational equity, according to the HundrED website.

Established in 2013 to help children aged six to 12, the program currently has 121 fellows, 56 alumni, 49 partnering schools, and affects over 3,600 students, spread over five counties and 41 towns, the website said.

Other Taiwanese projects honored with awards included "FunMeiker-ArKIDecture Education empowering children to nurture a sense of aesthetics" and "City Wanderer-Wandering Challenge."

The remaining awards were won by innovations from Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, China.

Teresa Lin (林雅莉), CEO of Sayling Wen Cultural & Educational Foundation, said one of the main review criteria for the NXTEducation program is six indicators dubbed FIT+HUG," which the foundation believes is the basis for developing talent for future society.

FIT stands for "friendly by nature," "innovative with diversity" and "technology-aware," while HUG represents "human-centric approach," "uniting multiple domains" and "global view with local act," Lin said.

Lasse Leponiemi, Executive Director of HundrED, said employability skills is another criteria for the selection because many agree that education will need to be aligned and adapted to the rapid advancement of technology, which has shifted the demand for employability skills needed for the future.

The Sayling Wen Cultural & Educational Foundation aims to promote innovative learning and development of talent, while embedding Chinese cultural values in primary and secondary education.

HundrED discovers, researches and shares inspiring innovations in K12 education, aiming to help improve education and foster a movement by encouraging valuable, impactful & scalable innovations across the world, according to its website.

Teresa Lin (林雅莉, left) and Lasse Leponiemi

(By William Yen)

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