Taiwan to help children of immigrants learn parents' native tongue

05/17/2015 05:53 PM
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Taipei, May 17 (CNA) The Ministry of the Interior said Saturday that it will launch a program this year to help children of Southeast Asian immigrants in Taiwan learn the native language and culture of their parents.

Under the program that starts in July, a selected number of children of immigrants will travel to Southeast Asia for two weeks at a time, which will allow them to become immersed in the language, culture and family life of their parents, the ministry said.

In addition to sponsoring the trips for the children, the ministry will also arrange for some of them to be accompanied by their guardians, teachers and some school administrative personnel.

The aim of the program is to help the children gain competitiveness by taking advantage of their diverse cultural and language background, the ministry said.

The program will be open to eligible children in fifth grade and higher. Those over the age of 18 are also invited to apply for internships at Taiwanese companies in their destination country, the ministry said, adding that the goal is to nurture international business talent.

Meanwhile, the teachers and other school personnel who accompany the children on the trips will be able to gain a better understanding of the students, the ministry said.

Over 40 percent of Taiwan's children from families with one Southeast Asian immigrant parent cannot speak the native language of that parent, the ministry said, citing one of its surveys.

The ministry will select the candidates and allocate NT$30,000 (US$986) to each of them to cover their airfare and living costs during the trip.

Children with one Taiwanese parent and the other from Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines or Malaysia are eligible to apply.

There are currently about 500,000 first-generation immigrants in Taiwan, most of them from China and Southeast Asia, the ministry's statistics show.

The number of children of first-generation immigrants total 350,000, according to the data.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Christie Chen) ENDITEM/pc

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