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Taiwan Finalizes Vietnamese Language Syllabus for Children of Cross-National Marriages

Taiwanese grade schools are responding to demand for Vietnamese language lessons by opening language classes in grade schools this year.

According to Tuoi Tre, there are currently over 80,000 children in Taiwan who were born to Vietnamese mothers and Taiwanese fathers. Many of these second generation children, who make up roughly 40.7% of Taiwan’s children with dual citizenship, have been curious about the language of their mothers.

Beginning this year, Taiwanese students will have the opportunity to learn Vietnamese, along with other Southeast Asian languages, from grades 3-12.

Ou Chi Shi, secretary of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office’s education division in Ho Chi Minh City, announced that research centers and departments of Vietnamese studies across Taiwan are finalizing new Vietnamese textbooks for students as part of a revised core curriculum, the news source shares.

Until now, most Vietnamese classes in Taiwan have been taught by Vietnamese mothers who seek to preserve their mother tongue in the next generation.

For example, Huynh My Man, a Vietnamese national who has lived in Taiwan for seven years, teaches Vietnamese at an elementary school in New Taipei City. “The most challenging part is that you only have one class a week, so I try to incorporate games into my lessons to help the students memorize the vocabulary better,” Man told Tuoi Tre.

The school’s headmaster told added: “On weekends, we would invite Vietnamese parents to dress in their traditional costumes and come to the school to cook Vietnamese food for all students to enjoy and understand more about Vietnamese culture.”

Man also tries to work Vietnamese fairy tales into her lessons to familiarize her students with Vietnamese culture.

“There are an increasing number of women from Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, who enter into cross-national marriages with Taiwanese men,” an official from the local Taipei Economic Cultural Office said. “When children of such marriages are born, the education system must adapt itself to the multicultural and multilingual scene in society.”

The official Vietnamese textbooks are being completed and teachers are currently being trained to teach Vietnamese at schools across the country, starting in the next academic year.

These efforts to teach Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian languages are working in tandem with Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, which takes aim at fostering business relationships and creating a new regional economic community, as reported by the Taipei Times.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]


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