201609012148Vietnamese teacher cultivates talent for New Southbound Policy-Taiwan Today-2016.9.2
Vietnamese teacher cultivates talent for New Southbound Policy
Publication Date: September 2, 2016
Source: Taiwan Today
Tran Thi Hoang Phuong (standing) teaches a Vietnamese-language class at the Foreign Language Center
of National Chengchi University in Taipei City in this undated photo. (LTN)
Tran Thi Hoang Phuong, chief instructor in the Vietnamese division of the Southeastern Asian Languages and Cultures Program at National Chengchi University in Taipei City, is busy preparing for the start of the new academic year later this month, when she and her colleagues will welcome 59 new undergraduate and graduate students from NCCU and other universities to the school’s Foreign Language Center for two- to three-year courses in Vietnamese language, culture, economics and history.
Also known by her Chinese name Chen Huang-fong(陳凰鳳), Tran is one of the foremost teachers of her mother tongue in Taiwan and the first Vietnamese faculty member at NCCU. For more than a decade, she has been working to promote cultural exchanges and understanding between locals and Vietnamese residents of the country by offering language classes at schools as well as through television and radio programs.
Tran is now helping cultivate talent for the government’s New Southbound Policy, both through her work at NCCU and through an association she founded last year to help train new immigrants from Vietnam with academic qualifications to become language teachers. The organization also introduces them to academic institutions around the country. “Highly educated immigrants can form a significant talent pool for the initiative,” she said.
The government’s New Southbound Policy seeks to enhance exchanges with countries in South and Southeast Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand across such diverse fields as business, culture, education and tourism.
Tran graduated from the department of law at Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City before moving with her husband to his homeland of Taiwan in 2001. After arriving in the country, she volunteered in a hospital maternity ward as an interpreter, and later offered courses in Mandarin to new immigrants and Vietnamese to locals at a community college.
She began teaching Vietnamese-language classes at NCCU in 2006 and became a full-time faculty member of the school’s Foreign Language Center in 2013. In September last year, Tran won a Golden Bell Award, Taiwan’s top honor for television and radio productions, for her role as the co-host of a radio program for new residents from Southeast Asia.
New immigrants once encountered significant challenges in Taiwan due to such factors as social discrimination and language and cultural differences, but the situation has improved considerably in recent years as Taiwan has become an increasingly pluralistic society, Tran said. “As the mothers of children born here, we’re a source of diversity and vitality for the country.”
The latest Ministry of Education statistics showed that during the 2015 academic year more than 123,000 students at elementary and junior high schools in Taiwan, or 6 percent of the total, had a parent from Southeast Asia. Of this figure, more than 84,000 had a parent who hailed from Vietnam.
In order to further promote the New Southbound Policy, Tran suggested that the government encourage foreign students from Southeast Asia to stay and work in the country after finishing their academic studies. “Taiwan should make the most of its available human resources,” she said. (KTJ-E)
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