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June 29, 2017

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Government launches 5-year plan for indigenous education

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A new program aimed at enhancing the education of aboriginal students was introduced on Monday by the Ministry of Education (MOE, 教育部) and the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP, 原委會).

Aboriginal experimental schools and courses will be the main feature of the program, which includes a total of 148 measures to be gradually implemented from 2016 to 2020, ministry officials said.

According to the ministry, this will be the fifth program under the same name since 1993. The latest initiative was conceived after holding cross-government negotiations with the CIP, as well as collecting suggestions from panels held in local areas.

In the past, the programs have helped to shed light on laws concerning indigenous education and the educational rights of aboriginal students.

More than 80 percent of former dropouts have returned to school and approximately 17,649 students have enrolled in higher education between 2011 and 2015, officials stated.

Over the next five years, the ministry has vowed to commit to measures including supporting aboriginal youth by providing after-school courses and other external learning assistance throughout 12-year compulsory education, establishing 10 indigenous experimental schools with the help of the CIP and opening regional aboriginal student resource centers at universities.

Also, the ministry is encouraging institutions that train educators to incorporate "indigenous language and culture courses" into their curriculum and has also urged current faculty to attend relevant classes.

Other stated goals include allocating subsidies to 45 high schools or vocational schools to improve their quality of aboriginal education as well as adding another 6,500 spots at universities for aboriginal students.

Each year, 50 percent of universities with more than 100 aboriginal students would receive subsidies to hire professional counselors.

The MOE stressed it would annually assess program results and work toward combining the wisdom of aboriginal cultures and regular curriculum, to cultivate social competitiveness and cultural identity in the next generation of aboriginal people.

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