Taiwan closes language centers in Vietnam due to financial woes

Taipei, April 24 (CNA) Three Taiwan-run education centers in Vietnam have been closed due to financial issues, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said Wednesday. Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling, however, said the government will stick to its commitment to promote Chinese-language education overseas despite the closure of the centers. The three education centers were operated by Taiwan's National Chi Nan University, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages and Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, respectively, in cooperation with the education ministry. Besides offering Chinese-language classes, the centers also helped Vietnam train Chinese-language teachers and compile Chinese-language teaching materials. The centers, however, have been shut down since February because of financial problems. According to Chang Chun-chun, a specialist at the MOE's Department of International and Cross-Strait Education, the education centers were originally fully funded by the ministry. But owing to a shortage of funds, the ministry asked the operating institutions to share half of the costs with effect from this year, Chang said. The institutions decided that the centers were not cost-efficient and eventually decided to terminate their partnership with the ministry, he said. Chen Yu-jen, an MOE official posted in Vietnam, said that if any other institutions are interested in running the education centers, they can seek financial support from the ministry. (By Chen Chih-chung, Tony Fang and Y.F. Low)