Southern Taiwan county wins praise for indigenous-centered textbooks

Textbooks focus on Paiwan culture

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Pingtung County has published textbooks centered on Paiwan culture.

Pingtung County has published textbooks centered on Paiwan culture. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Pingtung County Government has launched the first-ever school textbooks completely centered on the culture of the local indigenous Paiwan population, the Liberty Times reported Wednesday.

The county, which also includes a significant number of residents from the Amis people, was the first to have an experimental school using only textbooks about their own culture, according to Ministry of Education data from last November.

While most textbooks are still in Mandarin Chinese, their content focuses on local customs and culture, making it much easier and happier for students to learn, county officials said.

The decision to introduce local culture into the textbooks has won praise from teachers and parents, as well as from further afield, with the central government and even President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressing interest, the Liberty Times reported.

A British participant in the editorial process for the English-language textbooks even attracted attention and praise from the University of London.

Textbooks for Mandarin Chinese, English, mathematics and nature to use in the first four years have been completed, with work on the maths and Mandarin textbooks for the remaining two years a priority for this year. Even more Paiwan schools are expected to start using the textbooks soon, according to the Liberty Times.