Foundation raises funds to hire teachers from Taiwan in Manila school

Taiwan-Philippines foundation raises over 10 million pesos to recruit Taiwan instructors to teach Mandarin in Manila

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(CNA photo)

A Taiwan-Philippines foundation said Sunday that it has raised more than 10 million pesos (US$197,604) in donations that will be used to recruit instructors from Taiwan to teach Mandarin Chinese at a school in Manila.

Speaking at a Sunday reception, Taiwan-Philippines Educational Development Foundation (TPEF) President Kao Shih-cheng (高士誠) said the plan was conceived earlier this year to address a shortage of Chinese-language teachers at Chiang Kai-shek College (CKSC), established by Chinese Filipinos in 1939.

Many young people today in the Philippines are unwilling to start a career teaching Chinese, mainly because of what they perceive as a profession that doesn't pay that well, Kao explained.

Ma Li-ling (馬儷玲), who is director of the Office for Chinese Academic Instruction at CKSC, recalled once having talked to one of her graduating students about whether she would be interested in staying to teach at the school, but she rejected the offer on the basis that the pay was too small.

The student said she would rather work in the service industry for a more attractive salary, Ma said.

The TPEF head expressed hope that the fund will help bring talented instructors from Taiwan to fill the gap, while also helping promote traditional Chinese character learning at the school.

According to the TPEF, the donation was made possible through the assistance of the Culture Center of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines as well as Taiwanese expatriates in the country.

Yu Cheng-tsai (尤正才), who heads the Taipei economic and cultural office there, told CNA Sunday that a starting Chinese-language teacher in the Philippines typically receives an average monthly salary of 20,000 pesos, which is comparable to that of an average starting salary of a schoolteacher in the Philippines.

However, this paycheck makes it difficult to recruit experienced teachers, let alone those with a post-graduate degree, Yu said.

Salary aside, every newly recruited teacher from Taiwan will be eligible to receive a monthly stipend of 15,000 pesos, he said.

The stipend will come from the donated fund, Ma said, adding that she hopes that in the future, local Chinese-language teachers at the school will also receive the same benefit.