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Filipino English teachers head for Taiwan as part of bilingualism push

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Photo courtesy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines

Manila, Aug. 13 (CNA) The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines this week held a send-off event for the first group of Filipino English teachers recruited for a Ministry of Education (MOE)-initiated program designed to advance bilingual education in Taiwan.

The 14 English teachers and three teaching assistants at the send-off event held in Metro Manila on Thursday are part of the MOE's Taiwan Foreign English Teacher Program (TFETP) that aims to help find English instructors for Taiwan's public elementary and secondary schools, according to TECO.

A total of 77 English teachers and 11 teaching assistants from the Philippines have been hired to teach in Taiwan during this upcoming school year, according to TECO data.

Among the 14 heading for Taiwan this week was 57-year-old Pilipinas Arroyo, an experienced teacher who taught university and high school-level English for 25 years in the Philippines and also has 11 years of teaching experience in a Libyan university.

Arroyo told CNA that when the opportunity to teach in Taiwan arose, she wanted to go there because she had a good impression of Taiwan when she visited the country in 2019.

"It's a combination of the old and new culture, that's one thing I like about it. Very modern, but you are still able to preserve the old traditions, the old look of what you have," Arroyo said.

Another teacher, Rufina Guzman Defeo, said she wants to use her passion for teaching to help Taiwan achieve its goal of becoming a bilingual nation by 2030.

The "Bilingual Nation 2030 Policy" aims to advance Taiwan's bilingual education system and strengthen Taiwanese people's English skills, according to TECO.

Meanwhile, Pines Testa, an English teacher of seven years, said she applied for the program not only because of the competitive salary and benefits, but also in view of the opportunity to shape the lives of foreign students through teaching, according to TECO.

TECO Representative Hsu Pei-yung (徐佩勇) said in a speech at the event that the program, first launched in 2004, aims to employ English teachers and teaching assistants to help Taiwanese students become interested in the English language and seize opportunities that will empower them.

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