Chingshin Academy in Taipei Conducts a UN SDG Online Study Project with Wolfert Tweetalig in Rotterdam
Taiwan’s Ministry of Education strongly encourages and supports international exchanges between K-12 schools around the world, to help schools to become globally aware and help their students to improve their foreign language skills. The Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium’s Education Division recently facilitated such an exchange by between two secondary schools: Chingshin Academy in Taipei City and Wolfert Tweetalig in the Netherlands.
Chingshin Academy, founded in 1951, has about 2890 students. It has offered a 15-year (preschool and K–12) bilingual program since 2010. Chingshin offers its students a wide variety of international experiences through exchanges with schools around the world, from Japan and India, to Canada and the United States. In Europe they already have exchanges with schools in Italy and Austria, and this is their first project with a school in the Netherlands.
Wolfert Tweetalig is situated in Rotterdam which has the largest seaport in Europe. The city plays a key part in economic development and innovation in the area and the school has also been an innovator and pioneer, being the first bilingual school of the Netherlands. Since 1992 it has offered biology, geography, drama, art & design, history, music and physical education courses taught in English, and very proficient students can take the IB and Cambridge IGCSE exam. It provides its 1050 students with quality international education and has received the title of Excellent school from the Dutch Ministry of Education.
As well as having a focus on language education, the school is very internationally oriented. Its students can go on short study trips to European countries, or longer trips to countries such as Ethiopia and Kazakhstan, and they are encouraged to participate in international Olympiad competitions. This is their first exchange with a school in Taiwan.
The two schools agreed to initiate collaboration through a series of three online exchanges within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are of the utmost importance to ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all. The SDGs allow students to develop competences, skills and character qualities which will help their personal development and also the prosperity of their societies, and the schools have been striving to reach the SDGs since 2015.
The goal of the exchanges is to allow students to explore global issues within their own local communities. The first online exchange took place on June 25. The Dutch participants introduced their local challenges and local development, with a focus on water and environmental pollution. The Taiwanese students addressed the issue of diabetic dietary labelling and cross-cultural understanding.
The students shared their ideas and questioned each other and felt inspired by getting different perspectives on each other’s problems. Everyone involved in the exchange, students and teachers alike, learned something and they are all looking forward to their next exchanges after the summer.
The pandemic is making international travel impossible, but the young secondary students at these schools still managed to work together in an online setting, exploring important cross-cultural issues and learning about some of the different practices in Europe. They all hope that the future will bring possibilities to visit each other and take part in such exchanges face to face.