The Graduation Ceremony for the First Young Children's Class of Indigenous Peoples' Compulsory Education
Minister Tu Shares the Joy of Children's Growth with Parents
The MOE and Nantou County Government held t he joint graduation ceremony for the first Young Children's Trial Class of Indigenous Peoples' Compulsory Education at Luo-na Primary School in Xinyi Village on June 23. Teachers and students from the young children's classes of the kindergartens affiliated to Luo-na, Xin-xiang, Jiu-mei, Tong-fu, and Feng-qiu primary schools got together to celebrate their graduation. MOE Minister Tu Cheng-sheng was there to congratulate the children.
On arrival at the site on June 23, accompanied by Principal Zhang Wen-xing of Luo-na Primary School , Minister Tu read the students' learning files one by one. He praised the students' diversified and creative drawing books and paintings. Minister Tu gave his respects to young teachers for bringing the latest, lively teaching methods to schools of indigenous peoples living in the mountainous areas and for spending their youth with indigenous children in an effort to eliminate the learning gap between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
After this, the Nantou County Joint Graduation Ceremony for the First Young Children's Class of Indigenous Peoples' Compulsory Education was unveiled with a creative entrance ceremony performed by the children's parents. Minister Tu and Nantou County Deputy Magistrate Chen Zhi-qing opened 'The Door of Wisdom' for the children and put a 'Necklace of Wisdom' around their necks. Bunun tribe elders patted the children with branches and leaves, symbolizing the ridding of all bad habits. They prayed to their ancestral spirits to bestow safety upon the children. The ceremony ended in a lively and ceremonious fashion.
In addition to sincerely congratulating the children on completing an important stage in their education, Minister Tu noted that "MOE's objective is to offer all five-year-olds of disadvantaged families the opportunity to receive preschool education. Therefore, MOE is now actively making plans to implement the policy, hoping that in the near future five-year-olds of disadvantaged (low-income and medium low-income) families can be offered the opportunity of being admitted to public kindergartens free of charge." This will allow the allocation of limited funds to the children that need to be taken care of the most.
Minister Tu says that with the policy of "putting the disadvantaged first and enforcing social justice," in the academic year of 2004, the MOE began promoting the Helping Five-Year-Olds of Disadvantaged Families to Receive Education Early program. The program has become applicable to more and more children every year. In the academic year of 2004, the program was applicable to five-year-olds located in the three counties and three villages on offshore islands. In the academic year of 2005, the program was applicable to all five-year-olds of the 54 villages, towns, and cities of indigenous peoples. In the academic year of 2006, the program became applicable to all five-year-old children of disadvantaged families.
In order to provide young children with educational opportunities, Minister Tu noted that the MOE in the academic year of 2005 subsidized the establishment of kindergartens affiliated to primary schools in villages, towns, and cities of indigenous peoples that had an insufficient supply of daycare centers. A total of 101 primary school-affiliated kindergartens were established (104 classes). In the academic year of 2006, an additional 31 primary school-affiliated kindergartens (35 classes) will be established. In addition to financing the establishment of the additional kindergartens, the central government will also fund the additional personnel expenses incurred as a result.
Nantou County is one of the counties the program was designed to help. Therefore, after the central government assisted the county in adding 23 primary school-affiliated kindergartens, the number of primary school-affiliated kindergartens in the county's villages and towns of indigenous peoples increased from 11 to 34. Now the percentage of primary school-affiliated kindergartens has risen to 82.93%. In the academic year of 2006, MOE has subsidized the establishment of an additional three primary school-affiliated kindergartens, raising the percentage to 90.24%.
This joint graduation ceremony was filled with a warm atmosphere from beginning to end. The participants were touched and shared in the joy of the children's growth. When delivering their speeches, in addition to thanking the teachers for the enthusiasm they have shown in teaching, most parent representatives thanked the MOE for their efforts in implementing the policy of promoting young children's classes in villages and towns of indigenous peoples, for these policies have helped the children of these areas smoothly finish their preschool educations and have enriched their lives.
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