In order to promote lifelong learning and to praise those who have rendered meritorious service to social education, the 2012 Social Education Public Service Award Ceremony was held at the 11F of the Conference Hall of the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation at 2:30pm on Tuesday, November 27 and which was hosted by the MOE. This year, there were 24 groups and 26 individual award recipients. To offer our congratulations and to express our appreciation to the winning groups and individuals, Chief Secretary Jough-Tai Wang of the MOE attended the ceremony on behalf of the Minister. Chief Secretary Wang called for more people to express their care about social development and to get involved in social education public service. He stressed that by working together to spread the seeds to care for the disadvantaged, to look after children, to give the elderly warmth and unselfish love, and to help those difficult people that are unable to get family and school education, we can work together to achieve the beautiful and ideal life through such lifelong learning.
Since 1975, the MOE has been organizing events commending meritorious groups and individuals that are committed to the promotion of social education with 869 groups and 793 individuals and who have been already recognized. This year, 147 recommendations (67 groups and 80 individuals) from central government agencies, local governments, schools, and private organizations were received, and 15 experts, scholars and impartial members of society were invited by the Ministry of Education to form an evaluation committee, which selected 24 group and 26 individual award winners after following careful preliminary evaluation and review processes.
Individual Winner Wu Yung-Hsiu, the Chairman of the Wukuaicuo Community Development Association in Yunlin County, originally worked as an electrical engineer, but he returned home to become a farmer. Before returning to his rural home, he unexpectedly cultivated a community “book reading center” for citizens. With this “book reading center”, not only did he help draw the community closer together, but he had touched the heart of Uncle A-Ming (Mr. Tsai Cheng-Ming) so much with his selfless dedication that Uncle A-Ming donated all of his NT$120,000 earnings from two seasons of rice harvest totaling at 10,000 catty to help run the “book reading center”. Uncle A-Ming’s story of “rice for books” has touched many people in the society, and the hero behind the story is Chairman Wu, a person who has been quietly putting in efforts to better the local community and to be a leading force for social changes.
The FUDE Chairman Tang Feng-Cheng suffers from a severe case of polio himself. Despite being left with strength in only one hand, he still continues to raise funds to establish the foundation in order to promote barrier-free space in our country. In 2006, he first started the Taiwan Universal Design Competition and toured colleges and universities in his wheelchair to promote this event, being fearless of the difficulties he faced. At present, over 4,000 works have been entered in the competition over the years, gradually wielding the influence of universal design and bringing changes to this environment.
A great aspiration of the Children’s Hearing Foundation, comes from one of the group winners, which is “to have virtually all of Taiwan’s deaf and hearing-impaired children capable of listening and speaking within 20 years’ time”. This foundation has helped over 3,000 hearing-impaired children into the hearing world, since its establishment 16 years ago. Ever since it opened, the Children’s Hearing Foundation has continued to pay close attention to the protection and advocacy of children’s rights. In recent years, being concerned with the enlarging urban-rural gap and looking to allow a fair start for all children, the Children’s Hearing Foundation has cared for the growth and development of children in remote areas by providing various resources. Furthermore, there is the AAEON Foundation. Which has set up the Art Gallery to introduce the works of Taiwanese artists. To date, it has linked up with 65 corporations and has on-going exhibition at 85 locations. It is estimated that the gallery draws 30,000 visitors every month, promoting social aesthetics to allow arts to be rooted in townships through creative collaborations with corporations.
This year’s award winning groups and individuals, are individuals from all walks of life. Being education volunteers, all have a touching experience behind them and they put into practice social ideals and the love of education. These winning achievements will be on exhibition at the National Central Library from November 27 to November 30, 2012. The public is welcome to visit, along with sharing the touching stories of those recipients the Social Education Public Service Award.