Taiwan demonstrates Educational Soft Power in Indonesia: Groundbreaking Ceremony at the Second Campus of Surabaya Taipei International School (STIS)
STIS is an overseas private school supported by Indonesian and Taiwanese business people and by overseas Chinese living in Indonesia, with assistance from the Taiwan government. The school was approved by the Republic of China in July, 1995, and then was renamed as Surabaya Taipei International School, and with Chinese rename as 泗水臺北學校 in 2006. STIS adopts the curricula and teaching materials in accordance with Taiwan’s educational system and works closely with Taiwan’s elementary and high schools. The Taiwan government has provided an education in Surabaya for many years. Students included the children of overseas Chinese and foreigners as well as those of Taiwan’s business people living in Indonesia. It is a worthy overseas extension of Taiwan’s educational system, providing an opportunity for Indonesian Chinese students and other foreigners living in Indonesia to learn about Chinese and Taiwanese culture. STIS is unique in that it promotes the use of traditional Chinese characters in its Chinese language program. In this and other ways, the school sets a new standard for local Chinese language education.
The number of STIS students, especially in kindergarten and elementary school, has increased rapidly; there are now 3.5 times as many students as there were three years ago. Therefore there were no longer enough classrooms, so that students who intended to study in STIS could not be enrolled. Therefore the need for a second campus was obvious. The school’s new branch will also carry on the STIS tradition of Chinese language education using traditional characters. In fact, the Indonesian government lifted its Chinese language ban from 1999, taking a more open-minded policy toward Chinese language education. In 2012, Taiwan was ranked after Germany and Austria and prior to New Zealand as one of the top four countries for Indonesia students to study aboard. Taiwan's educational quality has already established a reputation in Indonesia and thus the Indonesian government has selected one hundred instructors to attend Taiwan eight universities for advanced studies. More and more people in Surabaya are now interested in Chinese language education, and STIS is their first choice for learning Chinese. Other international schools also plan to have Chinese as a second language elective course. Today the Chinese language is riding the crest of a new wave. To provide much more space for classes increase enrollment and create a better teaching environment, the STIS Board of Directors spontaneously launched a fundraising event for second campus construction. The MOE, which also has contributed to this cause, greatly appreciates the local overseas Chinese for their generous donations in support of the new campus. The STIS sets a new benchmark for a Taiwan-style education based in Indonesia .
The guests attended the groundbreaking ceremony on January 18 included President Frank Hong (洪順騰) of the Taiwan Business Club Surabaya, Manager Ivan-arista (關統議) of the Taiwan Education Center, Chairman Lee Han-xiong (李漢雄) of Union Foundation Surabaya, Founding Chairman Huang Shun-liang (黃順良) of STIS, Chairman Lee Yuh-lin (李玉璘) of the STIS Board of Directors, Parent Teacher Association President Chang Tien-lie (張蝶利), and members of the STIS Board of Directors. After the ceremony, firecrackers was ignited to symbolize the beginning of the STIS second campus construction, which clearly marked a new milestone. The groundbreaking ceremony was a great success. The ceremony was followed by a series of celebrations, including a dragon & lion dance, a campus tour, a visit to the Taiwan Business Club Surabaya, and the Taiwan Education Center. The MOE hopes the completion of the second campus of STIS will create an effective centripetal force, pulling together the local overseas Chinese, Taiwan business people and STIS.