Head-start Program; Building a Happy Learning Paradise for Children
To provide underprivileged children the opportunities for schooling and promote extension of the compulsory education, beginning from school year 2004, the Ministry of education began implementation of the "Five-year-old Underprivileged Children Head-Start Program". This program aims to protect children's rights to education through providing sufficient education opportunities for children of underprivileged areas and economic underprivileged families in the general areas.
To provide children who have reached five years of age the opportunities to enter kindergartens, the Ministry of education planned the budget to subsidize Counties (Cities) to set up Kindergarten classes in elementary schools, which supplement the insufficiency in public kindergartens. In 2005 and 2006, a total of 137 classes were set up, which provide education opportunities for an addition of over 4000 children.
In addition To solving the problem of insufficiency in kindergartens, the Ministry of Education has also offered subsidies for underprivileged families. Different schemes are available for children of low-income family, remote islands, and indigenous origins.
Implementation of the "Five-year-old Underprivileged Children Head-Start Program" provides education opportunities for children in the Nation. Model schools, Hansi Elementary School (Ilan County) and Shueiyuan Elementary School (Hualien County), are both benefited by this program.
Hansi Elementary School Kindergarten Class Shortens the Distance to Education
Hansi Elementary School of Ilan County is a school servicing the remote area of Tatung Village. Most children in the school district are Taya origin. Before 2005, there was no kindergarten in the village, except one village day care center. After the kindergarten class was set up in Hansi Elementary School, the lost students began to flow back. Last year, the class has 10 students; this year the number of students increased to 18. Not only the kindergarten class solved the transportation and education problem; fee subsidies also eased the burden of the parents.
With the head start program, rules and general habits are established along the way. School education taught the children the general living knowledge and cultivated the children's abilities in self management. Children of the kindergarten class adapt to the elementary school program very well, and since the kindergarten began, parents of the children began to care about the learning and education of their children as well as school affairs. The parents are often seen discussing the learning progress of their children with the teachers and fetch their children to/from the school in person. This has been a positive effect to both the parents and the children.
Shuiyuan Elementary School Kindergarten Class Eliminates the Resource Gap
Two years ago, there was no kindergarten in the Shueiyuan tribe of Hualien County. The Ministry of Education began to subsidize Shueiyuan Elementary School for its addition of the kindergarten class 2005. This program provides education opportunities to the children in underprivileged remote areas. With the kindergarten class and fee subsidies, children began to back flow. At present, the class maintains at an average of 20 students each year.
The newly constructed classroom for the kindergarten class in Shuiyuan elementary school provides a comfortable environment for the children at the foot-start of their regular learning and certified teachers give them the best education. Right now, the new building is completed; the classroom problem has been solved but supplementary software is still needed to provide for the children the best learning environment possible. Nonetheless, the turnover rate of teachers in remote areas is very high, which is highly disadvantages to children's learning. It is a serious problem involving the quality of education.