- Overseas Service-Learning Activity in Cambodia (The 13th Team): Village English teacher workshop.
Location of Service-Learning: Villages in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Target group: Primary school teachers and children in the village
- Going through the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia’s village educational resources remained stagnant in the chaos caused by “educational fault” and “dull teaching”.
Experiencing the catastrophe of Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, about one-fourths of the nationals died therefor throughout the nation at that time. Most of the victims were well educated nationals, e.g. teachers and physicians. As a result, the significant educational fault persisted. Besides, the children’s educational resources were deeply afflicted by the outbreak of orphan tsunami upon the war. In the recent years, given the rapid development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN), the economy of Cambodia has been growing remarkably and its major cities rising rapidly. Nonetheless, gap between cities and townships has been expanding increasingly. For example, in the villages nearby the popular tourist destination, Angkor Wat, many students had to discontinue their studies in order to help farming or earn livelihood for their families. During the Khmer Rouge, the government adopted the iron-handed socialism to strictly control the people’s thoughts and freedom of speech. Therefore, the teaching remained “cramming” at that time. Under the situation, it was impossible to stimulate students’ motive to learn, and the students had to take care of the livelihood for family and, therefore, the students’ willingness to learn declined inevitably.
- Because of the World Heritage, Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s tourism industry has been booming. English proficiency is considered key skill helping the people of Cambodia find a good job in their country.
The Government of Siem Reap, Cambodia is dedicated to developing the tourism industry, because of the World Heritage, Angkor Wat. When recruiting human resources, the lines of walk associated with the tourism are used in valuing the foreign language abilities, such as restaurants, hotels and travel agencies, which offer higher pay and identify the English proficiency as an indicator for employment. As far as the people living in Siem Reap as concerned, if they hold the basic English proficiency, they could have better chance to find a job with higher pay and get rid of poverty and improve their life. Therefore, for the remote and poor villagers, “English learning” is identified as a key factor when they are making a living.
Notwithstanding, it is not hard to access the English learning resources in urban areas, while it seems an unreachable dream for the villagers residing in the rural areas away from the urban areas for only 1~2 hour drive. The village elementary schools in Cambodia have already received English books two years ago and advocated that the students could learn English from 4th grade. However, in fact, the government has not yet provided teachers with the correspondent training programs about the “elementary school English”, but only demanded that each elementary school should choose the teachers with English proficiency to teach the lesson. What we feel touched that many village elementary school teachers or village juveniles understand the “importance of English proficiency”. Their English proficiency might be very limited, but they still hope to learn more about teaching English to provide the village children with the chance to learn English and like it, and to help the children transform their future and get rid of poverty, even though the government has not yet provided the elementary school teachers with the pay for teaching English.
- We share the active and interesting English teaching activities in order to help the village teachers stand out for their home country and fight for the future.
The local teaching practice remains dull and stereotypic, and also lacks diversified learning materials and interesting skills. Given this, even if the child students have the chance to learn English, they are very likely to give up finally because of losing interest in English and difficulty in pronunciation. In fact, the “CYCU student volunteers only plan to stay shortly and will return the right to develop to the locals eventually”. We send our team only once per year, and the team provides the service locally for only month each time. Actually, if we still continue the short-term child camp program and make no change, it will be impossible for us to extend the service programs locally. Therefore, since “Jian 8 Ban” was organized since 2013, in order to “maximize the efficiency of service”, we have reformed the Service-Learning program remarkably, in hopes of sprouting and booming the intellectual property locally, and helping the village youth through the “net-casting style” service program to enable them to integrate the “active and interesting teaching practice” into the “local traditional thought” based on the teaching practice and materials shared by us and create the “new” English teaching practice fitting the local children to benefit more village children. Meanwhile, in order to create the employment opportunities for the village juveniles, we worked with the local non-profit-seeking organizations, “Formosa Budding Hope Association” and KhmerAkphiwatKhmerOrganization (“KAKO”), to offer the trainees who completed their studies at CYCU workshops with the chance to become formal village English teachers with pay. Finally, we hope to encourage the trainees to establish the “English teaching exchange platform” independently after completing the program, and work hard to achieve the “self-reliance” objective by attending gathering and teaching demonstration periodically.
- Overseas Service-Learning Activity in Myanmar (The 5th Team):
“Service-Learning Cooperation Program” – To work with the Chinese school students to extend the care for the ethnic minorities.
Location of Service-Learning: Lashio, Myanmar
Target group : Chinese school students and children of the ethnic minorities
- The military dictatorship prevailing for a half of century made Myanmar, which was known as the world granary in the past, hard to make a living for people and affected the education in Myanmar adversely.
Myanmar is the country occupying the largest area in Indo-China, which was once the main traffic hub in the Central Asia and East Asia, with plentiful natural resources and more than 130 ethnic minorities within its territories (a total of 135 ethnic minorities admitted by Myanmar Government officially). However, the past government adopting the military dictatorship for more than 50 years blocked media and foreign resources, and nationalized all private enterprises. The severe blockage of messages resulted in the closed society and dull educational system and thereby made Myanmar’s development fall far behind the other countries in Asia. Additionally, the military government adopted the socialism in order to prevent the people from learning how to think independently. Therefore, it adopted the “cramming” practice to teach students and, as a result, the students learned ineffectively.
- Status of the Chinese: The Chinese exclusion policy adopted after 1962 and the opening policy adopted by Myanmar in the recent years affected the Chinese schools’ “teaching practice” and “educational resources” adversely.
The location of service, Lashio, is situated in Shan States to the north east side of Myanmar, where is adjacent to Yunnan, Mainland China. Meanwhile, many descendants of Chinese army (isolated fighting Chinese army) were settled locally at the time of China Civil War. The population of Chinese (descendants of Yunnan people, known as the Kokang locally) accounted for the largest proportion, and most of the Chinese people gathered herein (a total of 79 Chinese schools within the territories). Even though the Chinese schools were not admitted by the government, in order to pass on Chinese cultures, the local Chinese still worked hard to found the Chinese schools locally, dedicated to teaching the Chinese descendants to remember the Chinese cultures passed on by their ancestors. Notwithstanding, given the accelerated development in Myanmar, the pay offered in the commercial, industrial and livelihood industries were doubled, and the gap between rich and poor in cities/township was enlarged therefor; as a result, the Chinese school teachers who earned low pay intended to find another job. This affected the Chinese school teachers’ pay adversely. The turnover of the Chinese school teachers accounted for about one-fifths of the total turnover of schools locally. In consideration of the high turnover of teachers and lack of professional teachers’ training in Myanmar, most of the Chinese school teachers were used to “hiring teachers graduated from senior high school only to teach junior high school students and teachers graduated from junior high school only to teach elementary school students”. The severe shortage of teachers and unbalanced proportion of teachers and students affected the teaching quality directly. Within the limited teaching hours, the teachers adopted the “cramming” teaching practice most of time and thereby affected the students’ learning quality. Most of the students lacked the motive and interest to learn, let alone the training about students’ characters, which the teachers could not afford to attend. Though the schools understood the importance of character education, the mission was beyond their power. In other words, the schools were in the situation of “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.
- Status of ethnic minorities: The “Burmese Chauvinism” adopted by the military government of Myanmar caused the ethnic minorities to lack educational opportunities. The vicious cycle arising therefor resulted in the drug abuse.
Most of the ethnic minorities settled in North of Myanmar earned their livelihood by mountainside. As living in a mountain city, it was not easy for them to make a living by farming in Lashio. Therefore, planting the high-unit-price crops became one of the way to making a living by the ethnic minorities. Opium poppy was once a very important source of revenue generated by the local people. Opium poppy was an important source of extraction of anesthetic. Mostly, the opium poppy was transported and traded in China, and private large-scale transactions of opium poppy were common locally. Given that the concept about correct administration of opium poppy was not made universal, the local ethnic minorities were very likely to stuck in the trap for taking opium poppy. Meanwhile, given the drug abuse locally, some ethnic minority children and juveniles were affected by their family members and were dropped out of school, and some became homeless as their parents could not afford to raise them due to their own poverty. Chinese accounted for the largest proportion of the people living in the area of Lashio, followed by the minorities including Burma, Li-Su, Dai, Wa, Jinbo and Kachin. The complicated ethnic cultures formed a special phenomenon locally, as these ethnic minorities maintained balanced relationship but would not interrupt with each other. Locally, Chinese people controlled the economic strengthens, but in consideration of the selfish departmentalism for ethnic cultures, few of them devoted themselves to helping the other minorities with resources.
- Myanmar is now developing rapidly after it adopted the opening policy. Therefore, English proficiency is considered as a key skill helping the local people to find a job. We will affect the local people with our service passion and persuade them to help the other local people, and mitigate the barricade between various ethnic groups, and help Myanmar solve the permanent selfish departmentalism problem locally.
In the past five years, the Myanmar Government has opened development step by step and the international trade, tourism industry and communication industry have developed rapidly. The location of service we chose, Lashio, is a hub of the Burma Road, which is very important for business transactions. Meanwhile, the business and commercial development is booming locally. For the local Chinese people and ethnic minorities, if they own the basic English proficiency, they may get a chance to change their life. Since 2016, we have reformed the Service-Learning program remarkably, in hopes of transforming the short-term escort service provided by overseas volunteers into the “long-term escort service by the local people’s help with the other local people”. Meanwhile, we named the service program as “Cooperation in the English Camp” at the first time and worked with the Chinese school students to care the minority, Li-su Orphanage, through the active and interesting English activity, to sprout the Service-Learning concept across the border. By leading the Chinese school students, we designed the service activity on the site and prepared the physical Service-Learning premises available to the Chinese school students to enable these students to exert their service passion and help the other ethnic minorities voluntarily and strengthen their own motive to learn by taking the initiative to care for disadvantaged groups. The seed volunteers staying locally at the end of the Service-Learning activity conducted by the CYCU student team, namely the Chinese school students, will continue to engage in the cross-ethnic service activities locally. What we feel touched is that at the end of the service provided by the Mian 5 Ban team, the local Chinese school students immediately engaged in planning the service activities for the Orphanage and schools voluntarily. The CYCU team admires their high executive power very much.
III. Overseas Service-Learning Activity in EL Salvador (The 4th Team): IT educational program and energy regeneration program
Location of Service-Learning: Urban area or rural area of San Salvador, Salvador
Target group: Disadvantaged women and children
- By “Digital Divide Remediation”, we tried to help the disadvantaged juveniles of Taiwan’s allied nation upgrade their competitiveness in career.
Salvador is situated in the Central America, which is an allied nation of Taiwan. According to the observatory report released by IMF, from 2009 to 2015, Salvador was the country with the slowest economic growth in the Central America, as its average growth rate was estimated as 2% only, while it was 4% in the other countries in the Central America. IMF provided Salvador with multiple suggestions about improvement, including upgrading of educational quality and enhancement of educational degree to upgrade students’ competitiveness. In the past years, Taiwan have boosted the digital learning programs in its allied nations in the Central America and Africa, by donating such IT equipment as network and computers and establishing the digital learning centers in schools or rural areas as the places where school faculty and community residents may learn about digital knowledge. The rural area not far from the urban area of San Salvador shows the transformation from richness to poverty, as if it were another different world. The rural areas receive only limited educational resources. The existing IT equipment is old and unusable. Under the situation that the IT education has not be made universal, even if the computer assisted teaching is available, only basic computer knowledge may be accessed. Besides, the dull teaching practice provides few knowledge about such practical applications in daily life as surf, search and email. Furthermore, teachers and students all lack the knowledge about maintenance of computer and, therefore, if the computer is out of order, the IT education will be interrupted immediately. Under the arrangement by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Care to Help Foundation, Sa 1 Ban and Sa 3 Ban teams taught the basic paperwork software (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Moviemaker, et al.) at the “ISNA”, in hopes of helping the abused juveniles seek jobs more successfully through these basic computer application programs.
- The remarkable gap between cities and townships causes the society development to remain stagnant and the defective social security in Salvador.
“Violent crimes are the typical social misfits in Salvador”. Salvador is famous for its worsening social security. The female sex assault rate ranks the top in the world. All of these are closely related to the huge gap between rich and poor in Salvador. The capital, San Salvador, is a very prosperous and bustling city, where is full of people and vehicles. However, there is a huge gap between living in the urban areas and rural areas of this city. The rural area people are mostly living in unapproved construction, or the houses made of wood and sheet-iron roughly. No utilities are available there and they have to take water from river. Furthermore, their houses are not equipped with bathroom and toilet. Flies are seen everywhere. The people primarily make a living by farming. The increasingly expanding lack of educational and information resources causes the uneven allocation of social resources between rich and poor. If the juveniles in the rural areas are not guided properly, they are likely to be jealous of the groups of higher social and economic status when they realize that they are identified as the groups of low social and economic status and, therefore, choose the wrong way in their lives and then become the core problem with worsening social security as they “feel desperate about their social status”.
- We link with the resources from CYCU alumni and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and engage in the unofficial diplomacy by virtue of Service- Learning.
Yan-Tien Weng, an alumni of CYCU Department of Applied Mathematics, founded the “Care to Help Foundation” in North America dedicated to donating IT equipment and daily supplies to Salvador and various countries in the Central and South America to help the local disadvantaged groups develop. The Care to Help Foundation has worked hard to help the rural areas of Salvador establish computer classrooms and boost the occupational training cooperation program to reduce poverty. CEO Weng indicated that “we have already had hardware in place, but still lack the teaching volunteers now; therefore, we hope to continue working with my alma mater in the IT educational volunteer programs, and help the rural areas of Salvador develop their IT education through the volunteer service provided by my juniors. Meanwhile, we also hope to take the chance to offer the juniors from my alma mater the chance of overseas Service-Learning”.