Many Vietnamese mothers in Taiwan have become teachers of their native language to their children after engaging in a programme entitled “Ngọn đuốc tân di dân” (New Immigrant Torch). A report by radio The Voice of Vietnam (VOV).

According to statistics, Taiwan is home to around 100,000 Vietnamese mothers whose children number 200,000. Vietnamese women are very keen on teaching their mother language to children. Local authorities are also placing importance on the Vietnamese language training for younger generations.

Nguyen Thi Lien Huong, a Vietnamese language and culture lecturer of Taiwan University, has taken part in the “New Immigrant Torch” programme for seven years.

Huong married a Taiwanese man, and has three children who are taught Vietnamese language by their mother.

She said her children are learning to speak Vietnamese and her husband has spent years studying the language and traditional culture. “We often talk in Vietnamese so that our children can learn Vietnamese daily,” Huong said.

Her children stay proactive in joining exchange programmes organised by the Vietnamese community in Taipei to improve their Vietnamese language skills.

Huong considers music and literature effective channels for younger Vietnamese generations in Taiwan to learn the language. “When I was pregnant, I sang Vietnamese folksongs to my would-be babies. I also told Vietnamese legends and fairy tales to my little children.”

Tran Lam Phung, who is teaching her native language in Taiwan, said she moved to Taiwan in 2000 to marry a Taiwanese man. She has two children. Phung is working at a primary school and teaching Vietnamese for kids and students in Kaohsiung and Tainan cities.

Phung said many Vietnamese women voluntarily teach Vietnamese for “F2” generations of Vietnamese-Taiwanese families.

“Parents are encouraged to take their children to free-of-charge Vietnamese teaching centres. Younger generations will play an important role in strengthening Vietnam-Taiwan relations and contribute to their homeland,” she added.

Since 2012, Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training has cooperated with the Taiwan Immigration Department to implement the “New Immigrant Torch” programme, targeting younger generations of overseas Vietnamese, which provided an excellent opportunity for them to study their mother tongue language.

As a member of a group compiling Vietnamese teaching programme, Nguyen Thi Lien Huong said expatriates have many textbooks to study Vietnamese. These include chapters introducing Vietnam and Taiwan, as well as bilateral ties. Most of the Vietnamese language teachers are Vietnamese women who are working or residing in Taiwan, she added.

Huong said all Vietnamese students are provided with free-of-charge courses. “It’s my honour to teach my mother tongue to younger generations in Taiwan. The 'New Immigrant Torch' programme offers Vietnamese mothers in Taiwan a chance to teach their native language and introduce Vietnam’s traditional culture,” she said.

Bui Trong Van, chief of the Vietnam Culture and Economics Office in Taipei, said Taiwan has offered many incentives for Vietnamese girls and their children to improve their lives and integrate into their current society.

Vietnamese now becomes one of the key foreign languages taught in Taiwan-based universities, which attaches importance to developing the “New Immigrant Torch” programme to popularise the Vietnamese language. All Vietnamese brides wish their children can speak their mother tongue, he added.

“There are many advantages for students in Taiwan to study Vietnamese, it is another foreign language besides English at tertiary level and will help them seek jobs more easily after graduation. The mother language will help Vietnamese younger generations in Taiwan get closer to their home country,” Van noted.

At present, approximately 20 universities in Taiwan teach Vietnamese as the second foreign language, while around 10 high schools teach it as the first.-VNA