Graphic reading: KDE News, Kentucky Department of Education

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is partnering with the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taiwan to promote educational and academic exchanges and to foster cross-cultural relationships between Taiwan and Kentucky.

The first of its kind in the Commonwealth, this partnership will enhance educational experiences and support student success in Taiwan and Kentucky through collaboration and information and resource sharing.

Kentucky is the first state to sign this memorandum of understanding (MOU) after the U.S. Department of State’s 2020 U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative, aimed at expanding access to Chinese and English language instruction, while safeguarding academic and intellectual freedom.

Each school year, KDE and the MOE will cooperate in the selection of qualified teachers from Taiwan who may be hired under local contract as part of the J-1 Visiting Teacher Program to teach Chinese language and culture in elementary, middle and/or secondary school classrooms in the Commonwealth. The J-1 is a non-immigrant visa that allows for international educators to temporarily teach in the United States for three years with the possibility of two additional years through an extension.

All visiting teachers will be selected from a pool of candidates who will be screened by the MOE and KDE to ensure they have the necessary skills and qualifications to work in Kentucky, as well as meet the requirements established by the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program.

Additionally, KDE and the MOE will work together to promote the Taiwan Foreign English Teacher Program, a program launched by the MOE, to encourage foreign English teachers to teach in Taiwan and to improve the overall English level of Taiwanese students.

Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass said that KDE is committed to providing an equitable education system through the teaching of world languages and cultures.

“I am extremely excited about this partnership with the MOE,” said Glass. “This is an investment in the futures of students in the Commonwealth and Taiwan. We know that it can be difficult for our schools and districts to find qualified world language instructors. This new agreement with the Ministry of Education in Taiwan will help us make sure more Kentucky students have the opportunity to expand their world and their options in the future by learning a language that is in high demand. We are very appreciative of this opportunity and are excited to continue fostering our partnership with Taiwan.”

The program will begin in January, but districts are free to ask questions and express their schools’ needs at any time. In order to make sure that all schools have visiting teachers in place before next fall, KDE will need to know what districts require visiting teachers no later than the end of March.

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A reception organized by Senate President Robert Stivers recognizing Kentucky’s partnership with Taiwan will be held Jan. 24 at the Capitol.