Given the presence of 500,000 new immigrants living in Taiwan, seven Southeast Asian languages shall be included in the country’s primary curriculum – from the year 2019.

Some 8,500 pupils from new immigrant families are studying in primary schools in Taipei City, China Times reported, citing statistical data provided by the City Government’s Department of Education.

Currently, primary pupils can learn Southern Min, Hakka Chinese or Formosan languages in the native language curriculum.

But in order to better cater to the needs of new immigrants, seven Southeastern Asian languages – namely Vietnamese, Indonesian, Cambodian, Thai, Filipino, Malay and Burmese – will be future language study options from 2019.

Taipei Education Department division chief Chung Te-hsin said 150 teachers in the city were receiving the relevant training.

For the time being, schools have also been encouraged to conduct supplementary classes – during lunchtime and after school – to assist new immigrants learning Chinese.

Interpreters from Taipei City New Immigrants’ Hall have been going to schools for the past two years to assist new immigrant pupils’ learning and helping to resolve any communication barriers.