36% of disadvantaged students can’t pay tuition

By Joy Lee, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Around 36.5 percent of disadvantaged students cannot afford tuition fees or school lunches, and this is affecting their academic performances, the Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) announced yesterday. CWLF head Chen Li-ju (陳麗如) said that with the new school year approaching, most parents are busy arranging for their children to learn different languages or other skills.

“However, there are children, many raised by single parents or grandparents, who do not have the financial resources to afford even basic tuition fees or school lunches,” Chen said.

According to a CWLF survey, 32.3 percent of disadvantaged students cannot pay school field trip fees on time and 67.8 percent of them have to borrow books or stationary from classmates.

Chen said that with limited learning resources, disadvantaged students usually do not do well in school.

The foundation said that 45 percent of disadvantaged students do not have family members who can instruct them about their school work and over 50 percent of them cannot afford to attend after-school programs.

“Besides the financial difficulties, disadvantaged students also face another problem in that they do not receive enough care as their family members usually have to work long hours in order to support the family,” Chen said.

The survey also found that 27.9 percent of disadvantaged students do not eat breakfast every day and 30.2 percent of them spend less than NT$40 on dinner. Over 84 percent only have access to canned foods, snacks and instant noodles when they are hungry.

Chen said that the worrying statistics have spurred the foundation to launch a fundraising plan. The CWLF hopes to raise enough money to sponsor 2,000 disadvantaged students, paying for their tuition and meals to allow them to better focus on their schoolwork.