Ministry lays out goals for bilingual higher education

04/22/2021 04:12 PM
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Education Minister Pan Wen-chung. CNA file photo
Education Minister Pan Wen-chung. CNA file photo

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) The Ministry of Education has laid out plans to promote bilingual higher education by gradually increasing the number of courses taught entirely in English in universities and colleges, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said Wednesday.

According to the plans unveiled a day earlier, the ministry set a goal for three benchmark universities and 18 benchmark colleges to reach by 2024, under which at least 25 percent of second-year undergraduates at the 21 selected schools will possess at least a B2 language proficiency level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale, an international standard for describing language ability.

It describes language ability in English listening, speaking, reading and writing on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered the language.

Meanwhile, at least 20 percent of second-year undergraduates and first-year graduate students at the 21 benchmark schools will complete more than 20 percent of their 2024 course credits in English.

In the next phase, set to be achieved by 2030, at least 50 percent of second-year undergraduates and first-year graduate students from six benchmark universities and 30 benchmark colleges will be at B2 level or above.

In addition, at least 50 percent of second-year undergraduates at the 36 benchmark schools will be completing more than 50 percent of their 2030 courses in English.

The ministry also introduced a universal program covering 20 schools, with the aim of having at least 30 percent of their English courses taught entirely in English and with more than 5 percent of their second-year undergraduates and first-year graduate students completing at least one course taught in English by 2024.

By 2030, 40 courses will be covered, with the goal of having 80 percent of them taught entirely in English and more than 10 percent of second-year undergraduates and first-year graduate students completing at least two courses taught in English, according to the ministry.

Pan said the programs are set to start in the 2021-2022 academic year, and will include measures to help schools recruit international English teachers and teaching assistants to work with their Taiwanese counterparts to offer courses, set up fellowships and scholarships, foster an English teaching environment and open more courses entirely taught in English.

(By Cheng Chih-chung and Evelyn Kao)

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