Premier to set goals in 2019 for making English official language

08/27/2018 04:03 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) will present clear-cut goals next year in line with the government's plan to make English a second official language in Taiwan, his spokesperson confirmed Monday.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will present an official report to Lai in the next few weeks on its recommendations for moving toward adopting English as an official language alongside Mandarin, Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯‧尤達卡) said, after Lai addressed the issue in an exclusive interview with a local newspaper.

"I will set a policy goal next year to make Taiwan a bilingual country, with English and Chinese being its official languages," Lai said the interview, which was published Monday.

Late last year, Lai directed the MOE to form a "Committee to Promote English as an Official Language," which was tasked with studying the issue, carrying out public surveys, and drafting a plan on how to achieve such a goal.

The MOE submitted the committee's first report to Lai in June and is expected to present the second and final one in late August or early September, according to Kolas.

The second report will focus on ways and means of improving English teaching in schools, for instance by establishing bilingual schools or classes and emphasizing spoken English in the language courses, she said.

The MOE report will also deal with legislative issues such as the feasibility of deregulation in the relevant areas to help promote a broad bilingual environment, Kolas said.

In an interview with CNA earlier this year, then Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said English competence does not equate to competitiveness, but it lays the foundation on which people can collect accurate information in a timely way, showcase professional expertise or express ideas without language barriers in the international arena, giving them a competitive edge.

"English proficiency opens up opportunities for young people," Pan said. "We must do this for the next generation."

Premier Lai, who had initiated a similar program in Tainan when he was city mayor, has been spearheading the effort to make English an official language nationwide.

(By Ku Chuan and S.C. Chang)

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