Tue, Aug 10, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Cabinet seeks more English-speakers in civil service ranks

NO DISMISSALS Though English test scores will be entered in employee files used for promotion, no one will lose their job for remaining monolingual

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

In a bid to upgrade the competitive edge of the civil sector, the Cabinet hopes to see at least 130,000 civil servants pass the English proficiency test by 2007.

"We'd like to see half of the 257,000 civil servants working at the Cabinet's central and local institutions and under the age of 40, or about 130,000, pass the entry or intermediate-level English proficiency test in three years," Central Personnel Administration Director-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) told a press conference yesterday afternoon.

The test results will be added to civil servants' annual evaluations, which are crucial in the promotion process.

According to Lee, those passing the entry-level proficiency test will be able to add two points to their performance evaluation record. Those passing the intermediate-level test will receive four points.

Institutions will have the liberty to decide how many credits those passing a higher level of the test, or other language tests such as the TOEFL, will receive.

Civil servants employed at agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Board of Foreign Trade, the Council of Agriculture and the Chinese In-ternational Economic Cooperation Association are required to possess specific English or other foreign-language abilities.

While the number of civil servants working at the above agencies with qualified language skills is about 8,600, Lee said that the government would like to see the number double to about 16,000 by 2007.

Lee, however, dismissed speculation that those refusing or failing the English proficiency test will be asked to leave their posts.

"One thing I'd like to make clear here is that the scheme is aimed at encouraging civil servants to improve their English-language abilities," Lee said.

"Those taking the test and seeking promotion will only see it as a plus, while those refusing to take the test can expect some difficulties in getting a promotion, but they will not receive any punishment or be asked to leave," Lee said.

The administration's language incentive program came after the Examination Yuan turned a deaf ear to another language initiative proposed by the administration.

The administration proposed adding English-language tests to the first, second and third level of the higher national examinations for civil servants, as well as to the general national examination.

Aspirants with a high school diploma can only take the general national examination to become civil servants.

Only those with a college degree are qualified to take the higher national examination.

The first-level higher national examination is for those with a doctorate, while the second level is for master's degree holders and the third level is for bachelor's degree holders.

This story has been viewed 3757 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top