The representative offices of Germany and France in Taiwan joined efforts to promote the teaching and learning of a second foreign language in the country by planning various events to highlight the importance of being multilingual.
In an open declaration to strengthen second foreign language acquisition in Taiwan, they called on “everybody engaged in the education system of Taiwan to start the teaching of second foreign languages in schools as early as possible, in order to strengthen Taiwan’s relations and cooperation with the world.”
They also called on “the relevant authorities to make a second foreign language a mandatory part of the university entrance examinations and to further strengthen the quality of language teaching for all foreign languages.”
The command of foreign languages has become increasingly important in an era of globalization, while English has become an international language, they said.
“However, an even more significant trend is the rapid rise in the importance of regional languages, as they better reflect regional ways of thinking,” the declaration said.
For an export-oriented country like Taiwan, determined to make full use of connecting its democratic and diverse society with the world, the knowledge of foreign languages is therefore of tremendous importance, the declaration said.
The declaration enumerated the advantages of foreign-language study, saying that “languages are a key to fully understand other countries’ structures” and they underlined that “for promoting brands, creative ideas and innovative cooperation, foreign languages are a key component to success.”
It stressed that “young students at an early stage can significantly broaden their horizons through the learning of languages.”
“The choice of different languages will increase diversity and flexible thinking among students,” it said, adding that the representatives have also “witnessed that the learning of languages enables young students to strengthen their personal development in connecting to the world.”
In conjunction with the Ministry of Education, the representative offices are planning to host a forum on multilingualism targeting principals, foreign-language teachers and school faculties at all levels next week.
A project underway to conduct interviews with celebrities in various fields on why they were motivated to learn a second foreign language, as well as their learning experiences, is to be uploaded onto a Facebook page to increase students’ awareness of the usefulness of foreign languages, the representatives said.