A draft bill aimed at preserving and encouraging the use of Aboriginal languages has been approved by the Executive Yuan and sent to the Legislative Yuan for review, Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod said on Thursday last week.
The draft bill, which was prepared by the council, aims to protect Aboriginal languages by implementing policy measures that cover language preservation, education, usage and research, Icyang said.
If the bill is passed, 55 local governments at township or district levels would be allowed to translate official Chinese-language documents and records into their Aboriginal language, he said.
For example, according to the provisions in the draft bill, Taitung County’s Lanyu Township (蘭嶼) would be allowed to prepare documents in the Tao language, also known as Yami, while New Taipei City’s Wulai District (烏來) would be allowed to prepare them in Atayal, Icyang said.
The draft bill would also require public schools to provide full-time employment to Aboriginal-language teachers, who currently work as part-time public employees, he said.
The measure is expected to improve the salaries and working conditions of Aboriginal-language teachers at elementary schools, as they only earn about NT$360 per hour, which is less than the minimum wage, have no source of income during long vacations and are not covered by labor insurance, he said.
Providing full employment to the teachers is expected to cost the government between NT$300 million and NT$400 million (US$9.4 million and US$12.6 million), Icyang said, adding that the funds could be raised by reorganizing the Aboriginal educational budget of NT$500 million, or 1.9 percent of the Ministry of Education’s total budget.