Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Hoklo exam draws 10,507 test takers across nation

By Rachel Lin and Huang Wen-yu  /  Staff reporters

A Hoklo-language (also known as Taiwanese) proficiency exam held yesterday at 34 schools nationwide drew 10,507 test takers aged between six and 78, some of which hailed from the US, Malaysia and other nations, a Ministry of Education official said.

This year, 594 groups applied to take the exam, the most ever, three of which included more than 100 people, Department of Lifelong Education Director-General Huang Yueh-li (黃月麗) said, adding that the largest group, at 156, was from Haidian Junior High School in Tainan’s Annan District (安南).

Haidian encouraged students to take the exam to evaluate their learning advancement, after it included Hoklo classes in its flexible curricula last year.

School principal Wu Chen-jen (吳振壬) passed the exam himself in 2014.

“Nowadays, many students have a limited proficiency in their mother tongues. Some understand it, but cannot speak the language at all,” Wu said.

While most schools include classes in more established subjects such as Chinese, English and mathematics in their flexible curricula, Haidian decided to set up a Hoklo program and hire qualified instructors from outside the school for its 270 seventh-graders, he said.

Although students already take three language tests each semester, teachers still encourage students to take the extracurricular exam, Wu said, adding that more students participated than expected.

Kun Shan University in Tainan’s Yongkang District (永康) yesterday hosted 668 examinees, most of whom were elementary and junior-high school students, while some adults took part to meet work requirements, examination service section head Tsai Mei-jui (蔡美瑞) said.

One hundred pupils from Yuwen Elementary School in the city’s East District (東區) were taking the exam, Tsai said, adding that young children are less goal-oriented and more willing to experiment and learn.

Huang said one examinee about to go to elementary school, surnamed Liu, was fluent in Hoklo conversation, as she often spoke the language with her parents and grandparents.

If she did not speak Hoklo at home, her parents would ask “What are you talking about? I cannot understand you,” Huang said, adding that they considered speaking Hoklo essential to preserving their culture.

Test takers are to be receive their grades online from 9am on Oct. 23.

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