Education officials last month proposed making oral English tests part of college entrance exams and establishing English-language TV channels to boost the public’s English skills as the Ministry of Education worked on plans to realize Premier William Lai’s (賴清德) goal of making English an official language
The officials made the proposals at a ministry conference about English proficiency in Taipei, where College Entrance Exam Center Director Liu Meng-chi (劉孟奇) said that oral English proficiency tests should be included in public university entrance exams.
“China is poised to implement such tests in the next two or three years and Hong Kong has done so many years ago,” he said. “To maintain its international competitiveness, Taiwan must not fall behind in English proficiency.”
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The Test of English as a Foreign Language and other privately administered English tests use voice recordings of the test taker for grading, which is a method the center could adopt, Liu said.
If such tests were conducted concurrently with English listening comprehension tests or the General Scholastic Ability Test, applicants would not have to spend days taking exams, he added.
If the proposal is accepted, the center would need five years and NT$3 billion (US$97.28 million) to establish standardized test venues at 300 to 500 schools, Liu said.
The ministry does not have a definite plan on the form of the oral test or grading methods, Department of Higher Education Director-General Chu Hung-chang (朱俊彰) said, adding that the center and the Joint Board of College Recruitment Commission would convene to discuss the matter.
The ministry said it would launch courses taught exclusively in English at colleges and universities.
Mandatory English courses would be organized by proficiency level at more than 80 percent of colleges and universities, while 85 percent of the institutions would leverage dual-degree programs, it said, adding that an all-English learning environment would be created with the help of foreign academies and international degree programs.
Workplace English classes should be taught at vocational and technical schools, which are responsive to specific professional needs, the ministry said.
English courses offered at technical or vocational colleges should be adaptable to individual needs, provide adequate remedial classes and evaluate performance by metrics that reflect what the students would need in their line of employment, it added.
It would work with other government agencies to promote English proficiency, the ministry said.
Possible projects include establishing a national English-language radio or TV station jointly with the Ministry of Culture to broadcast shows with English subtitles, the education ministry said.
The officials also proposed working with the Executive Yuan to encourage local governments to recruit volunteers to provide bilingual services, such as teaching English to elderly people or helping people read English-language books in libraries.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since