Some courses are to be taught in English to meet Premier William Lai’s (賴清德) policy goal of transforming Taiwan into a Mandarin-English bilingual nation by 2030, Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) said yesterday.
The National Development Council on Tuesday delivered a report to Lai, in which it proposed eight major policies to achieve the goal.
The purpose of the Executive Yuan’s bilingual policy is to raise the nation’s overall competitiveness, Lai said.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
It hopes the policy would encourage all Taiwanese to learn English, he said, adding that the government’s policymaking would be based on needs.
In an interview with reporters before a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Education and Culture Committee in Taipei, Yeh said the ministry would cooperate with the Executive Yuan to promote the policy.
The main purpose of the policy is to improve the nation’s English proficiency, he said, adding that in an age of global competition, businesses would benefit from employees with English skills.
However, Yeh warned against fixating on students’ exam scores and how many English words they can memorize.
If Taiwanese can communicate or think in English, it would expand the nation’s potential developmental space, he said.
Improving the nation’s education system is crucial to the improvement of its overall English proficiency, and it would involve relaxing laws and regulations, as well as changing the way English is taught, Yeh said.
The focus on rote memorization and testing needs to be changed, and English should be incorporated into every single academic field, he said.
Some academic subjects should be taught in English, Yeh said, giving as examples natural sciences and English language.
It is important for students and teachers to be able to communicate in English, he said.
Apart from education, the policy also applies to society, Yeh said.
Students should be able to communicate in English outside of school and at the workplace after they graduate, he said.
The ministry is expected to propose legal amendments to the Executive Yuan today.
Meanwhile, Yeh did not directly respond to requests for comment on calls for him to be part of a Cabinet reshuffle following the Democratic Progressive Party’s losses in the Nov. 24 elections or the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) demand that he resign over the controversy surrounding the ministry’s involvement in the election of the National Taiwan University president.
The ministry is continuously reviewing and evaluating its policies, he said, adding that it would make its decisions known to the public.
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