The Ministry of Education aims to have 90 percent of doctoral degree courses, 70 percent of master’s degree courses and 50 percent of undergraduate courses at four universities taught in English within the next few years, a source said yesterday.
The ministry last week held a meeting with the heads of several universities, from which it plans to select four schools that would serve as a model for the policy, the source said.
The ministry had in the past attempted to increase the number of courses at public universities taught in English to attract international students, but hit a stumbling block as not enough lecturers were proficient in English, the source said, adding that later attempts to hire more foreign lecturers were met with resistance.
Photo: Rachel Lin, Taipei Times
The source said that less than 30 percent of graduate-level courses at the nation’s universities are taught in English.
“While it is a fact that students and teachers must improve their English, requiring locals whose mother language is Mandarin to study in English is too far removed from their culture,” National Tsing Hua University president Hocheng Hong (賀陳弘) said.
The situation in Taiwan could also not be compared with that in Hong Kong or Singapore, both of which have long histories of colonization under the British, he said.
He also outlined the challenges of increasing the number of courses taught in English over a short period, saying that only one-third of his university’s graduate courses are taught in English, and only 15 percent of its undergraduate classes are taught in English.
Internationalizing the school should involve a whole set of measures, he said, adding that increasing the use of English would necessitate first increasing the number of foreign teachers and foreign students.
“Whether universities can push strongly for bilingualism would depend on the students’ English-language foundation,” National Pingtung University president Guu Yuan-kuang (古源光) said. “The ministry would need to first improve English-language skills at the elementary and junior-high school levels,” he said.
Yuan Ze University president Wu Jyh-yang (吳志揚) said that his school had already been promoting English as the language of instruction for 10 years, and that it teaches one-quarter of its classes in English.
However, further increasing the number of courses taught in English without first improving students’ English-language ability could negatively affect their professional competency, he said.
In related news, National Sun Yat-sen University plans to start a 10-year program next year to transition to English as the language of instruction, starting with its electrical engineering; mechanical and electro-mechanical engineering; and chemistry programs, the university said on Friday.
It hopes to have all of its courses taught in English by 2030, it said, adding that 20 percent of its instructors are foreigners.
“National Sun Yat-sen University is actively working to meet the needs of Taiwan’s industry as it seeks to globalize,” university president Cheng Ying-yao (鄭英耀) said, adding that it also hopes to attract outstanding foreign students.
The 10-year program would be introduced in three stages, with the first beginning on Feb. 1 next year, when the school plans to have a minimum of six courses per program taught fully in English, university provost Lee Chih-peng (李志鵬) said.
It would then aim to have an additional four courses taught in English per department per year, he said.
‘UNPRECEDENTED’: Taiwan’s envoy said that official wording framing Taiwan-China issues as not about unification or independence counters the narrative Beijing wants Use of the phrase “democratic Taiwan” by Germany’s new coalition government in official document shows that Taiwan-China issues are not about “independence” against “unification,” but about democracy against authoritarianism, Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said yesterday. Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Free Democratic Party and the Greens — known as the “traffic light coalition” for their colors — on Wednesday inked a coalition agreement following elections on Sept. 26. The agreement, a blueprint for their governance for the next four years, mentions “Taiwan,” which is unprecedented, showing that the new German government is paying close attention to cross-strait peace and supports Taiwan’s
BIDEN NOD: A China watcher said that the inclusion of Taiwan is notable, as it is the only democratic state on the list that Washington does not officially recognize Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) are to attend the US-led Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9 and 10, the government said yesterday, after US President Joe Biden announced the list of guests for the virtual event. The US Department of State on Tuesday announced a list of 110 invited participants, including Taiwan, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan and the UK. China and Russia were not invited, and Beijing expressed anger at the decision to invite Taiwan. The summit is to revolve around three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting
China said it would punish businesses and political donors with links to individuals supporting Taiwanese independence after it fined Taiwanese conglomerate Far Eastern Group (遠東集團). “Businesses and financial sponsors associated with supporters of Taiwan independence will be penalized according to law,” Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) told reporters on Monday, according to a statement from her agency. Zhu said that backers of independence undermine cross-strait relations and risk instability in the region. Zhu made the remark as she responded to a question about whether the punishment Far Eastern received earlier on Monday was connected to China’s efforts to sanction Taiwanese
‘REMAIN VIGILANT’: The CECC said that the COVID-19 situation in neighboring countries is still severe, so it is not considering easing border controls at this point About 35,500 rooms are expected to be available at quarantine hotels and centralized quarantine facilities for Taiwanese returning to the nation from abroad between Dec. 14 and Feb. 14, up from 29,600 rooms announced previously, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) early this month said 26,000 rooms were available at quarantine hotels and that the CECC planned to make 3,600 rooms available at government quarantine facilities. The center announced the capacity expansion at an inter-ministerial meeting on COVID-19 prevention at the Executive Yuan yesterday morning. The CECC told the meeting that COVID-19 cases