A standardized English proficiency test would be developed for universities following quality complaints about privately developed exams, a government official said yesterday.
The Ministry of Education commissioned the nonprofit Language Training and Testing Center to prepare the test, which would be used by 45 bilingual benchmark institutions, Department of Higher Education Director-General Chu Chun-chang (朱俊彰) told reporters on the sidelines of a higher education conference in Nantou County.
The spoken and written portions of the test would be implemented from September next year, while listening and reading would be added from 2024, Chu said.
Photo: Lin Hsiao-yun, Taipei Times
Universities would use the test to assess a student’s ability to take courses entirely in English, he said, adding that institutions not participating in the program may also use it if they wish.
Institutions covered by the benchmark bilingual university program must teach at least 10 percent of graduate courses and 5 percent of undergraduate courses in English.
The ministry has set a target of at least one-quarter of sophomore undergraduates and first-year graduate students at benchmark schools attaining B2-level English proficiency by 2024, Chu said.
In the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, B2 is the fourth of six levels, indicating upper-intermediate proficiency.
Most universities use English proficiency tests developed by private companies for their graduation requirements, Chu said.
However, this has led to student complaints and even lawsuits over content deemed unsuitable for college students, he said.
The ministry therefore commissioned the center to develop a standardized version, he added.
The center is to work with universities to craft questions that reflect students’ needs, such as books they might encounter in class or internship situations, Chu said.
Taking the test would also cost far less than taking the private exams, at an estimated fee of NT$1,000, he added.
National Sun Yat-sen University vice president of academic affairs Lin Po-chiao (林伯樵) shared the progress of his university, which was chosen for the benchmark program.
Last academic year, there were three departments with 70 students that offered coursework entirely in English, Lin said.
This year, the number has risen to seven departments with 205 students, while 11 departments and 300 students are projected for next academic year, he added.
To assess students’ language ability, the university uses the Test of English for International Communication, he said.
National Chi Nan University has set up a committee with the aim of fostering a bilingual environment, said Chang Chong-chuo (張眾卓), dean of the university’s Office of International and Cross-Strait Affairs.
To encourage teachers to offer all-English courses, each class can receive an additional budget of up to NT$10,000 for preparation time and teaching materials, he said.
Students who advance to a higher level can receive NT$500 to NT$3,000, in addition to other prizes for pursuing an all-English degree, he added.
Indonesia has sent hundreds of riot police to a tiny island after protests broke out against a China-backed project that would displace thousands of residents. About 1,000 people protested in Batam City on Monday over a plan to develop Rempang island into a Chinese-funded economic zone, including the construction of a multibillion-dollar glass factory, that would displace about 7,500 people. Some protesters clashed with security forces outside a government agency, wielding machetes, Molotov cocktails and stones, police said, adding that dozens were arrested. Beijing has poured money into infrastructure and resource projects in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and its investments have previously caused
‘HARASSMENT’: A record 103 Chinese warplanes were detected in 24 hours, posing severe challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said Taiwan yesterday told China to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the nation. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) described the number of warplanes detected in 24 hours as a “recent high,” while Beijing has so far refrained from issuing any official comment on the sorties. “Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defense had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,”
China would be making “a grave strategic mistake” if it tried to attack Taiwan, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said in an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday. Asked by host Fareed Zakaria whether the US could repel a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Milley said: “It is entirely possible.” Milley reiterated that the US still maintains the Taiwan Relations Act, and that it wants “a peaceful outcome between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, and whatever that is between those two peoples.” “Militarily, I think China would make a grave strategic mistake if they attempted to
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance