At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Lai Ching-te said the government has drafted a blueprint for making Taiwan a bilingual nation by 2030, a major policy goal that will enhance the nation's competitiveness. He instructed all government agencies to actively implement the blueprint's strategies and measures in a demonstration of the administration's commitment to the goal.
In remarks following a briefing by the National Development Council (NDC), the premier said the blueprint is distinct from previous bilingual policies in several respects. For one, it is designed to enhance the nation's overall competitiveness rather than simply the ability to pass examinations. It also focuses on enhancing people's English proficiency as opposed to only building the infrastructure for a bilingual environment. The blueprint is intended to forge a culture of English learning for not only students, but the entire nation. Finally, the blueprint's measures will be driven from the demand side rather than the supply side.
Since the central strategy of this blueprint is the promotion of a bilingual environment in the education system, the Ministry of Education (MOE) should ease relevant regulations and submit draft amendments to the Legislative Yuan within three months, Premier Lai said. Government agencies, in addition to crafting strategies for operations under their remit, should also cultivate the English proficiency of their own staff as well. Ministers and deputy ministers should enhance their English-language communication skills in order to be able to convey important messages through the international media in real time.
The NDC said the blueprint will combine the resources of central agencies, local governments and the private sector to enhance the nation's English proficiency and competitiveness. Aside from improving the English communication skills of government employees and providing public information in a bilingual format (such as government websites, open government data, and regulations and documents relating to foreign nationals), the blueprint will create an integrated platform for English learning and translation resources.
The entire education system will also be reformed to cultivate bilingual students with outward-looking perspectives, the NDC said. Specific measures include easing of regulations, extending bilingual education to kindergartens, implementing fully bilingual education at science park experimental high schools, making the education system more internationally minded, and using digital technologies to create customized learning opportunities in everyday life. All of these efforts will improve citizens' English listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities and further enhance Taiwan's soft power in the world community.