Education Ministry should consider English as second official language: Taiwan Premier

Premier Lai tells MOE to form committee to promote the idea

Premier Lai at the Legislative Yuan. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of Education should form a committee to promote English as the country’s second official language, Premier William Lai (賴清德) told legislators Friday.

Critics of the English-language abilities of Taiwanese students and Taiwanese in general have sometimes advocated the introduction of English as an official national language next to Mandarin Chinese as a way to solve the problem.

During a debate about the central government budget at the Legislative Yuan Friday, ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) pointed out that in 2013, when Lai was mayor of Tainan City, he advocated English as a second language. She wanted to know whether he still did now that he had been promoted to premier, the Central News Agency reported.

After the education minister acknowledged that English-language had improved but not sufficiently, Lai said the ministry should set up a special committee to promote English as the second official language, with research necessary before it came up with concrete plans.

In an age of globalization, the importance of the English language no longer needed to be debated, Lai said, adding that in Tainan, he had wanted to raise the competitiveness of young people and foster the internationalization of the city, CNA reported. The academic world, the private sector and the city government had worked out a 10-year plan to promote English, the premier said.