Next steps to make English 2nd official language in works: spokesperson

Kolas elaborates on next steps in plan to make English second official language in Taiwan

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Kolas Yotaka.

Kolas Yotaka. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After news broke yesterday that Taiwan Premier William Lai (賴清德) is spearheading a plan to make English the second official language in Taiwan next year, making it a "bilingual country," Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯‧尤達卡) outlined the next steps in moving the policy forward.

In an interview with Economic Daily News, which was published yesterday, Lai said he is looking forward to the government "promoting the English-speaking movement to enhance Taiwan's internationalization and visibility," in response to the suggestion of "Englishization" (英語化), Lai said that next year the government will implement a new "bilingual country" policy in which Mandarin and English will both be used in an official capacity in Taiwan to strengthen its international competitiveness.

That same morning, Kolas announced Lai's proposed plan in the Legislative Yuan said in October last year, in response to a question from New Power Party Legislator Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) on the subject, Lai had directed the Ministry of Education to set up a committee to promote English as the second official language to investigate, study and plan for the new policy, reported CNA.

Kolas said Lai had directed the Ministry of Education to setup the "Committee to Promote English as an Official Language" to discuss the issue and set the goal of establishing a bilingual policy for 2019, according to the report.

In June, the Ministry of Education sent a preliminary report on the matter to Lai and will send him another report either at the end of August or in early September. The report will focus on how to deepen learning on campuses, promote bilingual schools or classes at different stages, strengthen oral English training and promote bilingual teaching.

Lai cited a letter sent a letter to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡總統) a few days ago, in which a group of academics from Academia Sinica recommended the adoption of English as a second language, as proof that "society is very concerned about the 'bilingual country' policy." Lai said that he hopes that the policy can be implemented as soon as next year with "learning English starting from elementary school" being a cornerstone of the plan, reported Liberty Times.