53% of respondents support making English Taiwan's second official language

Over half of Taiwanese surveyed support making English a second official language of Taiwan

(Photo by Tainnan City office of English as the Second Official Language)

(Photo by Tainnan City office of English as the Second Official Language)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Over half of respondents of a survey implemented in September said that they support making English an official second language of Taiwan as a means to improve the English language proficiency of university students.

After Premier William Lai (賴清德) in August announced a proposal to make English an official second language in Taiwan next year, the Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation on Saturday (Sept. 29) released the results of a survey on higher education which included a section asking respondents what methods would improve the English language ability of university students. Receiving the most votes at 53.1 percent was the option titled "designating English as the second official language."

The second-most popular option was "rewarding universities for setting up courses taught entirely in English" at 48.1 percent, and coming in third was "setting English proficiency requirements as the graduation threshold" at 44.9 percent.

Kuo Sheng-yu (郭生玉), convener of the poll committee, said that he was very happy to hear Lai's announcement in August of a plan to make Taiwan a bilingual country in 2019 and his directive given on Friday (Sept. 28) to the Ministry of Education to loosen regulations restricting preschools from teaching English, reported Liberty Times. He said that the foundation felt a great sense of accomplishment at the news, as it had advocated English-language classes at preschools last year.

The survey was carried out from Sept. 13 to Sept 16 by telephone and collected 1,068 valid samples with a confidence level of 95 percent and margin of error of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points.