Taiwan to become a bilingual country by 2030: NDC proposal

A complete plan for the bilingual policy will be announced at the beginning of December

Hualien students show off their new English skills.

Hualien students show off their new English skills. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following a recent plan to designate English as Taiwan's official second language, the National Development Council (NDC) on Nov. 7 announced a plan for turning the country bilingual by 2030 in a bid to heighten international competitiveness, reported ET Today.

Speaking at a press conference, NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling said that the idea of Taiwan as "a bilingual country" had been suggested to the government by several associations such as the European Chamber Of Commerce Taiwan and the Academia Sinica. The previous government also implemented a bilingual policy with English translations on road signs, traffic, and hardware instructions, but were mostly targeting foreign tourists.

The new bilingual plan's main goal is to promote comprehensive English ability by Taiwanese nationals with advanced training for reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills. "In the era of the digital economy, an excellent language ability is necessary for the development of Taiwan," Chen said.

At present, the NDC is designing a mechanism to put the bilingual-country policy into practice. The final draft will be revealed by the beginning of December and shall be approved by the President by the end of the year, reports said.

When asked whether 12 years was not enough time to become a bilingual country, Chen's reply expressed that the national basic education is a 12-year system, and Singapore spent almost 20 years to move towards a bilingual country; so, 12 years should be enough for Taiwan.