87% of Taiwanese support making English the second official language: survey

The government envisions a bilingual Taiwan by 2030

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The Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation holds press conference for English as second language survey (Photo/CNA)

The Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation holds press conference for English as second language survey (Photo/CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As high as 87 percent of respondents support making English as a second official language for Taiwan, according to a survey conducted by The Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation (黃昆輝教授基金會).

The Executive Yuan has set out its vision for Taiwan to become a Mandarin-English bilingual country by 2030, with the Ministry of Education proposing to increase courses taught in English.

The research finds that 87 percent of people in Taiwan back the government’s policy to make English a second official language, while only 9 percent oppose the idea. A total of 89 percent of respondents favor the option of establishing bilingual classes at public high schools and elementary schools, a proposal strongly supported by residents dwelling in Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung, reports CNA.

The results indicate that the government has secured a strong mandate from the people to push for the policy, the implementation of which would inevitably encounter difficulties, reckoned Prof. Ho Rong-guey (何榮桂) of National Taiwan Normal University Graduate Institute of Information and Computer Education.

Cultivation of competent teachers and bridging the urban-rural divide are the most pressing issues, Ho added.

The survey also finds that 81.9 percent believe a major overhaul is needed for the country’s educational system by shifting focus to a more problem-solving oriented approach, writes the report.

The research, carried out between Nov. 27 and 30 by telephone, collected 1,071 valid samples with a confidence level of 95 percent and margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.