Taiwan set to boost number of foreign English teachers

Plan part of Taiwan’s effort to become bilingual country by 2030

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English course in Taiwan (MOE photo)

English course in Taiwan (MOE photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is planning to expand the recruitment of foreign English teachers from 80 to 300 per year as part of its bid to become a bilingual country.

Now in its sixth year, the bilingual program sees 20 to 22 class sessions a week at Taiwan’s public senior high schools conducted in English. The program has been touted as helping to sharpen the country’s competitive edge.

According to the Ministry of Education (MOE), the number of schools applying for subsidies for the employment of foreign English teachers has been growing and been well-received.

Pingtung Senior High School, for example, encourages instructors to incorporate local culture into the curriculum. From the tuna harvest season to the burning of the King Boat and to the tourist attraction of Kenting, the courses introducing some of the most iconic traits of Taiwan's southernmost municipality have struck a chord with students and contributed to better academic performance.

Pupils at Lan-Yang Girls' Senior High School in Yilan and Nantou Senior High School in the central city of Nantou have also expressed increased interest in English acquisition, thanks to lively classes featuring dialogues useful for travel and daily life, said the MOE.

The education authorities are seeking to set aside a budget of NT$2 billion (US$68 million) next year from the current NT$200 million for bilingual education, reported CNA. The blueprint for the “2030 Bilingual Country” aims to boost national competitiveness and improve citizens’ English proficiency via educational reform, establishing English channels, increasing English programs, creating an English friendly environment for tourists, and other approaches.