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Taiwan 2030 bilingual policy intended to boost nation's competitiveness

Taiwan premier says policy does not list English as 2nd official language

Taiwan Premier Chen Chien-jen. 

Taiwan Premier Chen Chien-jen.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The establishment of a national language research and development center does not mean English will be listed as the country's second official language, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said on Tuesday (April 25).

Taiwan needs to preserve and cherish its native languages, but it also needs to develop the ability to understand international trends and connect seamlessly with the world, Chen said in a Facebook post.

His comments come as the Legislative Yuan Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee is set to review the bill on establishing a bilingual national development center on Wednesday (April 26). The center would be under the supervision of the National Development Council (NDC) and funded by the government.

Chen pointed out that Taiwan needs more fluent international communication skills and a broader world perspective to embrace greater opportunities and challenges in the global arena. Therefore, since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office, she has emphasized the importance of English education and promoted the 2030 bilingual policy, he said.

The aim is to promote English language education as an international lingua franca on the basis of national language development, enabling Taiwan to maintain its important competitiveness in connecting with the world, Chen said. Only by advancing bilingualism can Taiwan's development be sustained. However, the government will never be biased towards either language, he added.

The premier also said education will be a crucial key to policy implementation. This will enable Taiwan to thrive and become a world-renowned place.

This 2030 bilingual policy was implemented in 2017 to boost the competitiveness of Taiwan’s younger generation, further strengthen English communication skills among Taiwanese, and help bolster their global competitiveness, according to the NDC.