More than 60 percent of Taiwan parents send their children to cram schools to learn English, with 70 percent hoping their children will develop an interest in English at the cram schools, according to the results of a survey released yesterday.
The King Car Education Foundation conducted the survey in December 2005 on 2,059 parents around Taiwan.
Officials at the foundation noted that the TOEFL scores of Taiwan students have for several consecutive years occupied the bottom places among Asian students and that the TOEIC scores of the Taiwan people ranked ninth from the bottom around the world, which they said shows that the English ability of the Taiwan people is still inadequate despite the English-learning fever in the country.
Randy Chang, the survey's coordinator, said that the survey indicates that 90 percent of the parents lack confidence in their English ability regardless of their education experience. As a consequence, he noted, 87 percent of the respondents did not take part in their children's English learning process.
Although most parents do not expect cram schools to improve their children's English ability significantly, they hope their children will have stronger English ability after attending the cram schools.
With English now being taught in school starting in grade three in Taiwan, the survey shows that 40 percent of elementary students started to learn English at pre-school age.
The foundation's Chief Executive Sun Chien-kuo suggested that parents could guide their children's English learning based on three principles ?timing, diversity, and confidence.
基金會執行長孫慶國提出父母親可以依據三項原則指導自己的孩子學習英文 — 時機、多元化以及自信心。
Sun said that parents should ignore the myth that starting English lessons at an early age could guarantee impressive progress, and should adopt different learning approaches other than cram school to cultivate children's interest, including the use of books, music and movies.
On the advantages of letting children start learning English early, 97 percent of the parents said having good English ability will promise better job opportunities, while 85 percent said enhancing the English ability of the Taiwan people will help upgrade the country's competitiveness.
Meanwhile, 80 percent of the respondents said they hope that the government will designate English the second official language of Taiwan.