RTI Radio Taiwan InternationalRTI Radio Taiwan InternationalIs Taiwan ready to go bilingual?

  • 04 December, 2021

Taiwan’s government has a mission. It wants Taiwan’s people to be bilingual by 2030, with English as their second language. But can this be done? On the ground, Taiwan seems far from any true bilingualism, even though English is compulsory in its schools. Are we teaching it right? What could we be doing better? And what obstacles stand in the way of the government’s bilingual vision for the country? To find out, I’ve been speaking lately with English teacher Daisy Fan, a 20-year veteran of Taiwan’s public high school system. Over the past two weeks, she’s been explaining how English is taught in practice here, what works in the curriculum and what doesn’t, and why there is a regional disparity in Taiwan’s English proficiency. She’s also shared the strange story of how some students here were asked to give a presentation about spinach. This week, she’s back to tackle some final issues: Taiwan’s love affair with after school tutoring academies, the not-always helpful attitudes of Taiwanese parents, and what about her own English-learning journey makes her a rare success story. Finally, we’re going to address the big question we started with—is a bilingual Taiwan in 2030 a serious possibility?