Taiwan’s executive officer, Lai Ching-te of the Executive Yuan, has proposed to transform Taiwan into a bilingual country by 2030. Lai claims that doing so will be a momentous step for Taiwan on a global scale. As English is currently a very powerful language that is prevalently used as a means of communication among many countries, Lai wishes for most, if not all, Taiwanese people to have a good grasp of the language. He believes that by incorporating English into the society, Taiwan will become a more competitive country that will reflect positively on the general welfare of society.
Lai wants this bilingual education to start from as early as kindergarten. Since children pick up languages much more quickly, it would be the healthiest and most natural way for Taiwanese people to become bilingual. Even though there are currently several bilingual and entirely English schools in Taiwan, these schools are rarely acknowledged or heard of in society in comparison to local schools. Lai proposes to merge these bilingual “experimental” schools located within various science parks with their local, Chinese-speaking counterparts. These local schools will be incorporated within bilingual schools and will foster a new generation of bilingual Taiwanese people.
Nonetheless, Lai believes that this bilingualism should not focus only on students and be instilled by means of relentless studying and endless examinations. Instead, all Taiwanese people, young and old, should be encouraged to learn English and should have the adequate resources to do so. By focusing on the bigger picture—aka the entire population—rather than selective generations, Lai is convinced that the country as a whole will be able to achieve bilingualism much more efficiently. With Lai’s proposed changes to and overhauls of the society’s linguistic structure, Taiwan will inevitably become the home of a new wave of bilingual citizens by 2030.
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