By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
A majority of Taiwanese support making English the nation’s second official language and promoting bilingual education, a poll released yesterday by the Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation showed.
Eighty-seven percent of the respondents agreed that English should be Taiwan’s second official language, while 9 percent disagreed, the poll showed.
Eighty-nine percent said that public elementary and junior-high schools should offer bilingual classes taught in Mandarin and English, a practice only allowed at private schools, poll committee member Feng Ching-huang （馮清皇） told a news conference in Taipei.
The National Development Council on Dec. 6 unveiled a blueprint to make Taiwan a bilingual nation by 2030, but whether to list English as the nation’s second official language is still being debated.
National Taiwan Normal University information and computer education professor Ho Rong-guey （何榮桂）, who attended the news conference, said that most respondents seemed to support the policy, adding that officials should start working on it soon, for example by preparing bilingual versions of official documents and improving their English proficiency.
Most respondents also said that the nation’s education system needs to be reformed to put more emphasis on thinking, rather than knowledge-oriented instruction that merely helps students obtain diplomas, the poll showed.
Asked whether they agreed with the idea that curricula taught at elementary, junior-high and high schools should encourage students to have a deeper understanding of Taiwanese geography, history and culture, 68.8 percent of respondents said yes, while 26.1 percent said no.
It is curious that the question’s approval rating was less than that of other questions, especially among the group of respondents with higher education, Ho said, adding that the results need to be analyzed further.
Most Taiwanese have progressive educational concepts that echo global trends, so the government should accelerate its educational reforms, foundation chairman Huang Kun-huei （黃昆輝） said.
The telephone survey was conducted from Nov. 27 to Nov. 30 and collected 1,071 valid samples from people older than 20, and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation president Huang Kun-huei yesterday in Taipei announces the results of a poll showing that a majority of Taiwanese support making English Taiwan’s official second language. Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times