The Tainan City Government launched the policy to promote English as the second official language to encourage residents to upgrade their everyday English communication skills and incorporate the study of English into their daily lives. This year, it provided 1,500 residents with the opportunity to take the TOEIC Bridge test for free. The slots were filled as soon as the news was announced. The test will be held on May 24, 25, and 26. The FLOMO Education Foundation, a long-time supporter of the city government’s policy to promote English as the second official language, has generously offered to provide all test takers with free stationery sets. On May 17, a foundation representative went to Tiantan Tiangong Temple to offer incense and pray for blessings for the stationery set with the expectation that the Jade Emperor and Wenchang Dijun will bless test takers and help them achieve high scores.
The FLOMO Education Foundation has also donated a total of NT$20 million in cash to the Tainan City Government to help promote the English as the second official language policy. It collaborates with the municipal government to recruit college students with English proficiency and train them through the “Fun English Program” in order to establish a database of English-speaking talents. The foundation’s “Dream High” free English tutoring project is now in its seventh year, and 5,000 economically disadvantaged or rural students have benefitted. This year, it signed agreements with 19 additional elementary schools to promote the free English tutoring project. FLOMO Education Foundation Chairperson Flomo Shen said he is very pleased with the TOEIC Bridge test sponsorship project, as he is happy to see the contribution of additional resources to assist the city in promoting its English as the second official language policy, benefitting the next generation. Shen therefore specially provided 1,500 stationery sets to boost the morale of the 1,500 test takers. The stationery set was jointly developed with the Bureau of Civil Affairs, and comprises lottery poetry-themed 2B pencils and erasers that incorporate the cultural characteristics of Tainan’s temples. The set will be offered to all test takers.
FLOMO Vice Chairperson Shen Qing-ying specially made a trip to Tiantan Tiangong Temple to make offerings and obtain the blessings of the deities for the stationery set before presenting it to Tainan City Government Deputy Secretary-General and Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) Director Lee Hsien-wei. She offered her best wishes for the test to go off without a hitch.
Shen Qing-ying said the FLOMO Education Foundation took the initiative to make a donation to the OEASOL two years ago, hoping to get the ball rolling and start a chain reaction. Chun Shin Limited, ETS’ representative in Taiwan, subsequently sponsored TOEIC Bridge tests, while Studio Classroom sponsored one million free study apps, and online English-learning platform VoiceTube helped to improve corporate English proficiency. All of these are extremely significant achievements. It is hoped the collaboration of industry, government, and academia will allow Tainan residents to continue to improve their English abilities as well as make the city more international.
Lee said the TOEIC Bridge test is designed for beginning to intermediate English learners, and people can use the test to gauge their English proficiency and thereby assess and adjust learning methods. Judging by the enthusiastic registration for the test, it is clear that the English-friendly environment sought by the OEASOL is already taking shape.