The Tainan City Government's effort of promoting English as the second official language has long been supported by various organizations. In May this year, a free TOEIC Bridge test was sponsored by Chun Shin Limited, the Country Master Distributor of ETS in Taiwan, exclusively for Tainan citizens with a quota of 1,500 persons. The free spots were highly sought-after and quickly taken within hours after the news release. The result of the test was recently announced. 60 percent of the test takers achieved scores equivalent to CEFR A2 level. The average score of Tainan’s test takers in the TOEIC Bridge test was 133, higher than the national average of 131 in 2017.
Wu Shao-ming, Chief Operating Officer of Chun Shin, commented that such outstanding result shows that many Tainan citizens already possess basic international communication skills. The policy of English as the second official language has successfully raised the public's enthusiasm for learning English.
Wu further stressed that even in an international city, it is not necessary for everyone to achieve a TOEIC score up to 750 or have an excellent command of English. What most people need is simple English that can be used in daily life. It is sufficient for ordinary people like receptionists, taxi drivers, street vendors, or traffic police to speak just enough English to provide basic English services to foreigners.
Chen Chao-ming, the CEO of Global Education Association in Taiwan (GEAT), acknowledged Lai Ching-te's effort of promoting English during his term as Tainan City Mayor. Improving English to make the city more competitive is a visionary act. Chen pointed out that the high popularity of the TOEIC Bridge test has shown that Tainan citizens have high motivation for learning English. He believed the Tainan City Government's effort and achievement in promoting English can be a good model for other cities.
Chen responded to Premiere Lai's bilingual policy by expressing his view that English is an important skill that should be developed from a young age. He hopes that the citizens and public servants in Tainan, with their English communication skills, can build Tainan into an international and multicultural city that brings in more business opportunities.
GEAT designed a "We Speak English" logo that can be put onto badges, signs, stickers, or vests to show that the users have basic English communication skills. On the press conference, the logo was authorized to the Tainan City Government for future events held by the government.
Li Sian-wei, Director of OEASOL, was impressed by Tainan citizens' TOEIC Bridge test result. He commented that improving the general public's English proficiency level, one of the two cores of OEASOL policies, requires time and persistence. Tainan City Government will continue to provide training and resources to encourage citizens to learn English, thereby building Tainan into an international city.