This year (2018) marked the third anniversary of the Tainan City Government’s policy of promoting English as the Second Official Language (EASOL). Since its launch, the program has attracted nationwide attention and gained media coverage from home and abroad. To celebrate the accomplishment of the short-term objective, the office of promoting English as the second official language (OEASOL) held a press conference today to present its achievements over the past three years. The event was attended by distinguished guests from the public and private sectors, including Li, Men-yen, Acting Tainan Mayor, and Dr. Doris Brougham, founder of Studio Classroom.
In the welcome remark, Li Men-yen stressed the importance of English. He said that although Mandarin is gaining popularity across the world, English remains the most popular language for international communication. It is an essential tool for communicating, persuading, and acquiring new knowledge. If Tainan wants to enhance its influence and competitiveness on the global stage, we must be equipped with adequate English proficiency. He quoted a Taiwanese entrepreneur in Vietnam, who noted that Taiwan, albeit its advance skills, has lost great business opportunities due to its limited English ability. Li believed that promoting English will not result in people abandoning their mother tongue, but rather will help to bring in more opportunities from all over the world.
One of the highlights of the press conference was the exhibition of the seven major milestones of the EASOL policy jointly unveiled by Acting Mayor Li and the guests. These achievements include: 1) Building an English-friendly city; 2) Bilingual government documents and information; 3) Creating an online Bilingual menu generator; 4) Enhancing English education and introducing CLIL bilingual education; 5) Enhancing the competitiveness of local companies; 6) Encouraging English learning for all citizens; 7) Providing English learning resources. Following the exhibition was the presentation of certificates of appreciation to members of the EASOL Promotion Committee and Mr. Shen, Kun-zhao, chairman of the Flomo Educational Foundation, who sponsored 20 million dollars to Tainan City Government for promoting English.
In her remark on behalf of, Shelly Tang, spokesperson of the Flomo Educational Foundation, said that the EASOL policy matches the aims of the foundation, and will benefit the young generation tremendously. In addition to their contribution to the EASOL program, the Foundation also provides free English tutoring services for over 40 schools in Tainan. She stressed that the public and private sector have worked together to accomplish these feats, and the effort of promoting English in Tainan should continue.
The committee members were also invited to address the guests at the press conference. Dr. Doris Brougham, founder of Studio Classroom, remarked that the Tainan City Government’s endeavor to promote English as the second official language has made a positive influence on both Tainan and Taiwan. She noted that in the era of globalization dominated by the Internet, English has played an ever increasingly important role. It serves as a bridge connecting Taiwan to the world. It not only enables Taiwanese people to communicate with foreigners, but also helps to enhance their competitiveness and broaden their horizons. This will give them more influence in world affairs.
Ms. Shaw, Shi-Yuan, teaching deputy superintendent of Chi Mei Hospital, Chiali branch, remarked that the implementation of the EASOL policy is a forward-looking move of the Tainan City Government. Although Taiwan boasts the world-class standards of health care, it still requires the support of English as soft power to achieve the goal of providing internationalized medical service. Taiwan still has a long way to go if it aims to become a match of Singapore. She hoped that the new mayor will keep promoting this policy to make Tainan an English-friendly city acknowledged by the whole world.
Ms. Rebecca Lee, General Manager of the Silks Place Hotel, said she prides herself on being a Tainan citizen because of this promising policy. She hoped that the government will keep working hard based on the foundation laid over the past three years.
Robert Dawson, member of EASOL promotion committee, noted that he is thrilled to witness the progress of the program. Beginning from scratch, the OEASOL has successfully assisted private sectors in establishing an English-friendly environment and improved the English proficiency of citizens. He is glad to see that through the efforts of the OEASOL, Tainan citizens have learned to put English into use instead of studying it simply to score high grades. He hopes that Tainan City Government will keep moving forward and build Tainan into an international hub for business and tourism in Asia.