As a leader in international education, EF Education First has long been dedicated to elevating the English proficiency of cities around the world. A study conducted by EF Education First revealed that Tainan yet again improved the most among the six special municipalities in Taiwan, landing in second place in Taiwan this year. For the first time, Tainan's English proficiency has surpassed major cities such as Tokyo, Hanoi, and Saint Petersburg, which are either highly internationalized or heavily influenced by Western culture. Thus, EF Education First awarded Tainan with the Best Contributor to English Learning Award, a one-of-a-kind award which was received by Mayor Huang Wei-che on behalf of Tainan's 1.8 million citizens.
EF Education First General Manager Laurent Morel asserted that the English proficiency of adults in Tainan City has improved significantly for two consecutive years and that Tainan's efforts in implementing the Blueprint for Developing Taiwan into a Bilingual Nation should be recognized as a paradigm for cities around the world. EF Education First awarded the Best Contributor to English Learning Award to the Tainan City Government. This award is especially meaningful, as it was custom designed to recognize Tainan's achievements.
Morel stated that Tainan's incumbent mayor and his predecessor both attended Harvard University; thus, both mayors have been dedicated to promoting English as a second language. This is evidenced by Former Mayor William Lai's English as a second language policy and incumbent Mayor Huang Wei-che's emphasis on promoting bilingual education and elevating citizens' English proficiency. These efforts have yielded fruitful results, and Tainan has yet again exceeded expectations.
EF Education First Tainan Office General Manager Cai Yi-Lun mentioned that last year (2018), Minh Tran, Senior Director of Research and Academic Partnerships at EF, was invited to visit Taiwan. Upon visiting a pilot content and language integrated learning (CLIL) elementary school in Tainan, Dr. Tran was impressed by Tainan's devotion to integrating English with education. The Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) co-organized the "Lecture on Creating a Bilingual Environment for Our Children's Future" with EF Education First in December 2019, where Dr. Tran shared his insights on this topic.
Mayor Huang stated that Tainan is the first and oldest city in Taiwan. For the outside world to understand the cultural significance of this historic capital, language barriers must be eliminated. Taiwan's migration history has contributed to the friendly nature and broad international view of its people. To ensure that future generations in Tainan can keep abreast of international trends, the municipal government should place particular emphasis on bilingual education. Mayor Huang was pleasantly surprised to learn that the English proficiency of adults in Tainan surpassed that of highly globalized cities such as Tokyo and Russia for the first time. Huang reiterated that in the future, the English proficiency of local taxi drivers and temple personnel should be further elevated, which will then increase Tainan's international visibility.
Mayor Huang expressed his gratitude for the private sector, which has invested ample resources into English education over the years. Contributors included FLOMO Education Foundation Chairman Kun-Chao Shen, who donated TWD $20 million to the Tainan City Government as funds for promoting English proficiency; the iconic brand Studio Classroom; VoiceTube, Taiwan's largest online English learning platform; and renowned international English testing agency TOEIC. In addition to offering free sponsorships and English learning resources, these institutions have also provided the municipal government with valuable professional advice. By combining the strengths of industry, government, and academia, Tainan has seen excellent results. This year, the world's largest English children's book publisher, SCHOLASTIC, sponsored English language e-books for Tainan. E.Sun Commercial Bank's "You Read; I Donate" event has also made reading English books quite the trend.
The OEASOL affirmed that all municipal departments collaborated to promote bilingual policies along two major trajectories: enhancing English proficiency and creating an English-friendly environment. In terms of enhancing English proficiency, the municipal government rolled out CLIL in schools, organized the Tainan English Reading Festival, and offered English presentation classes for civil servants, all with the aim of encouraging citizens to speak English. The second trajectory, creating an English-friendly environment, sets out from the point of view of foreigners. Ten types of businesses received assistance in offering bilingual information and engaging in English conversations. To date, 627 restaurants offer bilingual menus, 209 businesses offer bilingual services, 271 taxi drivers and 17 temples offer bilingual information and online tours, and eight night markets offer bilingual menus. For a complete list of businesses that provide bilingual content and services, please visit the following website: