南市英語力 躍升6都第2Tainan City Leaps to 2nd in English Proficiency Among Taiwan's Six Special Municipalities
Tainan began promoting itself as a bilingual city during Mayor William Lai's term. With the objective of establishing English as the second official language in Tainan within a decade, the Tainan City Government founded the Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) in 2015. Five years have elapsed since the project was launched. Tainan City Government Deputy Secretary-general and OEASOL Director Lee Hsien-Wei recalled that when the project was first rolled out, Tainan's English level was the lowest among the six special municipalities. By last year, it ranked second.
The short-term objective of the decade-long plan to shape Tainan as a bilingual city is to elevate the English proficiency of those serving in the public sector. The mid-term objective is to create a city-wide, English-friendly environment, ensuring that foreign visitors have easy access to historic sites, buses, taxis, and even hospitals. The long-term goal is to promote bilingual education in conjunction with the Executive Yuan's Blueprint for Developing Taiwan into a Bilingual Nation by 2030.
A Growing Number of Schools Apply CLIL
Director Lee pointed out that Tainan employed content and language integrated learning (CLIL) in 2018, where art, general, sports, and science classes were taught in English. At the time, only eight schools enrolled in the project. This number is now up to 18 and is expected to grow to 30 in the future. All schools, urban or rural, are eligible to apply.
Assisting Businesses in Obtaining an EF Emblem
Lee also mentioned that to date, the Tainan City Government has facilitated 1,460 businesses in acquiring an English-friendly emblem, including businesses in traditional markets and night markets, B&Bs, and restaurants. All of these businesses now have bilingual content that makes traveling easier for foreigners. Businesses also have the chance to learn day-to-day English conversations. In addition, the OEASOL collaborated with the Department of Civil Affairs, helping 21 temples become certified as English-friendly. For foreign visitors, Taiwan's temple culture is no longer lost in translation.
Taxi and bus drivers have also taken part in English training, where they learn simple phrases. Lee affirmed that the OEASOL has aided hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and parking lots in Tainan to go global.
EF Education First analyzed the English proficiency of 80 adults above the age of 18 from non-English-speaking countries around the world. The results indicated that in 2016, Tainan's English proficiency ranked last among the six special municipalities. By 2019, Tainan ranked second, making it the municipality that has achieved the greatest improvement in Taiwan. Lee attested that five years into the decade-long project, Tainan has sufficient hardware and software to implement CLIL and to strengthen its citizens' English proficiency through the education system