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Education News | Taiwan Pushes English

Inside Higher Ed says that the country of Taiwan is working hard to make English more central to its higher education sector. Author Joyce Lau indicates that this change is driven by a downward trend in Taiwanese attending local universities as well as the loss of mainland Chinese students. Taiwan and China are currently experiencing a troubled political relationship.

The Ministry of Education aims to increase the number of English speakers by at least 50% over the next 10 years. Now, only about 20% of faculty and students speak English. Few courses in Taiwan are taught in English, less than 5%. Many east Asian countries are contending with low birth rates. A large number of Taiwanese graduate programs in 2019 were unable to recruit even one student.

Hong Kong and Singapore far outpace Taiwan in the number of English speakers. Those two nations are former British colonies, while Taiwan fully separated from mainland China only in 1949.

Taiwan needs to attract more foreigners to their universities, but many foreigners do not speak Mandarin Chinese.