I agree. The situation is really not looking good.
It seems to have strong support. See what happens.
I know new Taipei city is already hiring a bunch of folks.
There’s a lot more to be done to modernise the school system though.
The last time I needed to get my APRC updated, it took forever because two of the three clerks helping foreigners (many of whom had just arrived in Taiwan) appeared to speak next to no English.
Of course, that said, the local 7-11 has three clerks who speak passable English and yesterday the clerk who checked me out in Muji appeared fairly fluent. My sister, who blends in far less well than I do, recently visited and I was surprised at how many restaurants rolled out English-speaking staff when obvious foreigners walk in. A bilingual policy could be pulled off by virtually every industry here…outside of the gov’t.
The fact that retailers appear better prepared to roll out English menus than before has everything to do with changes in tourism policy. Along with heaps of non-Mandarin-speaking visitors from SE Asia and around the world, there are LOTS of Koreans and Japanese independent tourists—and when they communicate in shops, it’s often in English.
The Taiwan English speaking thing is and will be only for tourists. I don’t believe anything big of improvement will happen until 2030 for the foreigners who live here permanently. It is very different to have airport, mrt, road signs, and restaurant menus in English from having complete written and spoken English communication with banks, courts, government institutions, hospitals, schools etc.
They need to revamp the curriculum. Once that is set, the rest just adapts to follow. But content and methodology do have to be on target: get people to be able to function in English.
Let me explain: in the old country, from public school education, people are able to greet tourists, give them directions, sell them stuff. They can also read manuals and follow instructions in English. This means people have the basic tools to continue learning if it is so required for their jobs and life. Most coukd work in transnational factories just fine.
In Taiwan, the test taking approach means people do not acquire the language. What they learn at school seems impressive on paper because of the amount but it is useless. People cannot understand a basic text, cannot lead independent study and cannot follow basic instructions or know which questions to ask to do so. Conversation is a separate entity learned at hand picked language schools, varies in quality, and most importantly, suffers from the «hey baby» syndrome: colloquial stuff is taught out of context and often misused. So yeah kids here can fill tests with complex grammatical structural formulas that were invented 50 years ago and no one in the world uses, especially linguistic scholars, but hey, it is MIT. Yet they cannot understand or communicate from basic school. They need buxiban, and their achievements again are based on tests MIT. That is why they still hire people, mostly ABCs, to do tests like TOEIC for others. And they can’t do TOEFL.
I bet those kids have participated in work abroad schemes.
In Taipei maybe. The cashiers in half the stores, here in the middle of b-f nowhere, have a mini heart attack when they see me enter.
IT must begin with kindergarten. This englishey thing. With proper teachers who speak correct english. Either english english or american english or aussie english or s.african english, but pls no singlish or phili english.
So, where do I apply as one of their teachers/translators, sort of like those translators you see in Major League Baseball for foreign players who even go out to the mound during timeout?