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Mayor Emphasizes Importance of Languages at Bilingual Education Forum

Mayor Ko attending the Bilingual Education ForumMayor Ko Wen-je attended the 2020 Academic Year Bilingual Education Forum in the afternoon of October 13.
 
He remarked that two key factors determining whether Taipei can be successful at becoming a globalized city are bilingual education and international education. The decisive element for the former is teachers, which requires long-term planning. As for the latter, despite the interruption from COVID-19, he believes that it is important to give students opportunities to go abroad and to let international students in when it becomes possible once again. These are necessary for nurturing an international perspective among pupils.  
 
Pointing out that under the 2030 Bilingual Education Strategy and the Whitepapers on Elementary School and Middle School Education Version 2.0, the central government allocated an annual budget of roughly NT$200 million on bilingual education; and the funding is expected to grow to NT$2 billion next year. This indicates that the central government also understands the importance of bilingual and international education.
 
The mayor recalled the origins of Taipei’s push for bilingual education being his trip to Singapore in 2017. During the trip, he discussed with the country’s Minister of Education on how Singapore became an internationalized city. In summary, the city state invested 28 years into the endeavor, and Ko didn’t realize how challenging it is until Taipei attempted to implement it. He discovered that the key factor is teachers.
 
By drawing upon Singapore’s experience, Ko noted that trials for Taipei’s bilingual education program began with Dong-xin Elementary School and Wenchang Elementary School in 2017. The number of participating schools is expected to reach 49 in 2021 (35 elementary schools and 14 middle schools). A Bilingual Education Project Management Office has also been established at Yongji Elementary School to oversee policy implementation.
 
Another important factor affecting bilingual education is the availability of teaching materials. Currently, the city government has embarked on the task of writing textbooks for lower grade students in elementary school. Undeniably, it will take some time to complete materials up through middle school. The city government will use the CooC Cloud as a platform for placing all the teaching materials, where it could be shared and accessed by everyone.