Taiwan Government plans to create two English-language villages
Hsinchu Science and Technology Park is the first choice for a village
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 3
2009-04-21 12:19 AM
The government is planning to spend NT$600 million over three years on improving Taiwan's English-language environment, including the opening of two English villages, reports said yesterday.

The plan to raise the standards of the English-language environment covered several directions, said the Council of Economic Planning and Development, the Cabinet's top planning agency, which approved the plan yesterday afternoon.

The government should improve English signboards, push for a more cosmopolitan living environment, and strive to host more international concerts and exhibitions, the CEPD said.

The English villages would not be real villages, but places where the environment was more conducive to local residents to practice their English, according to the CEPD. Because of the prominent presence of foreign staff, the area of the Hsinchu Science and Technology Park was the first choice for an English village, while a second location was still under consideration. More villages could be added later if enough companies or organizations came forward with workable plans.

Signs inside the villages would be bilingual, but the government would not force shops and hotels to provide English-language service, the CEPD said. Companies willing to participate could register with the authorities and receive stars for the quality of their English-language service like the star ratings system in effect for hotels.

At least 3,000 people could participate in the programs beginning next year and receive a certificate, the government said.

The English villages the CEPD is planning are different from what has been done before in Taiwan and South Korea, namely areas where local students of the English language could practice by buying products and services from foreign teachers in make-believe shops and offices.

Such school-based programs were already in operation in several parts of Taiwan, including Changhua, Taoyuan, Pingtung and the outlying island of Kinmen, reports said.

As to street signs, the government will draw up a standardized list of translations and spellings for major locations.

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