MOE takes steps to boost English in rural schools


TAIPEI–The Ministry of Education (MOE) intends to improve the teaching of English in rural schools by strengthening their facilities and the caliber of their teachers, Deputy Education Minister Chen I-hsing said yesterday in response to criticism of a new English testing plan.

Chen said 98 percent of English teachers in the country are professionally trained and that the ministry will work to increase the percentage to 100 percent through the use of various subsidies. He announced the measures to address public concerns over new junior high school graduation examinations that will include English listening comprehension tests and non-multiple choice math tests.

The new exam system will be introduced in 2014 in line with the introduction of a new 12-year education program. Taiwan currently has a nine-year compulsory education system.

The changes are considered unfavorable to students from rural areas because schools in those parts of the country tend to have access to fewer resources than those in urban regions.