On the morning of August 17, the National Development Council (NDC), Ministry of Education (MOE), and the Australian Office signed the "Australia-Taiwan English Language Learning Partnership Action Plan 2022" to strengthen cooperation between Taiwan and Australia in English language learning. Minister Kung Ming-hsin of the NDC, Minister Pan Wen-chung of the MOE, and Representative Jenny Bloomfield of the Australian Office marked this important milestone of cooperation between Taiwan and Australia in education.
The Australia-Taiwan English Language Learning Partnership Action Plan 2022 supports the new partnership established by the initial Australia-Taiwan English Language Learning Dialogue between Minister Kung Ming-hsin of the NDC, Minister Pan Wen-chung of the MOE, and Representative Jenny Bloomfield of the Australian Office in March this year. Through the dialogue, participants from Taiwan and Australia shared their English language learning experiences , and exchanged opinions regarding skills development, vocational education and training, opportunities to study abroad, and Mandarin language learning. The dialogue facilitated closer cooperation between Australia and Taiwan in education, vocational training, and youth exchanges. The Joint Statement from the dialogue can be found here
The contents of the Action Plan signed between NDC, MOE and the Australian Office include accelerating the development of Taiwan's bilingual higher education, optimizing the bilingual environment in Taiwan's primary and secondary schools, enhancing the digital learning environment for English learners in Taiwan, promoting wider recognition of Taiwan's General English Proficiency Test (GEPT) by foreign universities and institutes, promoting Mandarin language education for Australian students, and promoting the development of Taiwan's bilingual workforce and vocational education and training sector. Taiwan hopes to utilize Australian expertise and experience to both expand cooperation in English language learning and teacher training, and assist Taiwan's bilingual vocational education and training, enhancing professional skills through English proficiency to achieve the goals of Taiwan's bilingual policy.
With regard to promoting the development of Taiwan's bilingual workforce and vocational education and training sector, professional associations & institutes in Taiwan will be matched with vocational training institutes in Australia based on the needs of both sides, which will facilitate the development of training courses and cooperation in teacher training. Future efforts will be directed towards the tourism, nursing, and technology industries to cultivate even more bilingual talent with international mobility. Moreover, exchanges between Taiwanese trainees and their Australian counterparts will be promoted to facilitate the language training of Taiwan's WorldSkills participating trainees, which will allow even more Taiwanese youth with English proficiency to shine on the international stage, and create a better bilingual vocational education system.
Minister Kung Ming-hsin of the NDC said that the Action Plan is a good start, and that the partnership built with Australia not only shows the NDC's determination to implement Bilingual 2030, but also hopes to thus create more English language learning resources and channels, and further increase the opportunities for domestic bilingual talent to stand out in the global market. The Action Plan lays out a framework for the contents of future cooperation between both sides, and adopts different approaches to expand cooperation and links between the two sides in English language learning and teacher training. It also includes Mandarin language education, and comprehensively links together resources and connections between Taiwan and Australia, facilitating talent circulation and professional skills exchanges between the two sides.
Minister Pan Wen-chung of the MOE pointed out that the MOE is implementing bilingual education under three themes - comprehensively increasing capabilities, narrowing gaps, and focused cultivation - and hoped that the bilingual education and online teaching modules of both sides in secondary and tertiary education as well as vocational education will spark new opportunities for broadening and deepening cooperation. Minister Pan also emphasized Taiwan’s advantage on Mandarin language education.
Representative Jenny Bloomfield of the Australian Office welcomed the Action Plan, which would further strengthen the close education, vocational training and youth links between Taiwan and Australia, and looked forward to expanding cooperation, including through sister schools, dual degree programs, vocational training, and academic exchanges.
The Australian Office also invited New Colombo Plan scholars to participate in the event. Australia’s New Colombo Plan supports Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region, including in Taiwan. More than one thousand New Colombo Plan scholars have visited Taiwan since 2015.
Connie Chang, Director General, Department of Overall Planning, National Development Council