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Public sector primary schools

Is EYL taught as an official part of the curriculum in public sector primary schools? Yes, in selected areas from 1998 - Taipei City, Tainan, Kaoshung City. From 2001 it will be Taiwan-wide.
When was it introduced? See above - from 1998 in selected areas
At what age do students begin EYL? Various, pre-2001 (see below). Official start for the 2001 National Curriculum will be 5th Grade.
Have any significant changes in teaching EYL taken place since 1980? In 1993 the Ministry of Education allowed schools to teach English in extracurricular activities. Since then public primary schools have offered English classes if there are teachers available. (But there has been no control of teacher quality.)

In 1994 the National English Curriculum was announced. The official start for English was in Junior High School.

In Autumn 1998 the 3 cities mentioned above were the first in Taiwan to introduce EYL as an official part of the curriculum in public education. Taipei City taught from the 3rd Grade, Tainan City from the 2nd Grade and Kaoshung City from the 5th Grade.

Is there any widespread teaching of English before the official starting age for compulsory EYL? Yes
How many hours a week/school year are officially allocated for EYL? From 2001 it will be 80 minutes per week x 2 semesters of 18 weeks each = 48hours teaching per year
How many EYL teachers and students are there in the public education system? Not stated
Who does the EYL teaching? • The normal class teacher
• A specialist teacher of English who works only in one school
• A person, not a qualified teacher, who knows English and works in only one school
• A person, not a qualified teacher, who knows English and visits different schools to give lessons. (Usually this person is working for private language institutes. S/he can be an English major, but without a teaching certificate.)
Who is eligible to teach EYL in the public education system? • An established primary teacher who has passed a local test or exam in English. (The Ministry of Education has authorised a local testing centre, LTTC, to develop an English proficiency test - including written and oral tests - to screen future English teachers.
• A university graduate of English who has not taken courses in Education or Teaching methodology. (If a college graduate passes the abovementioned exams, s/he will be eligible to register on the English Teacher Training Programme.)
Nationwide are schools able to recruit enough EYL teachers? Yes. The Ministry of Education has estimated the number of EYL teachers and set up teacher training programmes for them. In fact, there will be enough EYL teachers available, but there is no guarantee that every school will be able to recruit enough EYL teachers (especially in rural areas).
What official guidelines exist for EYL teaching? There is a fairly detailed outline of suitable content, with suggested word lists
Do EYL teaching materials have to be approved? Teachers may choose any published materials (local or international), provided they are within budget and that the materials have official clearance or approval
What materials are typically used?  • Lesson materials adapted by teachers from several published sources
• International published coursebooks
• Locally published coursebooks
What other foreign languages are taught at primary level? None
Are any changes in the provision of EYL planned or anticipated?  In 2001 children Taiwan-wide will start learning English in the 5th Grade

Private sector primary schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? Not stated
What percentage of primary age children attends them? Not stated
What differences in EYL provision exist from public sector primary schools?  Not stated
What materials do they use for EYL? Not stated


Private language schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? Yes
How many Young Learners take private language school classes?  Not stated
How many hours of English do they typically offer? Not stated
Is there any perceived conflict between public school and private language school provision in EYL? In private schools children start learning English at an earlier age. The schools offer more hours of English. Some private schools recruit native speakers.
What materials do they use for EYL? They use international published textbooks, locally produced textbooks and material developed by teachers


Private tuition for Young Learners

Is there private tuition for primary age children? Yes
How many Young Learners are involved? More than 80% of 5th Grade children in Taipei City
What is the typical starting age for private tuition? Usually before mainstream education
Why do parents use private tutors? In general parents want their children to be able to speak English fluently, or at least parents want their children to outperform other children in English when they enter secondary school. (This means that they have a better chance of getting in to one of the more prestigious high schools and colleges in the future.)

Date information collected: 1999


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