Most parents think English education in Taiwan schools inadequate: poll

Taipei, Most parents in Taiwan are of the view that the English language learning programs in the country's primary and junior high schools are inadequate and as a result, they choose after-school supplementary classes, according to a survey released Sunday.

The poll found that 64.2 percent of parents of primary and junior high school students think there is not enough English education at regular schools in Taiwan, while 69.2 percent have enrolled their children in English cram schools or other after-school programs.

According to the survey, 48.1 percent of parents think cram schools and after-school programs are more efficient in teaching English than regular schools.

Among those parents who pay for private English classes, 29.2 percent spend more than NT$48,000 (US$1,600) a year, while 8.8 percent fork out NT$96,000 a year on average, the poll found.

It also found that 42 percent of parents in Taiwan expose their children to English-language learning before they start primary school.

On the question of why they want their children to learn English, 39.9 percent of parents mentioned globalization, 37.9 percent said it would guarantee employment, and 32.2 percent said it was a ticket to higher education in Taiwan.

Wu Shih-chi (???), an English teacher at Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University, said foreign language classes at regular schools in Taiwan are indeed inadequate.

Many parents turn to cram schools and other after-school programs because they are worried that their children would fall behind, Wu said.

The poll was commissioned by Chun Shin Ltd., which handles English proficiency testing in Taiwan on behalf of the U.S.-based Educational Testing Service (ETS), and conducted by Shin Hsin University's Institute of Knowledge Economy Development.

The survey was conducted via telephone between March 28 and April 9 on randomly-selected parents of primary and junior high school students around Taiwan and obtained 1,070 valid samples.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel