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NCNU receives NT$3.5 million seed funding for enhancing students' bilingual capability

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National Chi Nan University was recently approved of a funding of NT$3.5 million by Ministry of Education's 2021 program "Bilingual Education for Students in College (BEST)" as a universal enhancement university. According to MOE's strategic plan, by 2024, more than 30% and by 2030, more than 80% of English classes should be taught in English. Students are encouraged to take EMI (English as a Medium of Instruction) courses. It is expected that at least 5% of sophomores and first-year master's students will take at least one English-taught course in 2024, and at least 10% of sophomores and first-year master's students will take at least two courses taught in English in 2030.

According to Lyih-Peir Luo (羅麗蓓), director of NCNU's Language Teaching and Research Center, the number of teachers who can teach in English accounts for 35.16% of full-time faculty at NCNU. Approximately 50% of faculty have global mobility experience, international knowledge, and English/foreign language skills. Coupled with the existing all-English curriculum reward system, English-only teaching professionals' networking groups, and the implementation of the overseas EMI teacher training program at top international universities, NCNU's teaching structure has the capacity and potential to promote a bilingual curriculum.

President Dong-Sing Wuu (武東星) points out that NCNU has further outlined a framework for future implementation and promotion based on the solid foundation of this bilingual curriculum. The vision of the program is "cultivating students' English ability, strengthening teachers' EMI teaching capability, and moving towards an international university". In response to Taiwan's southbound policy, NCNU's Center for Southeast Asian Language Education was established several years ago, and NCNU has had a comprehensive Southeast Asian teaching and research system for more than 20 years, actively engaged in Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian language training, and an all-around program for cultivating professionals of Southeast Asian language education in Taiwan.

In response to the bilingualism policy, NCNU is quickly reorganizing the space of its language center. The second floor of the school's best library will be transformed into a new language center and learning classrooms to create an all-English physical space to improve college students' English skills and international competitiveness. At the same time, NCNU will cultivate and attract EMI teachers and strengthen its breadth and depth as an internationalized university.

Professor Li-Ju Shiu (許麗珠) of Department of Foreign Languages and Literature stated that NCNU foreign language teachers have been dedicated to improving students' foreign language skills for many years. Recently, teachers have been actively involved in the professional teachers' social networking groups, striving to reform English curriculum plans and encouraging and guiding students to use technology (for example, VR and AR applications) to aid foreign language learning. At the same time, students are encouraged to take the initiative to learn foreign languages and to increase their self-motivation for learning. In terms of the future, NCNU is ready to move forward with the promotion of bilingualism policies.

Student Yi-Xuan Lee (李宜璇) stated that since enrollment, every time she registered for courses, she noticed that the university offered more English-taught courses she could choose from. In its bilingualism learning plan, the university intends to promote EMI from the perspectives of teachers, students, and administration, as well as through the space itself. It is hoped that the university can effectively improve students' English skills and interest or willingness to take English-taught courses under the implementation of relevant strategies to gradually establish a bilingual campus environment and initiate this key step toward immersive learning.

 

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