It Is Not The Local Government’s Business

Over those years, the big gap between the advanced English learners and poor learners in Taiwan has become a serious problem. Last week the Taipei County government released a news that all the public elementary schools in the county would extend the school hours on the Wednesdays for extra English lessons. The intention of helping the students to learn English was good. However, the government didn’t know that the drawbacks of the new policy would outweigh the benefits gained by students and parents. The problem is that once the new policy is implemented, the students will have no choice but stay in school for another long day which currently is the only short day of the week. Students not only would have to give up some activities they already planned for, but they also have to endure more boring lessons because the lessons are not tailored for different levels. Besides, how can the schools find teachers for the extra English lessons while the teachers are already overloaded?

It is good for the government to make changes, but it won’t be good for its people if the policy is not made carefully. Besides, the local government doesn’t even know what the real problems are in English education. The election for the new magistrate is coming, and the local government should not fool its people with any unrealistic promise. It is not local government’s business to tell people how to learn English. Instead, politicians should let the educators and parents decide what is the best for children.

Bih-Hua Chen
May 16, 2010