Taiwan, Go! Go! Go!

I was sitting next to a governor in a southern province in China. It was the forth city I visited on this trip and the forth person who showed interest in my work. They all asked me whether I could help them with English education for young children. They said that it is the goal for their government to prepare the young generation for the global village and learning English is necessary.

A few months ago, I was sitting in a meeting which was held by the Ministry of Education in Taipei. The professors they invited strongly voiced how much harm the young children would get if they started learning English at a young age. They urged the government to take strong steps to stop private schools teaching English to young children. One reason they added was that the gap between the disadvantaged students and the well-achieved students would be widen and the government shouldn’t let it happen.

I was flattered with the compliments the Chinese government officials made on my work, but I was not sure that I should take any offers. On this trip I met quite a few tycoons who came from Taiwan originally but now consider China their home. The business kingdoms they built in China are incredibly successful and their education and experience in Taiwan attributed to their success. China was like a sleeping lion in the past, but it is awake now. I can’t imagine where the Taiwanese people can stand one day when the young Chinese generation grows up with bilingual ability.

Taiwan is losing its competition while the government stifles. Most government officials I met on this trip were in their thirties or forties, they were ambitious and innovative. Most words I heard in the meetings were: ‘We are allowed to do anything as long as it is not forbidden in the law.’ On the contrary, in Taiwan we are not allowed to do anything if it is not written in the law, and the worst thing is the law hasn’t been up dated.

It takes 20 years to prepare a child for the future world. I can’t imagine what will happen when Taiwanese children grow up. They probably will only work for their Chinese counterparts because they will have the skills that the world citizens require.

Taiwan, Go! Go! Go!

Bih-Hua Chen
September 5, 2009