Jul 31, 2018

Taiwan: Indigenous Language Centers to Open at Seven Universities

In an attempt to spark interest in indigenous languages in Taiwan, the Council of Indigenous People and a number of universities are joining forces to open indigenous language centers, with the aim of reversing the trend of declining native language skills. Amongst older generations, knowledge of indigenous languages is quite high, while with younger generations it is startlingly low. The opening of such language centers is but one of many steps to promote indigenous language since the passing of the Languages Development Act that came into effect in June 2017.

The article below was published by Focus Taiwan

 The Council of Indigenous People (CIP) and seven universities are set to launch teacher training courses to certify that there are at least 210 teachers of languages of Taiwan's indigenous tribes, the council said recently.

The decline in the native language skills of indigenous people, especially among younger generations, has made it imperative for the CIP to nurture teachers of the languages and make learning them more accessible, CIP chief Icyang Parod said in a statement on Tuesday [10 July 2018].

Indigenous people above the age of 60 are able to speak their language of origin well, but native language proficiency among people aged 40-60 has deteriorated, and the proficiency of people younger than 40 is worrisome, Icyang Parod said.

The CIP has decided to collaborate with universities in seven different parts of the country to set up indigenous language centers to train teachers and spur public interest in learning indigenous tongues, the statement said.

Under the Indigenous Languages Development Act that took effect in June 2017, indigenous people who participate in national exams for civil servant positions limited to them and for grants to study abroad will be required to have certification of indigenous languages three years from when the act took effect, or by June 2020.

The legislation also requires civil servants in positions related to indigenous affairs, who do not have language certification, to study indigenous languages every year for a specific number of hours as determined by the CIP.

Photo courtesy of Manuel QC@ Flickr