Chinese Taipei

Hwawei Ko
Yi-ling Chan
Graduate Institute of Learning and Instruction, National Central University

Language and Literacy

Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Taiwan, as well as the language of instruction for most subjects at all school levels. Other local languages include Taiwanese, Hakka, and aboriginal languages. Students from Grades 1 to 6 are required to study one local language spoken in Taiwan. Beginning in third grade, English is obligatory as well. High schools offer additional optional foreign language courses.1

As evidence of Taiwan’s emphasis on literacy, several initiatives have been implemented to promote reading and literacy. For example, the Ministry of Education in 2000 introduced the National Children’s Reading Project to emphasize the importance of reading development and children’s literature. Private sectors, including the Taiwan Reading and Culture Foundation, initiated the Philanthropic Library, which provides books for group reading in schools.2 Additionally, the Hsin-Yi Foundation introduced the Bookstart program in public libraries for children up to 3 years old.3 In 2011, the Ministry of Education began promoting Bookstart activities for all first grade students and set up a teacher in-service training program focused on reading instruction.4