Taiwan’s Bilingual 2030 Plan
Taiwan adopted a policy to become a bilingual English-Mandarin Chinese nation by 2030, with a particular focus on K-12 students and its civil service. While English is the dominant foreign language in Taiwan (taught from elementary schools and onwards), oral proficiency needs improvement, relative to reading and writing. Now is the opportune time for U.S. EdTech companies to enter the Taiwan market.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting temporary school closures disrupted Taiwan’s education sector. Specifically, school closures resulted in tremendous growth in online learning and “non-contact” services. A Taiwan-based think tank (MIC) reports EdTech industry growth of 34% in the first half of 2020, with 20% of firms reporting expanded partnerships and product offerings, particularly in VR, AR, MR, cloud platforms, and online conferencing. Taiwan’s economy excels in hardware technology, while U.S. EdTech companies’ world class solutions in digital content offer great potential for complimentary U.S.-Taiwan EdTech partnership opportunities.
Foreign teachers are scarce in Taiwan due to local regulation. Consequently, Taiwan seeks to leverage online and EdTech solutions to increase its number of bilingual teachers. Simultaneously, the government is increasing budget to the public sector, schools, and libraries to improve the public’s English proficiency. To achieve the “2030 Bilingual Nation” plan, the government allocated a total of US$361 million for the period 2021 to 2024. By budget allocation, the top areas of focus are the K-12 sector (US$234.26 million) and the higher education sector (US$90.1 million).
Attractive target sector opportunities exist for K-12, university-level, Taiwan’s civil service, and “lifelong learners”. Online companies that create supplement/alternative curriculum courses for after-school hours (K-12) taught in English may find foothold in Taiwan. The government’s new curriculum guidelines stress STEAM education and students’ independent thinking and problem-solving skills. Subsequently, companies which focus on combining coding with English-language exercises are in high demand. At the university-level and for “lifelong learners” (including improving English proficiency for civil servants), companies which create online courses in English that offer upskilling programs will find blue ocean opportunities in Taiwan.
For additional information contact the U.S. Commercial Service in Taiwan, Ann.Chen@trade.gov.