August 23, 2022—CIP Minister Icyang met with elementary school students who passed the intermediate and advanced levels in the Indigenous Language Proficiency Test today and gave them awards for their achievement. In addition to rewarding their academic performance, he also listened to them share their experience in learning their own tribal language.
Among the examinees who took the Indigenous Language Proficiency Test on April 23rd, 249 passed the intermediate or advanced level. The majority of these were adults aged thirty and above; however, six were elementary school students. Viewing them as models for indigenous language learning, CIP Minister Icyang paid a personal visit to the students and their parents in the hope that this commendation would encourage more young students to learn their own tribal language.
Minister Icyang stated that proficiency in indigenous languages is extremely beneficial to one’s educational and career advancement. The Indigenous Language Proficiency Test not only gives students a better chance of admission to upper secondary and tertiary education institutes, but is also important or even required for studying abroad, government-sponsored student teachers, and indigenous public service job applications. Holders of advanced level certification can also act as indigenous language teachers and news anchors. According to statistics, the CIP has created 4,600 employment opportunities for certified speakers of indigenous languages.
Since November 25, 2021, Minister Icyang has presided over the monthly national executive meeting of the CIP ten consecutive times in the Amis language. Today, on August 25, six executives presented their reports in their own languages, which included Tsou, Atayal, Seediq, Paiwan, and Rukai. Simultaneous interpreting in 7 indigenous languages was conducted at the meeting per United Nations conference specifications, making this meeting a spearhead for the promotion of the inclusion of indigenous languages in national government agencies.
The Indigenous Languages Development Act promulgated in 2017 states that all indigenous languages are considered national languages of Taiwan and stipulates that “the central and local competent authorities shall actively promote the use of indigenous languages in families, tribes, workplaces, gatherings, and public spaces.” Therefore, since February 22, 2020, Minister Icyang has had the honor of using indigenous languages in speeches and reports at important meetings and events, including occasions on which the President and Premier were both present, and even in international seminars. Most notable was his report given in his native Amiss language in the Legislative Yuan on October 13, 2021, which marked the first such instance in the national assembly.
Minister Icyang stated that administrative agencies should lead the way and set a good example to assist the private sector in promoting and creating a social climate in which everyone freely speaks their national language. The CIP not only uses simultaneous interpretation into indigenous languages in the Executive Yuan Council, but for the first time, they have also been used in written meeting documents. In the future, the CIP will set up text templates for 16 indigenous languages for official conference agendas as a reference for Taiwan’s indigenous agencies and actively foster the use of indigenous languages in officialdom. When indigenous languages are revitalized as languages of everyday, the resources invested by the government will take on greater meaning and value.