Editorial; English Education

Article excerpt

We should take it as a serious point of reference, if not lesson, the Japanese government's move to adopt English as a second official language along with other steps to meet the needs of the new millennium and 21st century

Tokyo emphasizes that the Japanese need to use English as a second language if they are willing to adapt themselves to the 21st century's era of global information and cultural exchanges featuring the use of the Internet and multimedia.

However, answering a question at his New Year's press conference last Wednesday, President Kim Dae-jung said his government has not yet considered the idea of adopting English as a second official language, though he stressed the importance of English in the Internet age. Kim's remarks may be regarded as a reflection of Korea's conservative or nationalist emotion against the official use of English.

Yet, the nation should take note of the stark reality that English accounts for 95 percent of all Internet content and 78 percent of the homepages in the international community. Thus, the language is virtually in public use worldwid , whether one likes it or not.

Under these circumstances, it is wise that we should learn to use English as a second, practical language more efficiently to strengthen our international competitiveness and meet the global standards in terms of language. In this age, the business community's difficulty in communicating with foreigners using English often leads to failed trade negotiations. The poor quality of English also results in great disadvantages in the formation of public opinion in the international community. …