Under the Tân Chúi-píⁿ (Chen Shui-bian) administration (2000-2008), a one-hour per week mother-tongue class was added in the elementary school. But that is not enough. Information and knowledge must be taught in other languages. Works must be written and read in other languages for the languages to be preserved in this era.
"What are the most important factors in the survival and spread of a language? The crucial point is to sustain and grow the speaker community. This may be done by natural growth in a fertile environment -- which may be quite an exploitative and objectively ruthless process, if the environment has been obtained through conquest and dispossession. But it may also be achieved through taking over another advanced community, as French spread in the 18-19th-century Russian high society; there, competence in a new language, symbolic of interest in new developments, was no threat to the substrate language, Russian. Provided that their speaker populations stay physically robust, the only threat to a language comes from a decline in speaker attitudes toward it: speakers must associate it with a least some of their daily needs or higher aspirations..." (emphasis added) - Nicholas Ostler in an interview with the California Literary Review, 6/1/2005
Ethnic equality will only come through language equality. Until that happens, there will be an inexorable degradation and exponentially decreasing population of any cultures other than the current prestige language and culture in Taiwan.
Chi Chun-chieh, Associate Professor at the Institute of Ethnic Relations at National Dong Hwa University write on the issue in a recent opinion editorial.
What can be done since the KMT-controlled legislature is intransigent on this issue?
* Use non-government organizations to give respect, honor and prestige to the non-Mandarin language teachers in Taiwan.
* Encourage each non-Mandarin language-community to develop their own wikipedia language encyclopedia. There is already one for Hoklo Taiwanese.
* Organize students in mother-tongue classes and societies in upper elementary, middle, and high school to regularly add entries to both wikipedias and wiktionaries. (As these students see a result and a value, they will continue to pursues studies in their mother-tongues.)
* Develop video production student organizations to produce Youtube reports and video pieces in their non-Mandarin mother tongues. (N.G.O's could award prizes such as computers and video cameras and editing software to poor communities specifically for student-produced video material in the non-Mandarin mother-tongues of Taiwan.)
* Set-up publishing funds and prizes for non-Mandarin literature in Taiwan.
* Create non-Mandarin bloggers associations to cross link and encourage weekly blogging articles in the non-Mandarin languages of Taiwan.
* Set up joint non-profit mother-tongue language and cultural promotion offices around Taiwan. Have these offices to be provide libraries and also the available purchase of non-Mandarin mother-tongue language material -- video, audio, and printed matter. However large or small these offices are, special attention should be paid to the interior design to instill a high class, high culture, prestige to these languages that they will be valued.
* Create a nation-wide catalogue and online ordering center for non-Mandarin mother-tongue works.
* Christian churches need to also take responsibility, because they are one element of community-level organization. For the Christian population in Taiwan, translate the children's catechism (question & answer) from Mandarin and English into the non-Mandarin languages, In non-Mandarin churches around the nation, have part of the curriculum for the children to be catechism drills. They will learn both language and Bible teachings. For the youth, help them learn and encourage singing and Bible reading in the mother-tongue.