Promoting the Recovery and Preservation of the Hakka Language

As a means to preserve Hakka traditional culture, ten basic Hakka language proficiency tests were held from 2005 to 2015, which passed and certified 58,505 examinees. An additional seven intermediate and high-intermediate Hakka language proficiency tests were held from 2008 to 2015, in which 25,863 examinees passed the intermediate level and 11,162 passed the high-intermediate tests. There were 95,530 examinees in total who passed the Hakka language proficiency and certification tests.
The Hakka Affairs Council issued “Guidelines of Scholarship Awarding for Elementary School and Junior High School Students with Distinguished Hakka Proficiency” on November 20, 1999 in effort to increase elementary school and junior high school students’ interest in the Hakka language and encourage students to take Hakka language proficiency tests. From January 1, 2000, elementary school and junior high school students who passed Hakka language proficiency tests have been awarded scholarships. Students are awarded NT$1,000 for receiving basic level certification, NT$5,000 for intermediate certification, and NT$10,000 for high-intermediate certification. Since 2012, high school and vocational school students and above (excluding adult students) are also eligible for the scholarships. In addition, school faculty who have an outstanding performance on the Hakka language proficiency test will be given merit or even rewards. Incentives will be awarded to encourage Masters of Hakka Cultural Heritage Arts who have had an outstanding performance when guiding students to pass Hakka certification exams. Examinees under the age of 19 will have their registration fee waived (only subject to the NT$150 fee for document processing). Civil servants and school faculty who have passed Hakka language proficiency tests will also be awarded. All the above-mentioned measures are in effort to motivate and encourage people of all walks of life to take Hakka language proficiency exams.
The 2015 Digital Basic Hakka Language Proficiency Test took place on September 12 and 20, and the exam results were released on October 23. In total, 5,261 examinees passed the exam, 4,379 of which were students who accounted for 77.9% of those who passed the exam. The 2015 Intermediate and High-intermediate Hakka Language Proficiency Tests were held on November 22, and the test results were released on January 15, 2015. A total of 5,278 people applied for the test and 3,050 examinees passed. 2,440 people passed the intermediate level, and 610 passed the high-intermediate level. People who passed the high-intermediate level certification are eligible to apply for teaching assistant certification for Hakka language courses in elementary and junior high schools through their county (city) government. Additionally, those who pass can apply for certification of “Masters of Hakka Cultural Heritage Arts”. Once completing the certification, people can apply for a grant from the Hakka Affairs Council to establish Hakka language tutorial institutes to create a comprehensive Hakka-language learning environment.
The Hakka Affairs Council has organized the first-ever "Yoyo Language Certification" program for Hakka language proficiency for children aged five to six years old in effort to establish a foundation for Hakka language learning. The program uses interactive games to test children’s Hakka listening and speaking skills. In 2012, 3,024 children registered for the program and 2,439 passed and were certified. In 2013, more exam rooms have been set up to assist the examination process. This year, 3,713 children registered for the test, and 3,382 passed the test. In 2014, 5,010 children registered for the test, and 4,570 passed the test. In 2015, 5,548 children registered for the test, and 5,007 passed the test.
The Hakka Affairs Council now is arranging and organizing digital basic Hakka language proficiency tests to continue their language preservation efforts. This will allow more people to take the exams, examination time will be shortened, the number of exams will be increased, paper will be reduced, and the cost of the exam will greatly decrease. People who are interested in the Hakka language can search for tests online anytime. In May 2013, the online certification “100 Hakka Sentences” was released for people to learn 100 basic Hakka sentences online anytime, anywhere—even people living abroad can get certification online.