Education in Taiwan
|Ministry of Education|
|Minister of Education||Wu Se-hwa|
|National education budget (2003)|
|Budget||NT$ 608.6 billion (US$ 20 billion)|
|Primary languages||Mandarin, some instruction in Holo (Taiwanese), Hakka, various aboriginal languages and English|
|1Ministry of Education website
3Includes junior colleges
The educational system in Taiwan is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education of Republic of China (commonly known as "Taiwan"). The system in the ROC produces pupils with some of the highest test scores in the world, especially in mathematics and science. It has been criticised for placing excessive pressure on students and eschewing creativity in favour of rote memorization. Recent educational reforms intended to address these criticisms are a topic of intense debate in Taiwan. Although current law mandates only nine years of schooling, 95% of students go on to high school, trade school or college. President Ma announced in January 2011 that the government would begin the phased implementation of a twelve-year compulsory education program by 2014.
The literacy rate in 2002 was 96.1%.
- 1 Public education
- 2 School grades
- 3 Education system
- 4 Primary Education
- 5 Secondary education
- 6 Higher education
- 6.1 University
- 6.2 Junior colleges
- 6.3 Technical institutes
- 6.4 Graduate school
- 6.5 Similarities with universities in Mainland China
- 7 Private education
- 8 Chinese as a second language
- 9 English cram schools
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The public education system in Taiwan spans nursery schools through university. Public education has been compulsory from primary school through junior high school since 1968. In 2001 roughly 16% of the central budget was spent on education. In January 2011, President Ma announced plans to implement a full twelve-year compulsory education program by 2014. In addition, financial support for preschool education would begin, starting with fee waivers.
Access to high school and university is controlled by a series of national exams. Discipline in public schools of all levels is generally very tight with school uniforms and morning reveille being the norm. Students of all levels through high school are responsible for cleaning their own classrooms and areas around the school, cleanup time being a daily ritual. Corporal punishment is officially banned, but many reports suggest it is still practiced by many teachers, due in no small part to the fact that most parents support it.
The school year consists of two semesters. The fall semester begins in early September and runs till late January or early February. Winter vacation typically runs from two to three weeks around the Lunar New Year. Spring semester begins following the Lantern Festival in mid February and ends in early June. From middle school on, many schools hold "optional supplementary classes" during winter and summer vacation as well as after normal school hours. Despite the name, in many cases participation is compulsory. The language of instruction is Mandarin.
The school year is divided into two semesters. The first begins in the beginning of September and ends in February; the second begins in March and ends in August.
|Junior high school|
|Senior high school|
|Tertiary education (College or University)||Ages vary (usually four years,
referred to as Freshman,
Sophomore, Junior and
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
university of technology
university of technology
|Institute of continuing education||16|
|Vocational school of continuing education||14|
|18||Senior high school||Senior vocational school||Vocational senior high school of
|Senior high school of
|15||Junior high school||Junior high school of
|Night junior high school||9|
|12||Elementary school||Elementary school of
|Night elementary school||6|
|Age||Normal education||Special education||Continuing education||Grade/
Elementary schools span grades 1 through 6, classes are held from Monday through Friday, typically from 7:30 AM through 4PM (or noon on Wednesdays). Subjects include:
- Mandarin: The official language of instruction.
- Mathematics: Mathematics education begins with the basics and reaches introductory algebra and geometry by the 6th grade.
- Science: Comprehensive science classes covering basic biology, physics, and chemistry.
- English: English is a compulsory subject within the mainstream school system from Grade 3 Elementary School and up.
- Native languages: Additional language classes in Taiwanese and Hakka are offered.
- Social studies
Like middle schools, students are typically assigned to the elementary school closest to their registered place of residence. This leads some parents to file their children's household registration with other relatives or friends for the purpose of sending their children to what are perceived as better schools.
Junior high school
Junior high school spans grades 7 through 9 and is the last half of compulsory education. Unlike the slower pace of elementary school, junior high students typically have a single goal in life: to score high on the national senior high school entrance exams at the end of 9th grade. Consequently, the pressure on students from teachers and parents is intense, because there will be only one test per year. Though instruction officially ends around 5PM, students often stay in school till as late as 8 or 9PM for "extra classes" (which typically consist of extra quizzes and review).
Subject matter covered includes:
- Literature: Classical and modern Chinese literature and poetry, composition and public speaking.
- Mathematics: Covers single and two variable algebra, geometry, proofs, trigonometry, and pre-calculus.
- English: Contains essential English grammar
- Science & Technology
- Biology: Taken during first year, includes more in depth studies and lab work.
- Chemistry: Taken during second year. More rigorous introduction to atoms, molecule, and chemical reactions, including lab work.
- Physics: Taken during third year. More rigorous introduction to physical laws and equations, including lab work.
- Earth Science: Taken during third year.
- Technology: Taken during the whole three years. Introduce some basic technology in daily life.
- Social Studies
- Civics: Basic demotics, politics, and economics.
- History: Focus on the history of Taiwan and China during the first two years, and world history during third year.
- Geography: Contain introductive geography accompanied with geography of Taiwan during first year, geography of China and East Asia during second year, and the world geography during third year.
- Home economics & crafts
- Art: Inclusive of three independent parts: Fine Art, Music, and Drama.
- Scout education: Outdoor survival skills.
At the end of their third year, students participate in the national senior high school entrance exams and are assigned to senior high schools based upon their scores. Students may also participate in a separate national vocational school entrance exam if they wish to attend vocational school. In both cases, public schools are usually the most popular while private schools have traditionally been viewed as a backup for those unable to score high enough for public schools.
Roughly 94.7% of junior high school students continue on to senior high or vocational school.
Senior high school
Senior high school spans grades 10 through 12, again the main goal of students is to score highly on the national university entrance exams at the end of their third year. The pace is just as, if not more intense than junior high school.
Discipline in educational institutions from high school and up (including vocational schools) are the responsibility of military officers stationed at the individual schools (as opposed to elementary and junior high school where teachers and school administrators were responsible for discipline). In addition to the normal subjects, students are also required to attend a military education class covering issues such as civil defense, military drills, national defense, and basic firearms. In the past, high (and vocational) school students were expected to take on civil defense duties in the event of national emergency. Boys and girls were trained to fire arms and hurl grenades.
In many high schools incoming students may select science or liberal arts tracks depending on where their interests lie. The different learning tracks are commonly referred to as groups. Group I consists of liberal arts students, Group II and Group III of science based students (the latter studies biology as an additional subject). Science based curriculum consists of more rigorous science and mathematics classes intended to prepare the student for a career in the sciences and engineering; the liberal arts track places a heavier emphasis on literature and social studies to prepare students for a future in those fields. Often, students in Group I are exempted to study science even if they wish to, and students in Group II are not required to take geography, civics and history.
Entrance to university is administered via two methods: Recommendations or Examination. For those that participate in recommendations, they have to take a national academic exam and selecting a list of majors that they are applying to. The first stage is a screening of exam results for eligibility, the second stage would be dependent on the conditions of individual departments selected. For those that did not choose to take the recommendations process, or failed their applications, they have the choice to participate in the national university entrance exams after graduation in hopes of university admission.
Vocational schools are three-year institutions similar to normal senior high schools. Unlike normal senior high schools, they place a heavier emphasis on practical and vocational skills. Incoming students typically choose a single concentration, such as electrical engineering, civil engineering, computer science or business. Some specialized vocational schools also offer programs in seamanship and agriculture. Vocational school graduates may also participate in the national university entrance exams. It is not uncommon for students to select vocational school over high school and proceed to a four-year college afterwards.
There are over 100 institutions of higher education in Taiwan. Roughly 2/3 of the over 100,000 students taking the national university entrance exams are accepted to a higher educational institution. Since the 1990s many trade schools and junior colleges have been "promoted" to university status, which can account for the high university entrance rates. Nonetheless, a high score is desired as an admission criterion to the socially or economically prestigious institutions.
Taiwan has many universities, both public and private. Tuition is less expensive in public universities than in private universities, like in most western countries. Many public universities receive financial support from the government for research purposes. In terms of public resources and expenses for higher education, both used to be incentives for students when they are choosing between public and private universities after their high school education.
However, some departments of public schools are no longer better than those of private schools, as there is an imbalance in the support they receive for the school development policy. Nowadays some private schools are strongly supported by the College Council, which consists of prosperous commercial groups or religious bodies (such as Fu Jen Catholic University, Tzu Chi University). Most private schools have been established around a specific academic field and have become known for specializing in that area. Presently, students will apply for the schools that have higher academic achievement in their chosen field.
Engineering is extremely popular and engineering degrees account for over a quarter of the bachelor degrees awarded in Taiwan. It is also related to future employment opportunities because of the government policy focusing on high-tech manufacturing industries. See also: Engineering education in Taiwan
Some of the highly regarded public universities in Taiwan include (by QS World University Rankings):
- National Taiwan University: Taiwan's most recognized and comprehensive public research university. Distinguished programs in humanities and sciences, with programs in law, medicine and engineering representing particular strengths. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited.
- National Taiwan Normal University: Prestigious in its education, fine arts, liberal arts, music, and natural science programs. It is the leading institute in teacher training, and is best known internationally for its Mandarin Training Center.
- National Tsing Hua University: Distinguished programs in sciences and engineering, including physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science and engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, nuclear engineering with Tsing Hua Open-pool Reactor (THOR) while trying to close gap on MIT with MIT Nuclear Research Reactor and University of Manchester with Universities Research Reactor, also reputed in electrical engineering, computer science, life sciences, linguistics and history in recent years.
- National Chiao Tung University: Best known for programs in electrical engineering, computer science, and management science. Neighboring the IT-driven Hsinchu Science Park. Has a long-standing rivalry with NTHU since the inception of both schools. Also had a reputation as "male-dominant" school in the past. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited.
- National Central University: Site of the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research.
- National Chengchi University: Specializes in management,communication and politics. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited.
- National Yang-Ming University: Distinguished programs in medicine and life science.
- National Cheng Kung University: Best known for engineering, medicine, science programs. One of only two higher ranking universities along with Tamkang University in Taiwan that offer aerospace engineering program while trying to close gap with Caltech (JPL) by NASA and NASA infrastructure facilities. There is a possible bright future with private spaceflight working for privately owned non-governmental spaceflight companies or later on at NSPO.
- National Sun Yat-sen University: Distinguished programs in oceanography, computer science, optoelectronics, nanotechnology, political science, sociology and business management programs. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited.
The largest and best known private university in Taiwan is the Fu Jen Catholic University . Fu Jen is best known for programs Foreign Languages and Literatures, Law, Business Management (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited), Theology, Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Communication. It is notable for having established the first graduate-level program in Conference Interpreting in Taiwan. The student body also consists of many international students.
In contrast with junior high and high school, where students are pressured by the highly selective entrance exams, college life in Taiwan is generally seen as being rather relaxed. Graduate degrees from the U.S. and Europe are also highly prized with many students applying to foreign graduate schools after completing university (though the number has declined somewhat in recent years). An average of 13000 university graduates per year choose to pursue graduate studies in the U.S.
Founded by Japanese government (1895-1945)
|Year||School name||Original name|
|1911||National Chung Hsing University||Advanced Academy of Agronomy and Forestry|
|1922||National Taiwan Normal University||Taihoku College|
|1928||National Taiwan University||Taihoku Imperial University|
|1931||National Cheng Kung University||Tainan Technical College|
Teaching Excellence Universities Award
The Ministry of Education in Taiwan started the Teaching Excellence Universities Award in 2006. Since the beginning of this award, only six universities have earned this honor every year.
Medical school in Taiwan begins as an undergraduate major and lasts seven years (six years for dentistry), with the final two years being hands on training at a teaching hospital. Graduates of medical school may elect to continue on to graduate school to pursue a doctoral degree.
Law school (College of Law)
Like medicine, law school is selected as an undergraduate major and lasts four years.
Most higher educational institutions offering programs in education. Such programs run four years, in addition to a half-year internship, with students receiving teaching credentials at the end of the program. They also have to take extra test for being a teacher in public school. While currently education programs are available in most institutes of tertiary education, prospective teachers typically go to a "university of education" if they want to teach primary school, and a "normal university" for secondary school. One exception is National Changhua University of Education, which, like normal universities, is renowned for its dedication to cultivating secondary school teachers.
Teachers' In-service Advancement Education Information & Resources
With the implementation of reformation of education policy in Taiwan, in order to integrate the resources of teachers' in-service advancement education and to encourage teachers to participate in the in-service advancement education activities positively, the Ministry of Education established 12 regional teacher's in-service advancement education centers in 2003. The National Kaohsiung Normal University (NKNU) was chosen as the general coordinator and was responsible for setting up, managing the Nationwide Teacher In-Service Education Information Web.
The Nationwide Teacher In-Service Education Information Web provides teachers with a communication platform for in-service teacher advancement education in Taiwan. That is to encourage teachers to have a continuous growth in teaching. The information of advancement activities and teachers’ participation records are showed by digital platform.
This network provides activities and individual’s learning records for K-12 teachers. This database-technology platform is in an electronic format to record teacher's training progress and learning time. It establishes a regulating mechanism to integrate educational and administrative resources from education institutions and local authorized educational authorities respectively. That is for fulfilling the ideals of educational reform in an effective way.
The purposes of Nationwide Teacher In-service Advancement Education Information Web are as follows:
- To provide a platform about in-service education information for teachers teaching in K-12 schools. It also has the information about validate training hours and training records in electronic format, etc. It will enable teachers from all over the country to review their whole lifelong training records and will help promote the policies about teachers’ in-service advancement education.
- To establish a regulating mechanism for integrate educational and administrative resources from education institutions and local authorized educational authorities. It will help training organizations to plan training activities and programs that are meet the needs of teachers who participate in the in-service education.
- To supply course information and requests, and to open different training options and ways for teachers. It will be a great help for administrators in policy making and teachers can get trainings nearby.
- To provide in-service advancement education consultation and communication channels for teachers. It will solve teachers’ problems effectively and increase the opportunities of receiving suggestions.
- To supply records in teachers’ training detail for education organizations, establish a frame of reference with educational policy-making, and fulfill the needs of educational reform.
Junior colleges can be classified into 5-year junior colleges and 2-year junior colleges according to entry requirement. Since 2004, they offer associate degrees under Article 29 of the Junior College Law. Graduates may continue on to a 2-year technical institute, transfer to a (4-year) university, or enter the workforce.
5-year junior colleges
Students enter five-year junior colleges after graduating junior high school and passing a national exam. The curriculum is similar to that of vocational schools with the exception that 5-year junior colleges run for two additional years.
2-year junior colleges
Two-year junior colleges offer advanced vocational training for graduates of vocational or senior high schools.
Taiwan offers two types of technical institutes each targeted at a specific age group.
2-year technical institutes
Two-year technical institutes offer vocational training for graduates of junior colleges.
4-year technical institutes
4-year technical institutes typically accept senior high and vocational school graduates, and offer in depth job and vocational training.
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Similarities with universities in Mainland China
Many universities in Taiwan were originally established in Mainland China before the retreat of the ROC government from Mainland to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War. Some of the universities who were originally established in the Mainland were reestablished in Taiwan. To avoid ambiguity, the ROC government added the National word in front of those universities in Taiwan to differentiate them with the ones in Mainland.
|Year||Universities in Taiwan||Year||Universities in Mainland China|
|1951||Soochow University||1900||Soochow University|
|1956||National Tsing Hua University||1911||Tsinghua University|
|1958||National Chiao Tung University||1896||Shanghai Jiao Tong University|
|1980||National Sun Yat-sen University||1924||Sun Yat-sen University|
|1995||National Chi Nan University||1906||Jinan University|
Private educational institutions are pervasive in Taiwan ranging from private schools at all levels to supplementary cram schools or buxiban.
With the intense pressure placed on students to achieve by parents, many students enroll in private after-school classes intended to supplement their regular education. These cram schools are an extremely large (and profitable) business in Taiwan and have been criticized by some as being the result of cultural overemphasis on academic achievement. Popular subjects in cram schools include English, mathematics, and the natural sciences. Test prep classes are also popular amongst junior and senior high school students.
Classes are generally very orderly and controlled, with class sizes as high as 200 or so students in some well-known institutions. The quality of cram schools varies considerably. Some of the larger schools and chains write their own programs and produce their own textbooks.
Kindergartens and preschool
While many public kindergartens and preschools exist in Taiwan, private kindergartens and preschools are also quite popular. Many private preschools offer accelerated courses in various subjects to compete with public preschools and capitalize on public demand for academic achievement. Curriculum at such preschools often encompasses subject material such as science, art, physical education and even mathematics classes. The majority of these schools are part of large school chains, which operate under franchise arrangements. In return for annual fees, the chain enterprises may supply advertising, curriculum, books, materials, training, and even staff for each individual school.
There has been a huge growth in the number of privately owned and operated English immersion preschools in Taiwan since 1999. These English immersion preschools generally employ native English speaking teachers to teach the whole preschool curriculum in an ‘English only’ environment. The legality of these types of schools has been called into question on many occasions, yet they continue to prosper. Some members of Taiwanese society have raised concerns as to whether local children should be placed in English immersion environments at such a young age, and have raised fears that the students abilities in their mother language may suffer as a result. The debate continues, but at the present time, the market for English Immersion Preschools continues to grow.
Chinese as a second language
Taiwan has long been and, with the growing popularity of learning Chinese, a destination for learning the language.
English cram schools
There is a large industry (cram schools) of teaching English that recruits teachers from English speaking countries. Many students go to cram schools in the evenings and on weekends, in an effort to increase their test scores.
- Academia Sinica
- Taiwanese studies
- Gender Equity Education Act (Taiwan)
- History of education in Taiwan
- Institute of Engineering Education Taiwan
- National Education Radio
- Academic disciplines and sub-disciplines (diploma)
- Engineering education in Taiwan
- Vocational disciplines (certification)
- "TIMSS Math 2003".
- "TIMSS Science 2003".
- "Talk of the day -- Taiwan's education to enter new era". Focus Taiwan News Channel. 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Junior College Law" (in traditional Chinese). 10 July 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.
- "Introduction - Educational System". Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan). 24 October 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- ROC Ministry of Education
- The History of the Ministry of Education
- Study in Taiwan - Commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan
- University of Oregon - Study Abroad Programs at Taipei, National Taiwan University
- David on Formosa - International students in Taiwan
- Taiwan looks to double numbers of overseas Mandarin students
- Foreign student numbers almost double since 2007
- TaiWan Advanced Research & Education Network (TWAREN) - run by the National Center for High-Performance Computing
- The Nationwide Teacher In-Service Education Information Web