Although Taiwan produces some of the most accomplished students in the world, its educational system is not without shortcomings. Education in Taiwan continues to be a subject of discourse; these nine facts can help you better understand the situation.
- Tensions over statehood manifest at every level of education in Taiwan. Because Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China, the central educational authority in Taiwan is the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China.
- The education system is run by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. It consists of basic elementary education, junior high school and senior secondary education.
- The official language of instruction is Mandarin Chinese.
- The literacy rate among Taiwanese people age 15 and above was 98.5 percent as of 2014.
- Compared to the rest of the world, students who graduate from the educational system in Taiwan achieve some of the highest scores on an international level. Comparatively, these students excel in mathematics and science. However, it has been proposed that there is too far great a focus on memorization in the educational system and a lack of creative instruction.
- Taiwan has a testing-oriented education system, which also poses several issues. Standardized test results have recently demonstrated the shortcomings of this system. In 2006, only 4.7 percent of Taiwan students were reading at the highest level, according to the Program for International Student Assessment. The studies suggest that students are without the ability to read or think critically.
- In 2014, the Ministry of Education implemented reforms that included adding three years of compulsory education in secondary schools. This was in response to the aforementioned criticisms of the previous system.
- The reforms included “exam-free” pathways to secondary schools, a less restrictive curriculum, subsidies for students from disadvantaged homes and making arts education available to all students, among others.
- Population decline poses a real threat to the Taiwan’s higher education sector. By 2023, the number of predicted student enrollments in higher education is projected to drop by a third. This will also have implications for the higher education sector of Taiwan in the globalized education market.
Education in Taiwan continues to progress, especially towards targeting areas that it is less proficient in. With the added focus on reading, arts and creativity, along with less pressure to score high on exams, Taiwan is working to ensure that its educational system meets the needs of all its students.
– Melanie Snyder