In Taiwan’s current education system, students may study for up to 20 years, which includes six years of primary school education, three years of junior high school education, three years of senior high school education, four years of bachelor education, one to four years for a master’s degree, and two to seven years for a doctoral degree.
In the past, preschool education consisted of “kindergartens” and “child care centers,” which were under the jurisdiction of different competent authorities. Since 2012, kindergartens and child care centers have been consolidated into preschool, and children from the age of two to pre-elementary school are able to receive comprehensive education and care. The combination of preschool education and care into one administrative system allows for a strategy that centers on children and prioritizes children’s welfare.
The nine-year compulsory education system, of which six years are for primary education and three years are for junior high school, was put into effect in SY1968. In order to offer more diverse development opportunities for junior high school students, technical education is included as well, in addition to the regular curriculum. Practical classes allow students to better understand vocational education and their future career choices.
■Senior High School Education
Senior high school education consists of three years of schooling and includes “general senior high schools,” “skill-based senior high schools,” “comprehensive senior high schools,” and “specialty-based senior high schools.”
■Junior College Education
Junior college education can be classified according to admission requirements into five-year junior colleges and two-year junior colleges. Five-year junior colleges admit graduates of junior high schools, whereas two-year junior colleges admit graduates of skill-based senior high schools.
The teacher education system is comprised of diversified, well-resourced, and selecting methods. Teachers who teach in preschools, primary schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools are trained in universities that cultivate teachers. These institutions are also responsible for providing professional development and guidance for local educators. As of February 1, 2018, the training of teachers uses qualification tests before conducting internships and selects a necessary number of students through exams with just the right qualities, thus implementing an education training system.
■University, College and Graduate School Education
The maximum study period for bachelor’s degree candidates (including universities, colleges, universities of science and technology, and technical colleges) is four years (the Post-bachelor Second Specialty Program is one to two years, while the two-year bachelor’s degree program is usually two years), and internships can last half a year to two years depending on the needs of the subject. For master’s degree candidates, the study period is limited to one to four years, and for doctoral degree candidates the range is two to seven years.
Pre-tertiary level special education is divided into three stages: preschool, compulsory education, and senior high school education. The special education stages provide education at corresponding stages and schools providing special education may set up special education classes. Independent special education schools may also be built to accommodate students with multiple disabilities that require special support. To best meet the educational needs of special education students, the education stages, assignment students to classes and grades, settings and ways of implementing education, courses, teaching materials, and teaching and assessment methods must always incorporate flexibility. And adaptability, individualization, socialization, accessibility, and inclusion must all be part of providing special education and associated service measures.
The goals of arts education are to cultivate artistic talent, enrich the spiritual lives of citizens, and elevate cultural levels. Arts education in Taiwan can be divided into professional arts education offered at schools, general arts education offered at schools, and arts education offered to the public.
Supplementary education aim to supplement citizens’ factual knowledge about life, raise educational attainment, transfer practical skills, cultivate sound citizens, and help society to progress. This education system offers supplementary compulsory education, supplementary advanced education, and short-term tutorial education: all citizens who are past school age but have not received the nine years of basic education shall receive supplementary compulsory education. Citizens who did receive the nine-year basic education may receive supplementary advanced education. Those who wish to improve their factual knowledge and life skills can also receive short-term tutorial education.
To encourage educational innovation, in 2014 Taiwan enacted three laws governing its implementation. Schools can become schools providing school-based experimental education, and private entities can be commissioned to operate senior high and lower level public schools and provide experimental education in accordance with specific educational philosophies and develop programs without being subject to the constraints of the curriculum guidelines. Waldorf education is an example.
As well as education provided by schools, at senior high and lower level, non-school-based experimental education is an alternative to education. This may be in the form of individual experimental education, group-based experimental education, or institution-based experimental education. Graduates of experimental education programs receive a graduation diploma, or a certificate of completion of experimental education at the senior high level, documents that they will require to proceed to the next formal education stage.