Overseas Taiwan Schools – an Introduction
During the 1990s, the government's Go-South Policy prompted a number of Taiwanese businessowners and employees to move to Southeast Asia with their families. Their concern about providing their children with an education that would allow them to smoothly continue their schooling when they returned to Taiwan resulted in several Overseas Taiwan Schools being established. This was made possible through the fundraising efforts of local Taiwan business people along with government assistance.
Over time, six schools were established: two in Malaysia, two in India, and one each in Thailand, and Vietnam. The schools were centrally administered by Taiwan's Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission, in accordance with the Regulations Governing Overseas Chinese Schools, as are the more than 3,000 other overseas schools for overseas Chinese children located around the world. What sets these Overseas Taiwan Schools apart from the other overseas schools is that they concentrate their efforts on educating Taiwanese students in a way that will prepare them to continue their education in Taiwan.
For this reason, after an Executive Yuan review at the end of 1997, the following schools were then transferred to come under Ministry of Education jurisdiction from January 1, 1998: the Chinese Taipei School Penang: the Chinese Taipei School in Kuala Lumpur, the Jakarta Taipei School, Surabaya Taipei International School, the Thai–Chinese International School, and Ho Chi Minh City Taipei School. More funding to improve the quality of education provided by these Overseas Taiwan Schools became available from September 2016 under a special budget allocation, in accordance with the government’s New Southbound Policy.
2. School Operations
A.To alleviate the difficulties associated with establishing schools overseas, in February 2003 the Ministry of Education issued a revision of the Private School Law to provide a legal basis for establishing and clear guidelines for administering them. The Overseas Taiwan Schools were then categorized as private schools and in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Establishment of and Assistance for Overseas Taiwan Schools promulgated on March 7, 2005, these schools are carefully monitored to safeguard the basic rights of their students and teachers.
B. Overseas Taiwan Schools are administered by the Ministry of Education and their local overseas diplomatic missions, and they use the same curricula and teaching materials as schools in Taiwan to achieve the same teaching goals. The schools must apply the same standards and use the same curriculum guidelines that apply to a school in Taiwan at the same level and of an equivalent nature, in addition to following the local regulations. The textbooks and supplementary materials they use must have been compiled or approved by the Ministry of Education.
C. In order to provide high quality teaching environments, the Ministry promulgated the MOE Subsidy Directions for Screening Procedures Regarding Overseas Taiwan Schools and has assisted each of the Overseas Taiwan Schools to have permanent ownership of their buildings and campuses. Subsidies are available for specific purposes in line with its school development plan, and funding assistance is available to purchase teaching facilities and equipment, teaching materials, Chinese magazines and periodicals, and other extracurricular reading material that will assist them to provide an education that is in step with that provided by schools in Taiwan.
3. Current Situation
A. The Ministry currently administers four Overseas Taiwan Schools: the Chinese Taipei School in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, the Jakarta Taipei School, Surabaya Taipei International School, and Ho Chi Minh City Taipei School. The Thai-Chinese International School has not been included in the group of Overseas Taiwan Schools under the jurisdiction of the Ministry since February 1, 2006, because it was unable to comply with Taiwan’s curriculum standards. The Chinese Taipei School in Penang in Malaysia will close from August 1, 2019 because of reduced student numbers.
B. As well as students being required to study the curriculum prescribed for students in Taiwan, there is also a strong focus on teaching English and the local language(s). The schools offer an education that encompasses morality, knowledge, physical health, social interaction, and aesthetic sense, and a wide range of approaches to teaching and learning, to develop each student’s potential and to nurture healthy citizens with an international outlook.
C. Most of the teachers have been specially selected and sent from Taiwan. Some have taken a temporary transfer from their own schools in Taiwan, to work in these schools overseas because they consider this is an excellent opportunity for further personal and professional development. All the teachers are making an outstanding contribution, combining teaching with care for each of their students.
D The Ministry sent outstanding Alternative Military Service in Education personnel who had a Teacher’s Certificate to teach at Overseas Taiwan Schools to help alleviate their shortage of teachers and administrative staff, from January 31, 2002 until the end of 2018 when the policy was changed. By December 2018, a total of 242 Alternative Military Service personnel had provided education services in an Overseas Taiwan School.
E. To encourage Taiwanese students overseas to attend an Overseas Taiwan School and to assist students from disadvantaged families and those whose family experiences some unforeseen event to continue with their studies, the Ministry provides a subsidy of NTD$5,000 each semester for each Taiwanese student, and a range of other subsidies and scholarships are also available.
4. Links to each School’s Website
5. Future Focus and Vision
A. The Ministry will continue to provide generous funding and educational support to all Overseas Taiwan Schools and safeguard the rights of the children of Taiwanese business people overseas to receive a suitable education.
B. Assist all Overseas Taiwan Schools to set up a smooth operations system similar to those used by schools in Taiwan, at the same time as establishing their own distinctive identity, and to encourage their students to return to Taiwan for their further education.
C. Encourage Overseas Taiwan Schools to establish links with universities, tertiary colleges, and schools at the same level in Taiwan to access educational resources and exchange ideas with people from Taiwan to further their development. This will also help schools, colleges, and universities in Taiwan to internationalize.
D. Provide good overseas working conditions to attract qualified teachers in Taiwan to take up teaching posts overseas, and help to improve the skills of the schools’ teachers.
E. Implement formal appraisal of schools’ operations and provide financial awards to schools with excellent results, to improve schools’ performance.
F. Assist each Overseas Taiwan School to promote Chinese language education, and become a strategic local center promoting Taiwan’s language and culture.