An Overview of Technological and Vocational Education
Our government has placed great emphasis on Technological and Vocational Education (TVE), especially in strengthening the ties between TVE and economic development. As a result, TVE has contributed greatly to Taiwan's economic prosperity over the years.
Cultivating the Workforce for Promoting Economic Development
Taiwan's economic development has been tightly interwoven with the TVE development. The government began to press forward with economic development plans around the 1950s, starting with advancing sweeping changes in agricultural production technologies while actively developing labor-intensive essential goods industries. TVE's primary domain at that time was agriculture and business-related programs at senior vocational schools, focusing on providing the budding economy with sufficient direly needed entry-level workforces.
In the 1960s, Taiwan moved into an expansion period of import-export businesses, witnessing a rapid growth the need for skilled labor and in the number of small and medium enterprises that were, in the industry and business alike. In 1968, Taiwan started the nine-year compulsory education plan, abolishing junior vocational schools plan and instead rapidly expanded the senior vocational schools and junior colleges. To meet the needs of the advancing scale and quality of industries, the Ministry of Education encouraged private sectors to participate and to establish at their own schools, these areas, so as to provide an even more middle-level labor force.
After the 1970s, Taiwan's traditional industries began the transition into capital and technology-intensive industries, along with a demand for labor, while continuing to emphasize on quantity, and quality. In order to elevate the quality of higher-level technological and vocational education, the Ministry of Education established the first technological college (Taiwan Institute of Technology) which was the forerunner of a now comprehensive TVE system that consists of vocational high schools, junior colleges, and colleges/universities of technology.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the government gradually increased the ratio for senior vocational schools and general high schools, finally reaching the goal of 7:3. The vast amount of graduates from these senior vocational schools supplied the labor requirements of the thriving industry and allowed Taiwan's economy to quickly expand. By the mid-1980s, Taiwan faced tremendous pressure from internationalization and the open market, and for the demand for higher levels of technological and business personnel, and to become. The government thus encouraged quality junior colleges to upgrade colleges of technology, and those quality colleges of technology were thus upgraded to universities of technology. Comprehensive high schools (i.e., consisted of curricula for both TVE and general high schools) were added, and the ratio between the number of students at senior vocational schools (including comprehensive high school TVE programs and the first three years of five-year junior college program) and those of general high schools (including the general part of comprehensive high school programs). By the year 2011, this ratio reached 5.5:4.5, which mirrored more closely the needs of market and time, reflecting a more effective education system.
After 2009, the government began to push the following Six Emerging Industries (healthcare, bio-technology, sophisticated agriculture, leisure and tourism, cultural innovation, and green energy), Four Major Smart Industries (cloud computing, intelligent electric cars, intelligent green buildings, and inventions and patents), and Ten Major Services Industries (Cuisine Internationalization, Healthcare Internationalization, Pop Music and Digital Contents, Convention Industry, International Logistics, Innovation and Venture Capital, Urban Renewal, WIMAX, Chinese Electronic Business, and Higher Education Export) – in order to induce R&D innovation, increase the value of industries, and strengthen the competiveness of services sectors. TVE joined these efforts utilizing its resources to cultivate practical professionals according to their aptitudes and capabilities, so that once again TVE could contribute to the next wave of the Taiwan Miracle.
The Current Education System
The current junior high school education system and above follows two major pathways: general education system and TVE system. The TVE system consists of middle-level TVE and higher-level TVE. The middle-level TVE includes the Technical Skills programs at junior high schools, senior vocational schools, professional programs at general high schools and/or the vocational programs at comprehensive high schools; the higher-level TVE includes junior colleges, colleges of technology, and universities of science & technology.
A Brief View of TVE schools
With the government's proactive attention to TVE's development, currently there are 155 senior vocational schools, 14 junior colleges, and 77 universities/colleges of science & technology, totaling 246.