In Taiwan's current education system, students may study for up to 20 years: six years of primary education, three years of junior high school, three years of senior secondary school, four years for an undergraduate program bachelor's degree, one to four years for a master's degree, and two to seven years for a doctoral degree.
■ Compulsory Education
Taiwan has implemented nine years of compulsory education—six years of primary education and three years of junior high school— since 1968. Junior high schools provide a wide range of courses to cater to their students, and in addition to the regular curriculum provide practical classes that give students an understanding of future vocational and technical education and career opportunities.
■ Senior Secondary Education
Senior secondary education lasts for three years. It is provided by four categories of schools: general senior high schools, skills-based senior high schools, comprehensive senior high schools, and specialty-based senior high schools.
■ Junior College Education
Junior college education is divided into two categories: 5-year junior college programs, and 2-year junior college programs, each with different admission requirements. Junior colleges admit graduates of junior high schools into their 5-year programs. The 2-year junior college programs principally admit graduates of skill-based senior high schools.
■ Teacher Education
Taiwan's teacher education is diversified, well-resourced, and selective. Universities of education, normal universities, and teacher training departments and centers at other universities train and educate the professional teachers who work in preschools, primary schools, junior high schools, and senior secondary schools. These institutions also provide in-service training for primary and secondary school teachers and do local educational guidance work. Since February 1, 2018, teacher training has required students to pass qualification examinations before undertaking practical education training in schools. The very best trainees are then selected to do placements involving actual teaching and classroom teacher duties.
■ University, College and Graduate School Education
Universities, tertiary colleges, universities of science and technology, and technical colleges offer four-year bachelor's degree programs, and some two-year bachelor's degree programs. Some require students to also complete an internship of from half a year to two years, depending on the program. Master's degree programs take one to four years to complete, and doctoral degree programs take two to seven years.
■ Special Education
Pre-tertiary level special education is divided into three stages: preschool, compulsory education, and senior secondary 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.
■ Arts Education
The goal of arts education is to nurture people with artistic talents, enrich the spiritual lives of Taiwan's people, and raise cultural levels. Arts education in Taiwan comprises professional arts education programs provided by educational institutions, general arts education provided by educational institutions, and arts education for the general public.
■ Supplementary and Continuing Education
The goal of supplementary education is to supplement the general knowledge of the nation's citizens, raise the overall education level, teach practical skills, educate sound, healthy citizens, and boost social progress. Supplementary education comprises: supplementary compulsory education, continuing education, and short-term supplementary learning.
Supplementary compulsory education is provided for people older than school age who have not received nine years of compulsory education. Continuing education is available for people who have already received nine years of compulsory education. Short-term supplementary learning is available for people who want to increase their general knowledge and skills.
■ Experimental 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 secondary 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 secondary 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 secondary level, documents that they will require to proceed to the next formal education stage.