This week, we are going to discuss higher education in different countries. In previous classes, we have known that there are approximately 15 countries. As the only Taiwanese student, I would like to explain the educational system in Taiwan.
In Taiwan, we have 9-year compulsory education, including 6-year elementary school and 3-year middle school. At the 3rd year of middle school, students need to take national examination and use this score to apply for 3-year high\vocational schools. For high school students, students can choose their learning tracks based on their interest at the 2nd year, including Group I consists of liberal arts students, Group II and Group III of science based students (the latter studies biology as an additional subject). The curriculum for each track is adjusted based on this classification.
There are over 100 institutions of higher education in Taiwan. Roughly 2/3 of the over 100,000 students taking the national university entrance exams are accepted to a higher educational institution. Higher education in Taiwan is similar to the American higher education system. But students have a specific major when they enter college. Unlike in the US, students can pick their major after the first year. Taiwan has many universities, both public and private. Public schools are supported by the government, and some private school are supported by the commercial groups or religious bodies. Like most countries, technician degree requires 2-year study, and the bachelor degree requires 4-year study. Graduate programs leading to a Master’s degree require one to four years; those for a doctorate, two to seven years.
The Unique Culture in Taiwan Regarding to Education
Most Taiwanese students have been suffering intensive pressure by their parents from middle schools, high schools to colleges. Many students enroll in private after-school classes to supplement their regular education, especially to help them get higher scores in the entrance exams. I was one of them. It was like a nightmare for me. I remember during high school, I needed to wake up at 6:30 going to the regular school. And after school, at around 5pm, I had to go to the cram school. When I went back home, it was like 10:30pm. After taking a shower, and you know what!? I still have to do the hw,or study for the quiz for the next day. So, of course, there was barely no time for entertainment!! Also, these cram schools are an extremely large business in Taiwan and have been criticized as being the result of cultural overemphasis on academic achievement.