Education System of Taiwan

Category: Study Destinations
Posted on September 30, 2019

Taiwan is a center for technical excellence for decades. It is known for its high standards in the fields of technology and the sciences. Its education system is known globally for producing high test scores in mathematics and science. The literacy rate among the people aged 15 years and above is 98.5%. The Ministry of Education (MoE) is in charge of setting and maintaining education-related policies and managing public institutions of education throughout Taiwan. 

The education in Taiwan is provided through the public authorities and private organizations, at all levels from pre-school to university. The distribution of private provision varies at each level of schooling. The majority of compulsory schooling takes place in public institutions. In Taiwan, 14 years of education is mandatory, i.e., from elementary to the high school.

The levels of the education system in Taiwan are:

  • Pre-schools
  • Elementary/ Primary Schools
  • Junior High School
  • Senior High School/ Vocational Schools
  • Higher Education

Let’s now discuss them in detail

Pre-Schools (2-6 years)

Pre-school education for children in Taiwan is not compulsory. Still, the majority of parents choose to have their children attend a pre-school. It gets government support and assists financially underprivileged families in enrolling their children. Once a child is six years old, they are required to begin school. 

Elementary Schools (6-12 years)

Elementary schools comprise of Grade 1 to grade 6. The classes are from Monday to Friday. The school timing starts from 7:30 AM to 4 PM (or noon on Wednesdays). The subjects taught at this level are:

· Mandarin

· Mathematics (from basics to introductory algebra and geometry by the grade 6th).

· Science 

· English (mandatory subject from Grade 3 onwards)

· Native languages (language classes in Taiwanese and Hakka Chinese).

· Social studies

· Music

· Art

Junior High Schools (12- 15 years)

It comprises of grade 7 to grade 9. It is the last half of compulsory education. The students at this level focus on preparing for the national senior high school entrance exams at the end of 9th grade. School ends around 5 PM, but students often stay in school for additional exam preparations. The subjects taught at this level are:

· Literature (Classical and modern Chinese poetry and literature, composition and public speaking)

· Mathematics (algebra, geometry, proofs, trigonometry, and pre-calculus)

· English (essential English grammar)

· Biology (taken in the first year includes more in-depth studies and lab work)

· Chemistry (taken during the second year comprises in-depth studies and lab work)

· Physics (taken during the third year includes detailed study and lab work)

· Earth Science (taken during the third year)

· Technology (taken from starting of this level. Introduces some necessary technology used in daily life)

· Social Studies

· Civics

· Home Science and Crafts

· Art (Fine Art, Music, and Drama)

· Physical Education

· Scout education (teaching outdoor survival skills)

At the end of this level, students participate in the national senior high school entrance exams. The admission to senior high schools depends upon their scores. Students who wish to attend the vocational Schools can also give the separate national vocational entrance exam. The public schools are most popular at these levels. The private schools are just a backup for those unable to score high enough for public schools. 

Senior High Schools/ Vocational Schools (15- 18 years)

Senior High Schools

The students spend three years at this level, i.e., grade 10 -12. At this level, students prepare for the higher education entrance examinations. Discipline in these institutions (high school onwards, including vocational schools) is the responsibility of military officers stationed at the individual schools. The initial two years of the curriculum are the same for all students. In the third year, students choose between two groups: Social Sciences/Humanities, or Natural Sciences/Engineering. The curriculum comprises of the subjects 

  • Chinese,
  • English civics 
  • History
  • Geography
  • Math 
  • Basic science (physics, chemistry, biology) 
  • Natural science
  • Physical education
  • Arts (music and fine arts) 
  • Industrial arts
  • Home economics 
  • Military training.

In the end, the student gets a Diploma or a Certificate of Graduation. Senior high school graduates have two options for continuing their education- higher education at a university or college or study at a 2-year junior college or vocational colleges. For this one year of work experience is required following completion of senior high school.

Vocational Schools

The students study at this level for three years (4 years part-time). These schools fall under the Department of Technological and Vocational Education of the Ministry of Education. The area of specializations options for students are:

  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Shipping
  • Commerce
  • Home economics
  • Nursing
  • Art and opera

These programs are very practically oriented. At the end of this level, students give an examination and graduate with a certificate equivalent to a vocational high school diploma. The curriculum in these schools comprises of general subjects, technical subjects/ practical experience, and electives and group activities. The students graduate with 162 credits and the Senior Vocational School Certificate of Graduation (Diploma). The three-year vocational programs graduate can give the national university entrance exams and undergo a four-year undergraduate degree.

Higher Education (18 -25 years)

Taiwan has 163 public (national and municipal) and private higher education institutions. Higher education has the following categories:

· Universities

Universities always have at least three faculties and provide a wide range of programs. They may specialize in research, in the provision of teacher-training programs, or offer a large variety of specializations. 

· Colleges

Colleges are smaller in scale and more specialized, offering two specialties. 

· Institutes of technology 

It provides both four years of technical programs as well as two years of senior secondary programs. Private institutions account for 60% of all higher education institutions in Taiwan (Private School Act). The Ministry of Education has always had a significant influence on higher education. 

Compulsory subjects in the curriculum are:

· Chinese literature, history, the constitution 

· A foreign language (each worth four credits) 

· Physical Education (3 years)

· Military Training (2 years) 

· Moral conduct (no credits are given). 

There are both daytime and evening classes at this level. The students who take evening classes have to study for one year extra. 

Grading System in Taiwan

Primary, secondary, and higher education uses both numerical and alphabetical grading system. 

90-100 A Excellent

80-89 B Very Good

70-79 C Good

60-69 D Pass

0-59 E Fail

Education in Taiwan continues to evolve, especially towards targeting areas that it is less proficient. With the focus on reading, arts and creativity, and less stress to score more on exams, Taiwan is trying to ensure that its educational system meets the needs of its students.

I hope it was informative enough and will help you in opting for the correct options.

All the best

Saumya Gusain
Saumya Gusain

A history student with postgraduate in archaeology and heritage management, gave me a good experience in field of research and writing. Avid reader, loves to explore new places. Baking cakes and breads are my hobby. Mother of four year old who takes most of my time..

Arvi Singh
October 04, 2019 - 10:51am
Arvi Singh October 04, 2019 - 10:51am

Really good info!

Athiya Sharma
October 01, 2019 - 10:46am
Athiya Sharma October 01, 2019 - 10:46am

Nice one....Very Informative.

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