Education System in Taiwan
The Taiwanese education system has been challenged for emphasising learning by rote as opposed to understanding. Yet 95% of children go on after their mandatory 9 years to study further at high schoosl, trade schools or college. The first 6 grades are taken at elementary school, where English is compulsory and the range of other subjects would outshine those at many third-world middle schools.
At junior high school the main goal of pupils to is capture high marks to help them study further. Many stay on at school long after hours to attend extra classes that may only end at 8pm. The curriculum is similarly impressive, including literature, maths, english language, science and technology, social studies, civics, history and geography. At the end of this phase, students are assigned to more advanced schools on the basis of their performance in the national senior high school entrance examination.
Senior high school lasts for 3 years during which the goal of students is to aspire to enter university. Discipline is in the hands of military officers and incidents of misbehaviour are rare. There is often a choice between science and liberal arts programs. University entrance is granted through entrance examinations, followed by lecturer recommendations regarding the best study course to follow.
Vocational training takes place in parallel for 3 years too. Here though, there is greater emphasis on vocationally relevant practical skills. Most students choose to specialize in a core subject, for example computer science, a particular engineering skill, or business methods. It is not unusual for students to follow this route to university too.
There are over 100 higher education institutions in Taiwan. These include many accredited trade schools and colleges. Some of these are state-controlled and some are private businesses. Engineering is the most popular course and accounts for 25% of degrees awarded.
The most prestigious universities include National Taiwan University (north, comprehensive, illustrated opposite), National Chung Hsing University (middle, agriculture and biology) and National Cheng Kung University (south, engineering, medical, science).