JTE v2n1 - A Perspective of Technology Education in Taiwan, Republic of China

A Perspective of Technology Education in Taiwan, Republic of China

Lung-Sheng Lee

A BRIEF REVIEW OF TAIWAN'S EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

The Republic of China was founded in 1911 and moved its seat of government from mainland China to Taiwan in 1949. Situated in the far western Pacific, Taiwan covers an area of 36,000 square kilometers (about .38 percent of the area of the USA) and has a population of 20 million. Its population density--556 persons per square kilometer--is one of the highest in the world and is over 20 times the population density of the USA. The absence of rich natural resources mandates that the Taiwanese workforce be highly productive in order that industry may be competitive; hence, a comprehensive educational system is needed to effectively develop productive abilities of the dense population.

The core of today's educational system in Taiwan (see Figure 1) is the nine-year compulsory national education program ("Kuo Ming Chiao Yu"). This includes a six-year elementary school and a three-year junior high school. Beyond these schools are two parallel three-year institutions--a senior high school and a senior vocational school. Junior college education assumes three patterns: two-year, three-year, and five-year programs. University programs last four to seven years, depending on variations within departments. Technical colleges offer two kinds of program: a two-year program for junior college graduates and a four-year

FIGURE 1. Structure of the educational system.

NOTE: From Ministry of Education, 1989a, p.9.

program for senior vocational school graduates. At the graduate level, the minimum length of study for a master's degree is two years, with an additional two years as the minimum required to earn a doctorate. Entrance examinations are required for admission to schools beyond the level of the nine-year compulsory education (Lin, 1985).

In the 1988-89 school year, the percentage of children of elementary-school age enrolled in school was 99.9 percent; the percentage of elementary-school graduates entering junior high school was 99.1 percent; the percentage of junior high graduates entering senior secondary school was 79.5 percent, and 45.5 percent of senior secondary graduates advanced to higher education (Ministry of Education, 1989b).

CURRICULUM IN TRANSITION

In Taiwan, curricula for elementary, junior high, and senior high schools are promulgated by the Ministry of Education. Curriculum standards for all levels of school are revised about every 10 years. Revision is made by subcommittees. The members, appointed by the Ministry of Education, are curriculum specialists, teacher educators, classroom teachers, and administrators.

According to current junior high and senior high curriculum standards(1) (Ministry of Education, 1983a & 1983b), which were promulgated in July 1983 and have been implemented since August 1984, students in grades 7 to 11 must select either industrial arts ("Kung I"), or home economics with a two-hour weekly study (a regular week is 32 to 39 hours). Schools usually assign boys to industrial arts programs and girls to home economics. Some elective courses pertaining to industrial arts, like drafting, metalworking, and electronics shop, are also provided at both junior and senior high levels, but they are more vocational-oriented (characterized by "learning for earning") than the required industrial arts (characterized by "learning for living").

As shown in Tables 1 (Ministry of Educa- tion, 1983a) and 2 (Ministry of Education, 1983b), the objectives and content of industrial arts education in Taiwan is undoubtedly industry-based and technology-oriented. Its curriculum focus is in transition from traditional industrial arts to contemporary technology education and its content categories


1 At the elementary level, industrial arts is a component of the broad-study subject "craft work" which consists of drawing, sculpture, design, industrial arts, horticulture, and home-making.

seem to mix broad occupational areas (like woodworking) with industry clusters (like the manufacturing industry).

TABLE 1 A SUMMARY OF THE OBJECTIVES AND CONTENT OF JUNIOR-HIGH INDUSTRIAL ARTS CURRICULUM IN TAIWAN

------------------------------------------------------------------- Objectives Content (allocated weeks) ------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.To help students to understand 1. Introduction to traditional and contemporary Industrial Arts (2) industrial civilization 2. Blueprint Reading and recognize their local industrial Planning (6) status and trends. 3. Ceramics Shop (5) 2.To provide students with career 4. Woodworking (15) exploration opportunities to 5. Plastics Shop (5) discover their interests and 6. Metalworking (15) abilities in the field of 7. Electricity Shop (7) industrial technology 8. Graphic Communi- 3.To develop students' necessary cation (4) knowledge, skills, and attitudes 9. Construction and for living in the industrial Livelihood (9) society. 10. Manufacturing Industry 4.To foster students' cooperative (12) industrious, gregarious, and 11. Information Industry enthusiastic personalities. (6) 5.To develop students' consumer 12. Audio-visual skills and knowledge. Communication (7) 6.To foster students' habits 13. Energy and Power (7) to coordinate doing and think- ing and ideas about dignity and equality in working. --------------------------------------------------------------------------

The implementation of industrial arts curriculum standards has led to the following supportive efforts

  • Industrial Arts Equipment Standards are promulgated by the Ministry of Education after each curriculum standard revision to set up the minimum requirements of industrial arts facility and equipment.

  • Junior-high industrial arts textbooks are compiled and printed by the National Institute of Compilation and Translation, an institution of the Ministry of Education. Commercial senior-high industrial arts textbooks also have to be approved by the institute.

TABLE 2

A SUMMARY OF THE OBJECTIVES AND CONTENT OF SENIOR-HIGH INDUSTRIAL ARTS CURRICULUM IN TAIWAN

-------------------------------------------------------------------- Objectives Content (implemented grade) -------------------------------------------------------------------- 1.To introduce students to 1. Project Planning and industrial technology knowledge Drafting (grade 10) and foster industrial skills 2. Industrial Materials for their industrialized living (grade 10) and advanced studies. 3. Energy Industry (grade 2.To ignite students' interests 10) of design and creation, provide 4. Information Industry them with career exploration (grade 11) opportunities in the field of 5. Automation (grade 11) industrial technology, and encourage them to do research and invention. 3.To develop students' appropriate working habits and attitudes. ---------------------------------------------------------------------