How Taiwan Education Pursues Equity in Excellence

  • Chuing Prudence ChouEmail author
Part of the Education Innovation Series book series (EDIN)


Like many high-performing counterparts in East Asia, the general public in Taiwan has many concerns related to education, such as excessive pressure from high school and university entrance exams, to name but two. Students suffer intense academic competition as well as the financial burden of after-school tutoring (Chou and Yuan, Chou, IIAS Newsl 56(15):1, 2011). Instances of gang members invading campuses, bullying, drug abuse and rule-breaking are increasingly common across the country (MOE, ROC education white paper report. Ministry of Education, Taipei, 2011). On the other hand, Taiwanese primary and secondary students regularly win prizes at the International Mathematics and Science Olympiad and rank high in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). However, most students do not show much curiosity and interest in exploring science or engaging in reading beyond the classroom (Chou, The impact of neo-liberalism on Taiwanese higher education. In: Baker DP, Wiseman AW (eds) The worldwide transformation of higher education. Emerald Group, Oxford, pp 297–312, 2008). Taiwanese society is still influenced by the Chinese examination tradition which requires a great deal of hard work through drill and practice (Chou, Why the SSCI syndrome is a global phenomenon? In: Chou CP (ed) The SSCI syndrome in higher education: a local or global phenomenon. SensePublishers, Rotterdam, pp vii–vxv, 2014). Taiwan’s education system comprises 6 years of elementary school, 3 years each of junior high and senior high school and 4 years at the tertiary level. Compulsory education covered the first 9 years from 1968 and was extended to 12 basic years in 2014. Admission to higher secondary schools has long been a trying period in students’ lives because they are required to take examinations to achieve this. This process is repeated again before entrance to universities or colleges. Preparation for entrance exams—the main source of pressure in schools—has prompted much criticism regarding the lack of equal educational opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationNational Cheng-Chi UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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