The education system in Taiwan is regulated by the Ministry of Education of Republic of China. The literacy rate in Taiwan is at 96.1%.
School uniforms are mandatory at most schools. There is a deep level of respect enforced. In grade school, students are expected to stand and say in unison, "Thank You Teacher". Students test particularly well in mathematics and science. The language of instruction is Mandarin. Current law mandates only nine years of schooling, from nursery school to university. However, 95% of students go on to high school, trade school or college.
The school year consists of two semesters:
Fall semester begins in early September and runs till late January or early February.
Winter break runs for about three weeks around the Lunar New Year.
Spring semester begins following the Lantern Festival in mid February and ends in early June.
Primary School is from grades 1 through 6. Children are assigned to the school closest to their registered place of residence. Classes are held from Monday through Friday, typically from 7:30 AM through 4PM (or noon on Wednesdays)
Classroom etiquette ends to be very strict and regimented. Students are responsible for cleaning their own classrooms. Corporal punishment is officially banned, but many reports suggest it is still practised by many teachers, which is often supported by the parents.
At the conclusion of their third year, students participate in the national senior high school entrance exams and are assigned to senior high schools based upon their scores. Students may also participate in a separate national vocational school entrance exam if they wish to attend vocational school.
Senior high school takes place from grades 10 through 12. The focus is again on testing, this time for entrance into University. Most schools allow incoming students to select an interest of science or liberal arts. Group I consists of liberal arts students, Group II and Group III of science based students (the latter studies biology as an additional subject).
Discipline is administered by military officers stationed at the individual schools. Along with the subjects begun in Junior High, there is a military education class covering issues such as civil defense, military drills, national defense, and basic firearms training.
Entrance to university is administered via two methods:
1. Recommendations- Students take a national academic exam and select a list of majors that they are applying to. They are screened first by exam results for eligibility, then second stage would entrance is determined by departments selected.
2. Examination- the second option may be selected, or is an option for students who failed their applications. These students must participate in the national university entrance exams after graduation in hopes of university admission.
Vocational schools are similar to high schools. They are three-year institutions, but emphasis practical and vocational skills. Incoming students choose a single concentration, such as electrical engineering, civil engineering, computer science or business. Vocational school graduates may also participate in the national university entrance exams.
About 43% of Taipei residents have obtained a college education. Roughly 66.6% of the over 100,000 students taking the national university entrance exams are accepted to a higher educational institution.
Tuition is less expensive in public universities. Some federal funding is available from the government.
There are over 100 institutions varied educational institutions within the city, and in Taiwan.
In contrast with the high pressured exam focused atmosphere in previous schools, college life is generally much more relaxed. Graduate degrees from the U.S. and Europe are highly prized and many students study abroad. An average of 13,000 university graduates per year choose to pursue graduate studies in the U.S.
Public schools are usually more popular, but there are private schools available. Private schools are expensive, and have had the reputation of backup choices for students not able to score high enough for public schools.
The most prestigious private university is Fu Jen Catholic University. The school is highly regarded for the fields of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Law, Business Management (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited), Theology, Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Communication.
Almost all private schools are international schools. Consult our section on International Schools for more information.
National Central Library- This is the oldest public library in Taiwan. Founded in 1914, the library is home to a large collection of documents concerning the history, culture, politics and geography of Taiwan.
20 Zhongshan S. Road, Taipei, Taiwan 100-01(R.O.C.)
Telephone Numbers: 886-2-2361-9132
One-hour guided tours of the library are offered to groups from Tues. to Fri. with advance arrangement. Tel: 886-2-23619132 ext. 225.