USA Educational Institutions in Taiwan


#1

Most people consider that the Taiwan Relations Act outlines a special relationship between the USA and Taiwan. However, the TRA is actually more than this. It is the major piece of legislation which outlines Taiwan’s status in the world today.

As a result of the TRA, the USA and Taiwan have a great deal of mutual dependence in many areas. Let’s examine the possible scenario where the TRA or some related legislation is modified so that USA educational institutions are allowed to establish branch schools in Taiwan, initially at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels, and that local Taiwanese citizens are allowed to attend these schools. Full accreditation would be given by the Taiwan educational authorities. (Note: This would be considerably different from the current situation. At the present time, to attend the Taipei American School for example, one must have a foreign passport. Also, the credits and diploma issued by TAS are not recognized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education.)

How could all of these matters be organized in the most effective fashion? Here are some of the questions that come to my mind:
(1) As a preliminary step, would it be feasible for all English language teacher certification in Taiwan to be fully supervised by established US educational institutions? (For example, this would mean that all native Taiwan English teachers would have to undergo re-certification based on USA standards.)
(2) Then, should the course design of all English language teaching programs in Taiwanese schools/universities/colleges, etc be fully supervised by established US educational institutions? What would be the stages in implementing this?
(3) Assume that a number of US branch elementary schools are intially established, and that new school buildings were built for their use. How could their overall teaching programs be integrated with what the other ordinary Chinese elementary schools were teaching? Or would there simply be two educational systems developed in Taiwan (separate but equal): an English language system, and a Chinese language system?
(4) In Taiwan, many people like to talk about the Singapore educational system, which they view as “English as the primary language, Chinese as the secondary language”. In general, would this type of formulation be a good model as to how Taiwan’s educational system should evolve?
(5) Many local Taiwanese parents complain that junior high and high schools students don’t come home until 10:00 pm everyday after all their studies and additional lessons. The parents complain about this but feel helpless to solve it. Could the implementation of more US based educational standards facilitate some rational change in this area?

I would be interested in any comments or suggestions.


#2

Under the umbrella of “home schooling” there are about 300 Taiwanese students already enrolled in US accredited programs and use English textbooks.

The local authorities in your local Taiwan school district seem to be the only regulators of this, and it does open the ROC education bureaucratic doors to some “Internet-based” public high schooling options.

Class.com

This leading example is actually accredited by the State of Nebraska and has state licensed American teachers whom correct and monitor the enrolled students work by Internet. It is an outgrowth of the Independent Study High School run by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The ISHS grants a US high school diploma and is not a GED (equivalency exam) because of its public university affliation. Any Taiwan student with a US-accredited high school diploma does not even generally need to take the TOEFL test to enter a US university.

It is actually feasible to consider utilizing the cram school concept in Taiwan as a “computer lab” with the EFL Teachers to be the test proctors, classroom monitors, and tutors in conjunction with the Internet-based High School in English only. Of course, the local ROC school district must grant approval for ROC children to attend this “virtual school”, but mixed classrooms of foreign kids and Taiwanese kids is not as impossible as you might think. Taiwan students are not accepted if they cannot pass the Nebraska State Placement Tests, so this option is mostly for gifted students in Taiwan. There is little question of the superiority of American education for addressing the needs of gifted students, while the problems of low achievers is another matter not of concern to this particular program. There is the virtual school option which is a “joint-venture” agreement that the ROC Ministry of Education could even sign to better accomodate their regulatory issues. .This can be up and running in less than 60 days!

Worst case scenario is Internet High School grads must take university programs over the Internet, or they go to the University of Guam because of lower costs and easier F-1 visas of that American island. Or they enter into US community college in Saipan and then transfer to another American university. The TOEFL is inefficient and is not necessary if a student starts early enough. The infatuation with tests is the fault of the ROC educational system, not the American system.

The only obstacle is finding a sponsoring group or entity composed of interested Taiwan parents willing to spend about $5000+ on private tuition.


#3

Given that the US does not have any recognised national standard by which to certify TOEFL, and that the international standard is already established by Trinity and Cambridge, would it not be more sensible for that standard to be used ? Otherwise, Taiwan will go down the path it went with romanisation, ie, using a “standard” no one else in the world uses.

Certainly it would make sense to have university courses in English Literature and Language run to the same standard as American ones - from my recollection the Zhengda course in American and English Literature used for the American part the same introductory textbook as many US universities, but as is inevitable with the rote learning system in place at the time, I doubt whether much of the point of literature was grasped by many students. It is perhaps the style of teaching, rather than the content which needs to be changed, especially in Arts subjects.


#4

“Home schooling” is one option, but I am interested in the reorganization of the existing Taiwan schools across the board.

quote[quote]As a result of the TRA, the USA and Taiwan have a great deal of mutual dependence in many areas. Let's examine the possible scenario where the TRA or some related legislation is modified so that USA educational institutions are allowed to establish branch schools in Taiwan, initially at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels, and that local Taiwanese citizens are allowed to attend these schools. [/quote]

How could this be accomplished, and what specific areas of problems need to be addressed? Please refer to my original posting.

Your comments?


#5

You will have to fight the Chinese bureaucracy and the Chinese language especially for the elementary students. “Home schooling” is a legal loophole for bypassing the local administrators and is not truly meant to be executed “at home” in reality of the Internet.

However, overhauling the entire ROC system means dumping the KMT-era cronies in so many words. I don’t know if the NEA in the USA is worse or the Chinese teachers whom are conceptually challenged.
You’ll need an “English Teacher” union to fight for better educational opportunities and better work environments. And I do mean the need to fight tooth and nail in the legal sense of it.
Throw everything you’ve got at 'em as they’ll never budge otherwise…Chinese teachers are the biggest organizational impediment to the ROC’s future developments of their hi-tech economy.