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.