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【Country Education Profiles】

What Africa can learn from Taiwan’s education industry: curriculum, education policy, teacher training and governance perspectives

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教育新知與國際串聯各國教育現場觀察非洲

Figure 1

Students Engaging in Hands-On Experiment.

Note. Experiential learning triggered by the innovative pedagogies in Taiwan. Ministry of Education. (2022-2023). Education in Taiwan. Retrieved from https://stats.moe.gov.tw/files/ebook/Education_in_Taiwan/2022-2023_Education_in_Taiwan.pdf


Curriculum

Over the last decades, there have been structural changes with ambitious goals for teaching and learning – to promote the development of twenty-first century skills and core competencies in Taiwan. This includes expanding particular knowledge, skills, and attitudes that one needs for responding to complex life situations in the new economy era and information society. In Taiwan, the curriculum usually meets the labor market demands and is structured to encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which are essential skills in a rapidly evolving global economy.


On the other hand, many African countries' curricula may not always correspond to the demands of modern industries, and there is a need to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical abilities. African education systems frequently encounter curriculum development and relevance encumbrances. Some African countries, on the other hand, are making attempts to include local cultures and traditions into the curriculum, creating a more holistic and culturally appropriate education. South Africa, for example, is a leading country in Africa which is on the frontline of the momentum of engaging stakeholders in the curriculum design and development.


Inclusive policy making in education

Africa is the second largest and most populous continent in the world. The continent is thriving and is the spirit of both human capital development and societal advancement. According to research, one of the major challenges confronting public policy in Africa is how to overcome overt and subtle discrimination in the art of governance, economic and social development. For instance, in many African countries, education policies were primarily formulated in urban centers with a very limited number of people called “consultants”, neglecting the perspectives and needs of rural populations. Limited participation and low levels of political accountability hinder the engagement of marginalized groups in policy discussions. In the 21st century, the importance of inclusive public policymaking issue has become a consensus among scholars, researchers, policymakers, and the society at large. Taiwan has emerged as a global leader in inclusive public policymaking, fostering an environment that values citizen participation, transparency, and collaboration.


Moreover, in 2018, Taiwan created a project called "Youth Policy - Let's Talk", to deliberate on public issues and participate in public policymaking. From 2018-2020, 3000 youth participated in the formation of public policies and discussion. In 2021, up to 32 groups of young were expected to discuss public policies concerning mental health. In the education sector, the government has integrated civic education into the national curriculum, empowering students with knowledge about governance, democracy, and citizen participation. Furthermore, Taiwan encourages the formation of student associations, clubs, and forums where young people can discuss societal issues, develop leadership skills, and actively engage in policy debates.


Education governance

The governance structure of education systems influences decision- making, resource allocation, and accountability. Taiwan's education system is characterized by a decentralized governance model. The decentralization of education is a transformative process that shifts decision-making and resource allocation from central authorities to local communities. In the context of Taiwan, a nation known for its remarkable economic and technological progress, the decentralization of its education system has played a crucial role in fostering innovation, enhancing educational quality, and empowering local stakeholders.


Figure 2

National Education Committee in Somaliland Meeting, January, 2023

Note. Employing top-down approach, Somaliland National Committee for Education; ministers and top government officials discussing issues in education in Somaliland without evidence-based practices. [ Shirka Guddida Waxbarashada Heer Qaran ee Somaliland ], Retrieved from Dawan, Jan 5, 2023. https://wargeyskadawan.com/2023/01/05/guddida-waxbarasha-heer-qaran-ee-jsl-oo-isugu-yimid-kulankoodii-9-aad/


Although there are tremendous efforts on creating an atmosphere of decentralization in most aspects of government services, Africa's education system is still characterized by a centralized governance model, where the Ministry of Education plays a significant role in policy formulation, curriculum development, and assessment. African countries exhibit diverse governance models, reflecting their historical, cultural, and political contexts. Some nations have centralized systems.


Teacher training

Taiwan teacher training programs are characterized by evidence-based policies that are tailored with the pedagogical needs of teachers. Emphasis is given on practicality, technology integration, innovative pedagogical praxis, self-directed learning, learning portfolio and authentic testing. A leading intervention strategy is the professional learning communities (PLC). Likewise, there are platforms and programs for evaluating institutions that provide teacher training programs in Taiwan. In the case of Africa, teacher PD programs are usually donor-dependent without needs assessment. Most teacher trainings in Africa lack standardized curriculum and innovative instructional strategies. Another hurdle is the grade-oriented performance; most governments in Africa allocate high budgets to “National Exams” or paper and pen testing rather than authentic assessment.


Conclusion

Historically, education has consistently stood out as a crucial instrument in tackling the most significant hurdles of humanity. Educational institutions have consistently aimed to formulate inclusive strategies and concepts that bring about positive transformations in societies worldwide. It is a widely shared perspective among educational researchers that education plays a pivotal role in providing learners with the essential skills, attitudes, values, and knowledge needed to actively contribute to their communities. For example, UNESCO reports delineated that education is an essential tool for empowering individuals to participate actively in their communities and to promote positive social change.   Reports by the World bank also highlight the importance of education in fostering social and economic development, stating that education is a key driver of inclusive growth and poverty reduction. According to OECD, Taiwan is one of the world’s top performing countries in the international exams while Africa is still struggling with poor academic performance at most levels of educations. Therefore, this article proffers a quick snapshot on education policies and practices that Africa can learn from Taiwan in terms of curriculum, educational policy, teacher training programs and governance perspectives.

In sum, Africa can garner some key “takeaways” from Taiwan education industry. For example, Africa can learn from Taiwan in curriculum development, emphasizing practical relevance. Taiwan's inclusive policymaking fosters citizen involvement, a model for more inclusive governance. The decentralized education governance in Taiwan contrasts with centralized systems in many African countries, promoting innovation. Taiwan's evidence-based teacher training programs offer insights for Africa to enhance the effectiveness and practicality of its initiatives.

 

References


Ezeanya-Esiobu, C. (2019). Contemporary Education Curriculum in Africa. In: Indigenous Knowledge and Education in Africa of the Frontiers in African Business Research. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6635-2_4

 

Gershberg, A. I., & Winkler, D. R. (2004). Education decentralization in Africa: A review of recent policy and practice. Applied Knowledge Services (GSDRC).

https://gsdrc.org/document-library/education-decentralization-in-africa-a-review-of-recent-policy-and-practice/

 

Lin, S. W., Tzou, H. I., Lu, I. C., & Hung, P. H. (2021). Taiwan: Performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment. Improving a Country’s Education: PISA 2018 Results in 10 Countries, 203-226.

https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59031-4_10

 

MOE. (2014). The curriculum guidelines of 12-Year basic education: general guidelines. Taipei, Taiwan: Department of Statistics of the Ministry of Education. https://www.naer.edu.tw/upload/1/16/doc/1325/%E5%8D%81%E4%BA%8C%E5%B9%B4%E5%9C%8B%E6%95%99%E8%AA%B2%E7%A8%8B%E7%B6%B1%E8%A6%81%E7%B8%BD%E7%B6%B1(%E8%8B%B1%E8%AD%AF%E7%89%88).pdf

 

MOE. (2022). The 2019 edition of “Education Statistics of the Republic of China”. Taipei, Taiwan: Department of Statistics of the Ministry of Education. Retrieved from

https://stats.moe.gov.tw/files/ebook/Education_in_Taiwan/2022-2023_Education_in_Taiwan.pdf

 

MOE. (n.d.). Educational reform. Retrieved from http://history.moe.gov.tw/policy.asp?id=7.

https://english.moe.gov.tw/public/Attachment/7111218435371.pdf

 

UNESCO. (2019). Education Transforms Lives: empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. UNESCO. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000369012

 

World Bank (2018). Africa higher education centers of excellence project. World Bank.

https://projects.worldbank.org/en/projects-operations/project-detail/P126974


 

Citation (APA 7 format):

Gulled M. Yasin (2023, November 14). What Africa can learn from Taiwan’s education industry: curriculum, education policy, teacher training and governance perspectives. Global education linkages: discovering novel trends from the world. https://www.gel-net.com/post/202311-06

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