Education is the foundation of a nation, the means of raising the quality of its citizenry and of cultivating manpower resources. Educational policy in Taiwan is based on the ideal of the Three Principles of the People. It has been designed to operate in accordance with the nation's overall construction, international trends, and the nation's future prospects.
The ROC Constitution requires that expenditures for education, science, and culture be no less than 15% of the central government budget, 25% of the provincial government budget, and 35% of city and county government budgets. In fiscal year 1994 expenditures for education are projected at 24.92% of the Provincial Government budget. The Provincial Government's outlay for each student is as follows: vocational high school, US$3,396.81; senior high school, US$2,815.83; junior high school, US$1,512.20; and elementary school, US$1,257.12.
The present educational system is divided into four stages: pre-school (kindergarten), compulsory education (which includes six years of elementary and three years of junior high school), senior high school, and higher education (which includes junior college, college, university, and graduate school). Compulsory education was extended from six to nine years on 1968.
Current emphases are upon overall planning for educational development under the Six-year National Development Plan; strengthening and replenishing junior high and elementary schools' educational facilities to promote balanced urban and rural educational development; further expansion of kindergartens, junior high schools, elementary schools, senior high schools, senior vocational schools, and special education schools and classes to increase educational opportunity; reducing class sizes to raise teaching efficiency; implementing local curricula to improve localized education; strengthening culture, ethics, democracy, science, information and junior high school technical education to promote balanced educational development and advance towards the goal of 10-year compulsory education; utilizing social resources and implementing parental and vocational education and voluntary work schemes, as well as strengthening the role of family education; spreading social education and furthering basic knowledge of adult life; reinforcing cultural facilities and promoting universal participation in sports to enhance the quality of life; bolstering county and city cultural funds and promoting grassroots artistic and cultural events in order to bridge the gap between urban and rural cultural activity.
Under phase 2 of the Ministry of Education's six-year improvement plan a specialized tutorial system and assistance network is being set up for the guidance of elementary and junior high school students. Supply of student lunches is being expanded to enhance quality and to ensure nutrition, hygiene and safety.
In the 1950 academic year, teachers at all school levels numbered 29,020 and students totaled 1,054,927, with each teacher instructing 36.4 students. In 1993, there were 172,379 teachers and 4,083,381 students, with each teacher instructing an average of 23.68 students, showing that the rate of teacher increase was higher than that of students.
The ratio between male and female students at all levels was 62.7:37.3 in 1950. It was 51.3:48.7 in 1993.
The percentage of school-age children attending elementary schools increased from 80% in 1950 to 99.9% in 1993. The junior high school attendance rate increased from 59% in 1967 to 99.67% in 1993.
Vocational education in Taiwan is divided into agriculture, engineering, business, home economics, maritime engineering and production, and medicine and nursing. In order to improve job performance, schools and private businesses have cooperated to provide students with both classroom education and practical experience in factories. In addition, business and engineering courses have been offered to non-major students as second skills. In 1993, the ratio of high school students to vocational school students was 3:7. To upgrade the quality of the citizenry and ensure the effectiveness of education, the government has been actively engaged in training teachers and sponsoring on-job training and study programs. In recent years, besides improving the curricula, materials and teaching methods, school supervision and evaluation have also been strengthened.
The government has also endeavored to train physical education teachers, organize inter-school sports liaison, expand sports facilities, encourage talented athletes, and assist school sports teams to attend competitions overseas. Outstanding athletes are offered opportunities for higher education and other incentives.
Additional efforts include assisting schools to organize teacher workshops in hygiene and health care, campus beautification, school lunches, ophthalmic health, and dealing with accidents and injuries.
To provide education for school dropouts and continuing education for people in work, we are utilizing existing resources and staff of schools at all levels to expand senior high and senior vocational supplementary school secondary skills education; we are promoting the "new citizen" program to provide universal reeducation opportunities for those lacking education, establishing more junior high and elementary supplementary schools, and promoting various types of basic educational classes for adults; and specialist further education supplementary schools and the University of the Air are also aimed at advancing towards the ideal of lifelong education.
The Provincial Government is extremely concerned with cultural development. In order to upgrade the quality of spiritual life for the people and realize the development goal of "equal cultural wealth," there are several programs now under way: establishment and upgrading of libraries in selected rural areas in order to achieve the objective of a library in every rural district; enhancement of activities at county and city cultural centers; collaboration between schools and private organizations to expand cultural activities at the local level; sponsoring of art, music, dance, and theater programs to increase citizens' cultivation in the arts; and the introduction of these activities to children to eventually build a more affluent and literary society.
Since fiscal year 1993, the government has continued to promote the NT$7.54 billion third phase of major cultural development measures, to plan establishment of a social education work information network, and to pool private sector resources to reinforce promotion of social education and enrich Taiwan's cultural life; we are also planning to construct provincial concert halls and historical museums in Taichung and Taman cities to give Taiwan Province international music venues and to develop vernacular culture. We encourage worthwhile cultural and artistic activities, promote local cultures and traditional arts, and develop cultural tourism to encourage faster cultural-ethical construction.
News is the perfect medium for disseminating truth and ideas far beyond regional boundaries. In terms of society's genuine values, utilizing broadcasting media to publicize government regulations and achievements fosters two-way dialogue between government and the people, upholds a fine social ethos, and extends democracy. In order to achieve better development and management of the news media, the Provincial Government is currently focusing its work on the following areas:
Reinforcing prosecution of illegal publications, film showings, video tape showings, rental and sale, and their broadcasting systems (in 1993 a total of 198 books and magazines found to be in violation of the Law on Publications were seized); assisting Provincial Government-operated news and film enterprises to enhance operational efficiency and implement business accountability (between July 1993 and June 1994, prizes were awarded to 46 newspapers); setting up a Provincial Government letterbox to collect opinions and reactions; opening up dialogue between the government and the people; strengthening government public relations; promoting liaison with the news and cultural community to publicize the Provincial Government's development achievements; and producing video films and radio and TV programs about Provincial Government social education.
In addition, the Provincial Government is continuing its drive to improve TV reception in areas with poor reception. Since 1980, concerned agencies have invested over NT$270 million to build 85 television relay stations to ensure that the public can benefit from the best TV pictures possible.
Freedom of religion is guaranteed in the ROC Constitution. To date, Taoism, Buddhism, Protestantism and Catholicism are the most widespread. At the end of 1993, the number of registered churches and temples totaled 11,045 and believers numbered 1,210,716. Taoism, with 6,863 temples and 694,597 believers, is the most widely practiced religion.
Giving birth, getting married, celebrating anniversaries and festivals, and holding funerals are important occasions in life and a source of social customs and ritual culture. Ancestor commemoration is a part of Chinese tradition. However, due to economic progress and improved living standards over recent years, people have become extravagant with celebrations and commemorations.
The government has asked all counties and cities in Taiwan Province to promote measures to improve the conduct of wedding and funeral ceremonies so as to prevent excessive spending on such occasions, and has appealed to the people to devote more manpower, financial resources and material resources to cultural and spiritual construction in order to truly promote the functions of religion. The Provincial Government wishes to promote good morals, uphold fine traditions and actively help religious groups revamp their organization, meanwhile encouraging them to undertake civic and charitable works so as to fulfill their social education potential.
Article 166 of the ROC Constitution specifies that the government has the responsibility to protect historic, cultural and art monuments and antiquities. Historic monuments include old temples, city walls, residences, monuments, official buildings, tombs, and the like. The Ministry of Interior has proclaimed some 220 relics to be of historic importance and cultural value, of which 20 are designated as Grade I monuments. Besides enforcing the national law for preservation of cultural property, the Provincial Government has also implemented its own programs for renovation and protection of historic monuments and old books and documents in the province, such as the renovation of Fort San Domingo in Tamsui, the reconstruction of the Lin Family Garden in Panchiao, and the restoration of the Wenkai Academy in Lukang, the Tienhou Temple in the Pescadores, and the WuFeng Temple in Chiayi County.