Written by Karl Chee-Leong Lee. Organized by the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF), the recent Yushan Forum (October 18) in Taipei was the fourth forum since the event’s inauguration in 2017. While the previous themes of the forums were on social and economic connectivity, regional prosperity as well as innovation of progress, this year it was resilience that took the theme of the distinguished forum. This is difficult to understand as the current COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly demonstrated how vulnerable countries and societies in the world are when responding to the unprecedented crisis individually or in a group.
Written by Dorothy I-ru Chen. Ethnocentrism is often found in a highly homogenous society like Taiwan. There have been stereotypes and bias against new immigrant children over the years. Studies conducted in the early days suggested that these children’s academic achievements were lagging. Moreover, these studies failed to recognise the problem may lie within schools which are not capable of meeting the needs of children from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Written by Ruo-Fan Liu. If you travel to Taiwan in February or July, you will probably hear people talk about their children’s exam scores in MRT stations, coffee shops, and traditional markets. These days, high schoolers are busy applying for colleges, sustaining admissions from selective universities, and hoping that what happens at this stage in their life will set themselves apart from peers in the future. Since the Taiwanese Government expanded higher education and diversified admission channels for different kinds of students, this process has become more complex, and admission rules are continually changing.
Written by Yi-hui Lee and Kai-chieh Yang. As a result of geographic and economic factors, educational recourses have long been distributed unevenly in Taiwan. This has long caused some disquiet. The effect of this recourse inequality worsens at every stage of the education system and severely hampers class mobility. The new “school-determined curriculum,” which is so central to the 2019 curricula reforms, will change many of the compulsory class requirements for high-schoolers in Taiwan. With inequality being such a clear issue, it is essential to ask: what affect will this have on the uneven recourse distribution across schools?
Written by Jen-Chen Chao. Up until the 1990s, all university applicants in Taiwan were allotted university places based solely on their test scores on a standardised exam. This was generally seen as leading to a high-pressure environment in which students had to prepare endlessly for a high-stake test. Recent attempts by the Government have tried to alleviate some of this pressure whilst also promote the learning and developments of students.
Written by Wei Azim Hung. The series of border skirmishes between India and China that began in early May this year have prompted a wave of anti-China sentiment across the subcontinent. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has struck a particularly aggressive tone by saying “the age of expansionism is over” and “peace is not won by weakness” , while being mindful of the need to save his Chinese counterpart face by not indulging in overly bellicose or provocative rhetoric. Interestingly, this is not the first time India and China have engaged in border hostilities, nor is it the most bloody conflict.
Written by Yu-Ling Chen and Ren-Shiang Jiang. Although the term “physical activity” has been recently introduced to Taiwan in the last decade, the policies of exercise and sports promotion have existed for a long time. While competitive youth sports remain relatively stable in Taiwan, the message from the government is clear: sport and exercise cannot just be an activity for elite athletes, but everyone living in Taiwan.
Written by Sam Robbins. Across the globe, more and more countries have introduced media literacy education into their national curriculum in a hope to make students better prepared for the digital media landscape. Although media literacy is much older than the internet, digital literacy has become inseparable from media literacy over the last 10 years or so. It is over this period that media literacy has also began to receive new attention.
Written by Corey Bell and Yao-hung Huang. It is in the backdrop of this unique ecology that a truly distinctive event has come into being – the ‘Buddha-Dharma Cup’ 佛法盃. The name is derived from the juxtaposition of the first characters of ‘Buddha’s Light’ and ‘Dharma Drum’…
Written by John F. Copper. In 1990 when I published the first edition of Taiwan: Nation-State or Province?, friends and colleagues asked me why I wrote this book and the reason I chose such a title. I replied that a publisher, Westview Press, asked me if I could pen a book on Taiwan that assessed its unusual status in the world community, it being a possible trigger to an East-West conflict, and also a work that might serve professors looking for a reliable source on Taiwan they could teach from. The book sold well and five years later the publisher asked for an updated edition, to which I obliged.
Written by Jens Damm. Bruce belonged to the almost lost generation of professors who were able to be promoted without having to write long books early in their careers. Instead he was able to write books later in his lifetime, summarising his collected experience and wisdom. His two books which I recommend are The Kaohsiung Incident in Taiwan and Memoirs of a Foreign Big Beard (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016) and Democratizing Taiwan (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012). He was most recently working on Taiwan’s history. I and all who knew him will miss him greatly!
Written by Kenneth H. Chen. My fieldwork uncovered the critical functions played by Taiwanese education agents in sending international students abroad. These education agents served as mediators of students and parents’ feelings, emotions, and relationship with others. Studies show that middle-class parents and children are calculative and anxious about seeking college education abroad.