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Secondary Education

Although experimental programs such as "comprehensive" junior-senior high schools and "bilateral" high schools are becoming more commonplace, secondary education in Taiwan has customarily consisted of three main types: a senior academic high school, a senior vocational high school, and a five-year junior college. The normal ages for attending the first two are 15 to 18; for the junior college, 15 to 21. Although there are fewer vocational high schools than there are academic ones (204 as opposed to 228), 509,064 students attended vocational high school in 1997, as opposed to the 291,095 that attended academic high school during that year. Both academic and vocational high schools tend to be public schools. The five-year junior college program articulates with the junior high school in that it provides three years of secondary studies plus two years of college work. The last two years of this option closely approximate the structure of junior college programs found in the United States, and while it can lead to college, the five-year junior college is less effective than the academic high school in preparing students for the prerequisite college entrance examinations. Junior high school students must take an entrance examination to qualify to enter junior college; most of Taiwan's junior colleges are private.

The attendance of a senior vocational high school is not a presumed avenue to college entrance, and it is likely to be a student's final educational experience. On the other hand, the predominant preoccupation of students in senior academic high schools in Taiwan is preparing for the college entrance examinations. In July 2000, approximately 131,000 graduating high school students took the Joint University Entrance Examination (JUEE), which is also sometimes called the Joint College Entrance Examination (JCEE). The test is Taiwan's uniform national test for college admission. Initiated in 1954, the examination still looms as an unavoidable hurdle to be surmounted by all Taiwanese youth who aspire to a college education. However, in recent years, the JUEE has come under increasing criticism because of its emphasis on the rote memorization of texts, which is now seen as a major impediment to creative and independent thinking. As a result of this criticism and the broader call for educational reform, authorities have implemented a plan to replace the JUEE, which will be administered for the last time in July of 2002. The new test will be part of a more pluralistic system.

Under this new system, which is designed to reduce the importance of taking exams in the admissions process, graduating high school students in Taiwan will have at least three avenues to college entrance that can be deployed either separately or in combination. First, students will be able to secure college by qualifying for school recommendations on the basis of their performance. Second, they will be able to earn admission on the basis of results from the Scholastic Attainment Test of College-Bound Seniors (SAT), which a record 132,168 graduating high school students in Taiwan took in February 2001 (thus surpassing the number that took the JUEE in 2000). Finally, the old JUEE is to be replaced in 2003 by a new test called the Designated Subject Test (DST). All testing will be conducted by the College Entrance Examination Center (CEEC), a government foundation established especially for the purpose of better facilitating the admissions process by improving examination quality. The new system for university admission will require that almost all students take the Taiwanese version of the SAT, which is comprised of five subjects: Chinese, English, mathematics, natural science, and social science. However, although they may refer to test results as criteria for admittance, admissions officials will no longer be permitted to use such results to dictate a student's collegiate future, as was the case with the JUEE.

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceTaiwan - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education