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Taiwan's (China) competency-based curriculum reforms to drive social progress



The world is undergoing rapid evolution, and the view in Taiwan (China) is that the curriculum must reform with the times, injecting new energy into teaching, ensuring continuity and integration across the curriculum, and facilitating the development of school developed curricula. The aim of the new curriculum guidelines is to enhance students’ motivation to learn by encouraging aptitude-oriented development to better enable learners to overcome the challenges brought about by social changes, to drive social progress and to act as an engine for change.
The Curriculum Guidelines of the 12-Year Basic Education (covering elementary, junior high, and upper secondary school stages) are based on the spirit of holistic education, adopting the concepts of taking initiative, engaging in interaction, and seeking the common good.
Core competencies are used as the basis of curriculum development to ensure continuity between educational stages, bridging between domains, and integration between subjects. The core competencies are divided into three broad dimensions, namely:
  1. involving: physical and mental wellness and self-advancement; logical thinking and problem solving; and planning, execution, innovation and adaptation.
  2. Communication and interaction involving: semiotics and expression; information and technology literacy and media literacy; artistic appreciation and aesthetic literacy; and
  3. Social participation involving: moral praxis and citizenship; interpersonal relationships and teamwork; and cultural and global understanding.
Curriculum Framework
The 12-Year Basic Education Curriculum is classified into two types. 
  • The MOE-mandated curriculum was developed by the government and is centered on developing students’ basic abilities to lay a foundation for aptitude-oriented learning.
  • The school-developed curriculum is arranged by the school, embodying its vision and bolstering the development of students’ aptitudes-oriented development. This enables schools to develop unique areas of specialization and students to engage in self-directed learning.
In addition to the MOE-mandated curriculum, elementary and junior high schools can organize school-wide, grade-wide, or class-based alternative activities, thereby practicing a school-developed curriculum with specialized courses. Upper secondary schools have the freedom to provide school-developed courses alternative learning periods and project-based, practical, and exploratory courses, and there is a greater degree of freedom for selecting elective courses.
Eight sets of guidelines have been provided to support implementation, including guidance on 1) curriculum development, 2) teaching 3) learning assessment and application, 4) teaching resources, 5) teacher professional development, 6) administrative support, 7) participation of parents and nongovernmental organizations, and 8) supplementary provisions.
Yungshan Hung
Associate Research Fellow
Research Center for Curriculum and Instruction,
 National Academy for Educational Research, Taiwan (China)