The Challenges and Prospects of Taiwan’s New 12-Year Curriculum

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1. Implementation Status of the New Curriculum

Taiwan’s new 12-year curriculum, scheduled for implementation in August next year, is only 35% completed in its review process. According to the Minister of Education, Yeh Chun-jung, all curriculums need to complete the review by August this year. However, subjects such as natural sciences, technology sciences, integrated activities, and arts are still under review, while social sciences, vocational subjects, and special education curriculums have not yet begun.

To accommodate the curriculum of the 15 specialized areas of vocational education that have not yet begun or finished their reviews, the Ministry of Education extended the time for schools to select social subject textbooks until June next year. This is to provide publishers with sufficient working time. However, concerns have been raised externally about whether the work can be completed on schedule at this rate and whether some areas will finish the review on time.

2. New Content in the Technology Curriculum: Media Literacy and Information Ethics

In the curriculum review process, the technology curriculum passed the review under the leadership of Minister Yeh Chun-jung and is expected to be published within a month. The new learning content will include aspects of media literacy and information ethics.

Deputy Minister of Education, Tai Shu-fen, states that students need to possess the ability to interpret media and understand information ethics to cope with the rich and diverse information age. For example, the ability to judge misinformation on the internet and understand the inappropriateness of spreading misinformation. Within the convenient use of technology, students need to discern the truthfulness of information sources and be cautious not to casually spread information through social media if the veracity of the information cannot be confirmed.

3. Shanghai, China’s AI High School Textbook

While Taiwan’s new curriculum is still under review, Shanghai introduced the world’s first AI high school textbook, “Foundations of Artificial Intelligence”, in April this year, starting its usage in 40 schools. The Chinese Ministry of Education also announced in January that artificial intelligence, IoT, big data processing, algorithms, etc., would formally be included in the curriculum.

The introduction of the world’s first AI high school textbook has caught the attention of Taiwan’s academic community. Lin Shuo-chieh, Chairman of Taichung, points out that although Taiwan’s new 12-year curriculum includes information technology as a mandatory subject for high schools, there is still a need to enhance hardware for AI education and teacher training.

4. AI Education and Information Technology Curriculum in Taiwan

To respond to the AI trend, the Ministry of Education in Taiwan has added a technology field to the new curriculum, made information technology subjects such as “programming” mandatory for high schools, and required that courses such as AI and data analysis be made compulsory within five years for all university faculties.

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