The Future – It is ALL about Education

My recent trip to Taiwan was an eye-opener. Ever been to Taiwan? No? Well, you should go! There are two passions obvious in Taiwan that I don’t see here in the US to nearly the same degree:

  1. Children – children are everything in this society. Children are the future. Children are every parent’s future – after all, when the parents are retired and in their old age, they will be living with one of their children, and the more successful those children are, the more comfortable the parents will be in their old age!
  2. Money – after the child, money is everything in this society. If you aren’t earning money, you are wasting your time. If you aren’t making as much money as your neighbor, well, you must be doing something wrong. In two generations, Taiwan has progressed from 3rd-world to 1st-world, and money is the most tangible element of comparative success. Money – Money – Money…

Getting there… It is a long flight… Take EVA Air across the ocean. EVA Air is an excellent airline with high standards.

Getting around… Taiwan’s mass transit is efficient – the bus, subway, MRT train, HSR high speed rail. Where ever you go, it is inexpensive and efficient. Signs and ticketing systems are in Chinese and English. Most signs throughout the country are in Chinese and English. You’ll have no problem getting around. GO – have a good time there!

EDUCATION

In Taiwan, every school ranks students in every subject. Go to a school, and you will find the student rankings on a bulletin board somewhere near the main entrance. Parents cluster around these lists looking for their children to be near the top of the list.

During the top grade of every public school, a National standardized test ranks students nationwide. Coming out of Middle school, this ranking determines which high school you can attend, and every parent hopes for the best high school for their child. Coming out of high school, and the next National test ranking determines which college you can get into. And again, every parent hopes – and hopes – for the best college for their child. The better the school, the better the job, and the more money. It is ALL about education!

We had dinner with a number of friends while in Taiwan. The children came to dinner with school books in hand, and they studied seriously while we ate and talked among ourselves. When a child asked for help, conversation stopped until the child’s question was answered and they were back studying.

As this post title says, it is all about education in Taiwan. It was clear as a bell. Walk out on the street in any large city, and you will see test prep centers on many street corners: “CRAM” Center, Math Skills Institute, Tutor Center, English Coach, etc. Taipei had an entire street dedicated to test prep centers near the central train station. Schooling is a national industry in Taiwan. EVA Airlines even owns a franchise of test prep schools.

Where were we taken by our friends when they showed us around? Their best local schools and universities were among the destinations. The schools and universities were busy on every Saturday with extra classes and competitions.

What favor was I asked at dinner? “Could you help my child with his English?” “Sure,” I said. I was glad to.

There are 165 universities in Taiwan at last count.

It is ALL about education in Taiwan, because education is the key to a good future with security and prosperity and some prestige. Education is The common thread for children and money – those two passions I mentioned above.

Compared to the commitment to education in the US where budgets are being slashed, hours are being cut back, school years shortened, activities are being cancelled, children are tuned out by parents who decline to help with homework, entertainment (TV and video games) takes precedence over homework, and critical thinking is all but missing not only at school but also at home, Taiwan is leagues ahead. I would place my bets for the future on Taiwan and not the US.

The Future – It is ALL about Education! We can look to Taiwan for a success story with a few take-aways for us to learn from here in the US. Parents – you can do much, much more to participate in your child’s education.

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