Taiwan’s education is very different compared to America’s. It really drives students nuts. Some students even have to go to bed at midnight! Here are some reasons why Taiwan’s education gives students so much pressure:
1. Tests almost every day
The Department of Education, teachers, and parents in Taiwan think that tests help students learn better. The truth is, taking tests not only wastes our time, it also tortures students’ minds. Adults think that taking tests makes Taiwan more competitive. However, the more tests they give students, the more lazy most students become. More and more students will hate studying and tests become a nightmare at the same time.
2. School starts early and ends late
School starts at 7:00AM in Taiwan. Since we have lots of tests that we have to take every day, people stay up late to study. We go to bed at 12:00AM or even later, so sleeping less than eight hours is definitely inadequate for kids. Also, in Taiwan, we finish school at 4:50PM or even later. Many teachers like to keep students until 6:00 PM to take tests after school. Other teachers will keep students until 9:00PM to study before midterms, finals, or other important exams.
3. Some schools compare students’ grades
In Taiwan, people emphasize competitiveness. As such, teachers in Jr. High like to give students class intervals so that students can roughly know their ranking in class. Teachers not only give students class interval for midterms, they even give them during meaningless practice tests. This puts pressure on students and makes it a habit for them to compare their scores on every test. Students that get a lower ranking may lose self-confidence and start to do worse in classes.
4. Less time to play because of cram schools
Since people stress competitiveness in Taiwan, parents like to send their children to cram schools. Compared to students in the US, students in Taiwan have less time for after-school activities like exercising. Taiwanese kids don’t only go to cram schools after school, they even need to go to cram schools on weekends! It gives us even more pressure because there are tests in cram schools too. (Cram schools are where most students in Taiwan go to after school or during weekends. In Taiwan, it is really common to see students going to cram school. We usually study math, Chinese, biology, etc…).
5. Lots of homework
Teachers in Taiwan like to give students homework even after big exams. We also get a lot of summer and winter vacation homework, or have to go to school during winter and summer vacations. Each day, we have at least three homework assignments and one test to review. Since we end school late and have separate classes after school, Taiwanese students have to stay up late to finish their homework. Teachers in Taiwan love to buy workbooks and worksheets because they think it helps us students learn and practice more. They also like to save it for the last minute before we take midterms and then pass a pile out for homework.
Someone has to do something before Taiwanese students go insane. The Taiwanese education system is screwed up. I really hope that someone can stop the Department of Education before they get even crazier. If I were to become the head of the Department of Education some day, I would definitely try to learn from other countries like Finland to make our system better.