Stephen Kosack

in The Education of Nations

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199841653
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949540 | DOI:

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Taiwan’s economic performance has made it a archetypal case for the economic argument that governments may produce education according to the economy’s needs. But this chapter shows that Taiwanese education has suited its vital constituency, not its economy. Taiwan’s government was affiliated with political entrepreneurs in two periods: 1949 to the mid-1960s, and again from the late 1980s. These periods led to cross-class alliances, and during them the government built “all-levels” education systems with quality basic education for the masses, and quality higher education that was for elites but still accessible to the masses. In between, the vital constituency was elites, and the government refashioned Taiwanese education into a “top-down” system and directed the children of poorer families into a new vocational system of broad worker training. The chapter presents extensive evidence that this vocational system served the particular employers in the Kuomintang’s vital constituency, even when they were contrary to the economy’s needs.

Keywords: education; primary education; higher education; worker training; vocational education; budget allocation; Taiwan; Asian tigers

Chapter.  24248 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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