The educational activities of lifelong learning are designed for a wide range of people, from preschool children to senior citizens, thus forming a consecutive education process. On the one hand, lifelong learning includes regular and non-regular educational activities, on the other, it contains 3 aspects: family, school, and society. Since the 1980s’, our nation has actively promoted lifelong education. In 1995, the Education Report of the Republic of China: Toward the Education Vision of the 21st Century was announced, which listed “planning the lifelong learning system, and establishing a society of lifelong learning” as an important orientation of our national education development. The year 1998 was set as “the Year of Lifelong Learning”, and in this year, the White Paper toward a Society of Learning was published. The White Paper proposed 8 national education development visions, 14 specific implementation paths, and 14 action programs. In 2002, the Lifelong Learning Act was declared, which enabled our nation to become the 6th nation to establish a specific law for lifelong learning.
The Establishment of Diverse Lifelong Learning Paths
Literacy education has been promoted, to lower the population of illiterate people. In 2018, the national rate of illiterate people was lowered to 1.13%. In 2018, the Ministry of Education provided subsidies to all city or county governments to carry out the Courses of Adult Basic Education, with 546 courses, and about 10,481 participants in total. Meanwhile, measures such as the promotion, teaching materials, and teacher training of literacy education were strengthened. Furthermore, to efficiently use the space and facilities of elementary and junior high schools, the Ministry of Education has assisted 18 local governments in transforming current learning spaces of 34 elementary and junior high schools into Community Multiple Function Learning Centers, so as to facilitate usage for people in nearby communities.
To further enhance people’s literacy, the Ministry of Education has continuously provided subsidies and awards to community colleges governed by all local governments. In 2018, there were 87 community colleges and 15 universities of indigenous communities in our nation, (universities of indigenous communities are managed by the Council of Indigenous Peoples). More than 400,000 people attend classes in these institutes every year. In addition, the learning achievement qualification system of non-formal education has been continually promoted, in order to enable formal education and non-formal education to be connected.
In response to the lifelong learning society and the age structure changes of the population in our nation, all municipality, county, or city governments were encouraged to respond to the diverse learning requirements of people, and connect with universities, colleges, and private organizations in local places, to develop programs based on the particular features of local places. In 2018, 15 municipalities, and counties (cities) were offered subsidies to promote the Learning City Project. Through the following 3 strategies, we have progressed in developing toward a society of learning: a “learning Taiwan.”
1. The integration and connection of learning resources.
2. The comprehensive establishment of lifelong learning systems.
3. The enhancement of learning opportunities and atmosphere.
Provision of the Legalization for Guiding Diverse Development of Community Universities
Since the first community college in our nation was established in 1998, community colleges have been successfully developed, and until today there are 87 community colleges in our nation, with 400,000 students. Community colleges have become recognized as the major path of lifelong learning by our people. The cooperation between departments from central authorities, local governments, and consigned operational departments for the operating of community colleges is required for the developmental issues to be efficiently handled. On June 13, 2018, to enhance the sustainable development of community colleges, and to actively respond to the practical requirements of the 20-year promotion of community colleges, the Ministry of Education established and declared the Community College Development Act. Competent authorities of the central departments, and of local departments, have cooperated to comprehensively better the operating conditions of community colleges. Through legislated regulations, clear definitions and effective systems of community college management, the stable operation of community colleges has been guaranteed and promoted. More comprehensive support can thus be offered to the lifelong learning system of our nation.
The Strengthening of the Short-term Cram School Management
On June 14, 2017, Article 9 of the Supplementary Education Act was revised and declared, and states:
1. When the name of a responsible person or a faculty or staff member is involved in the recruitment of students, or in a written contract by a short-term tutorial center, or in any advertising or promotion of the center done using its premises, the media, or by any other means, the person’s real name shall be disclosed without exception, in addition to the registered name of the center, and no falsehood or misrepresentation is permitted. The same requirement applies to the person in charge and all staff members when they engage in work duties, external recruitment of students, or advertising.
2. Before hiring or employing any faculty or staff member, a short-term tutorial center shall submit to the competent educational authority of the appropriate special municipality, county, or county-level city basic information including: the relevant name list, diplomas and certificates documenting education and professional experiences, photocopies of personal identification documents, and attach a criminal record certificate issued by the police.
3. Working members in short-term tutorial centers, when becoming aware of any issues occurring such as sexual harassment, or sexual assault, must immediately report to their competent education authorities in local governments, and they have the responsibility of reporting the aforementioned matters.
4. According to the different issues of violation, different levels of strictness apply, hence different levels of penalties and administrative injunctions will be given, so as to strengthen the management of short-term tutorial centers.
In addition, the Ministry of Education has set up the short-term cram school working member manual, with online review functions in the short-term cram school information management system of each municipality and county (city). The interdepartmental system interface of protective information system has been finalized with the cooperation of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. This assists in reviewing and checking the records of any inappropriate issues regarding working members in short-term cram schools, and also serves as a reference of short-term cram school employee recruitment standards. In addition, the Ministry of Education has established a specific section of inappropriate employee database, in order to provide material evidence for the competent education authorities of local governments to consult, and to prevent these employees from being employed again in other municipalities, counties or cities. In addition, since 2018, the Ministry of Education has provided subsidies to local governments for recruiting new employees, editing and increasing related operational budgeting, and continuously organizing workshops and guidance works. It is expected to strengthen related officers’ professional knowledge and management efficiency in the competent education authorities in local governments, and thus to maintain students’ and families’ rights.
The Promotion of Family Education Support and Service Measures
The systematic promotional work of family education in our nation began in 1986. In the same year, the 5-Year Implementation Project and Revision Program of “the Strengthening of Family Education, Promotion of Social Harmony” were established and declared; and, in addition, the Parental Education Consultation Centers were established in certain municipalities, and counties (cities). In 1992, in response to the development requirements of society, and to achieve the goal of strengthening family education, the Project of Strengthening Family Education, and of Strengthening the Functions of Parental Education was established and announced. In 1992, subsidies were also provided to local governments to establish Family Education Service Centers (later renamed as Family Education Centers); full-time officers were recruited to promote and carry out all sorts of works. From 1999 to 2003, the form of “Learning Family” was promoted in accordance with the White Paper of Developing Toward a Society of Learning.
In 1994, the draft of the Family Education Act was begun. Its focal point was enhancing the related education actions of people’s family education knowledge and skills. In 2003, this Act was revised, legislated, and became the legislative resource for promoting affairs of family education, and of instructing central and local governments to promote related matters. To: strengthen the integration of resources from related departments, offices, schools, and private organizations; enhance the organization missions, and professions of family education centers, and provide people with knowledge and skills related to family education, the Ministry of Education finalized certain parts of the revision of the Family Education Act, which on December 17, 2018, was consigned to the Legislative Yuan to review.
To promote family values and concepts of family education and to integrate resources in promoting family education affairs, the following two projects served as the blueprint: The Second Session of Family Education Promotion Medium Term Project (2018-2021), the Family Education Integration Project in Elementary, Junior High, and Senior High Schools (2013-2017). The following purposes were expected to be achieved: gradually enhancing family education centers and family education promotional institutes and organizations in all places, activating the services and energy of related institutes and organizations, providing diverse learning opportunities and digital learning resources, popularizing all sorts of resources of family education, and enabling people to become familiar with these resources and make good use of them.
The Implementation of Senior Citizen Learning and Active Ageing
Since 2008, based on the concept of “Every County and Town with Senior Citizen Learning”, Active Ageing Learning Centers have been established gradually in all counties and towns. Up until 2018, 360 counties and towns have been provided with subsidies for establishing 368 active ageing learning centers, with 101,760 activities held, for 2,522,054 participants. In addition, active ageing learning centers were encouraged to be set up by senior volunteer groups, in which 11,366 volunteers have taken part. By 2018, there were 1,314 ageing learning clubs and 2,857 ageing learning village spots. In the academic year 107, 107 universities and colleges cooperated to undertake the Active Ageing University Project, in order to provide seniors with diverse learning opportunities. In 2018, for promoting active ageing education, the Pilot Project of Lifelong Learning Activities in Promoting Senior Autonomous Learning Groups was carried out. In this project, 136 leaders were trained, and sent to counties and communities located in peripheral areas to hold activities. 131 groups in total held learning activities in all locations, to strengthen the energy of devotion services. Since 2017, in response to the increasing senior population, the expanding learning requirements, and the coming ageing society, the Ministry of Education has promoted the Senior Citizen Education Medium Term Development Project, for which the operation period is 2017-2020. The targeted service groups are citizens of age 55 and above. With proactive and foresighted viewpoints, diverse learning paths in response to aging people have been planned and created.
The Shaping of Quality Learning Fields of Social and Education Institutions
In 2014, the Ministry of Education began to promote the Experience in Interdisciplinary Fields, Joyful Lifelong Learning –Interdisciplinary Fields Top Up Developmental Project of National Social Education Institutions. In 2017, the Ministry of Education further promoted the Intelligent Services, Joyful Learning for All People – Technology Innovation Services Project of National Social Education Institutions. The intelligent technology and innovative service patterns have been integrated into all social education institutions to attain the following goals: joint resources sharing between institutions, strengthening service quality and innovative software and hardware, and shaping diverse quality learning fields. In 2018, the Overall Development Project of the Taipei Science and Art Areas was carried out. In response to the developmental trends of the area, learning resources have been integrated, a science and art zone with 3 institutions and a park have been continuously established. On November 28, 2018, the Act Governing the Establishment of the Operations Fund for Subordinate Institutions of the Ministry of Education was put into effect, to achieve the following purposes: assisting in activating social education institutions, strengthening the cooperation between schools and industry, motivating social and education institutions to produce new thinking on their financial operations and management, and enhancing lifelong learning promotion with unlimited creativity. In addition, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, joint press conferences of winter and summer vacation activities have been held. A series of lifelong learning activities named “Muse Players” have been carried out. Through paths such as websites, LINE, and Facebook, all sorts of splendid exhibition activities have been promoted, so as to encourage people to participate in learning activities.
Innovative Services and Functions of Libraries
The Ministry of Education established the Implementation Regulations of MOE Subsidies Provisions to National Libraries and Public Libraries to Enhance Reading Quality, in order to provide guidance to municipality, county (city) governments, national libraries, and public libraries to enhance reading environments and service quality, and to encourage them to actively promote all reading activities. To create cozy and reading appropriate spaces, the related strategies were as follows:
1. Establishing quality reading environments in libraries.
2. Encouraging people to read.
3. Reducing the gap of knowledge dissemination between cities and countries.
4. Connecting with the cultural features of each place.
5. Fulfilling comprehensively the multiple functions of public libraries.
6. Providing subsidies to 82 institutions to renew facilities.
7. Continuously promoting 12 area resource centers.
8. Fulfilling the treasure book collection, and its value via systems such as book borrowing, and collection tours between libraries.
9. Planning diverse reading promotional activities for different groups of readers, in different places, and in accordance with the local features of local governments.
In addition to achieving the sustainable development of libraries, and their service efficiency, the Establishment Project of National Library South Branch and Joint Collection Center, and the Medium Term Independent Project of Establishing Cooperative Sharing Public Library System have been promoted. It is expected to set up joyful learning environments for all people, cultivating people with soft power, enhancing operation efficiency, and upgrading developments of countries, cities and related industries.