Education reform in Hong Kong and Taiwan : a comparative perspective

Document Type


Source Publication

The 12th Annual International Conference on Education

Publication Date



Education Research Unit, Athens Institute for Education and Research


Education all over the world has undergone drastic changes since the 1990s because of globalisation and changing economy. The traditional monolithic education system has to give way to a multifarious education system, which can provide a breeding ground for a life-long learning community and multi-talented people. The new vision of education needs to be realized through education reform. Education reform has become a global phenomenon and drastic measures have been taken to change the education system in different countries, particularly those in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hong Kong and Taiwan are both open and capitalistic Chinese societies rooted in the same traditional Chinese culture. Both belong to the ‘Four Little Dragons in Asia’. In order to increase their competitive edge in the globalised economy, they both see the need to reform their education systems, which are rigid and examination-oriented in nature. Taiwan initiated its reform in 1994, four years ahead of Hong Kong. The actual implementation started in 2001. Numerous measures have been taken to change different aspects of education, for example, the admission system, the curriculum, the assessment system, school and university types, teacher training, etc. Issues and problems have arisen from the education reform in these two regions during the past decade.

A comparative study comprising both the quantitative and qualitative components has been conducted on the education reform in the school sector in Hong Kong and Taiwan. This paper examines the changing visions and missions of education reform in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and attempts to address some key problems and issues, drawing on the data from the documentary study, the surveys, and the field study conducted in Taiwan during September 2007 and April 2008.

One finding of the present comparative study is that Hong Kong and Taiwan share similar visions and missions in their education reform but with different foci due to their own historical and social development. Both regions are also facing common problems as well as respective unique problems.



Recommended Citation

Poon, A. Y. K., & Wong, Y.-c. (2010, May). Education Reform in Hong Kong and Taiwan: A comparative perspective. Paper presented at the 12th Annual International Conference on Education, Athens, Greece.

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