The Pioneer Waldorf School in Taiwan
Taiwan: In 1999, Ci Xin Waldorf School in Yilan City developed out of a kindergarten, which existed since 20 years and was being administered by Chun Shu (Sue) Chang. After the first three school years, an agreement was signed in 2002, granting the school an experimental status, and consequently a state recognition for a period of six years. Currently more than 100 children attend the ten kindergarten groups and the school, which operates with two classes from grades 1 to 10 and provides education for about 600 students.
A certain reputation precedes the Taiwanese school system, saying that on one hand it animates to maximum performance - the students in Taiwan are among the world's best - but on the other hand, it tends to a loss of creativity and a massive learning pressure. It is for example very common that, in addition to High School, students attend a so-called Grammar School, a private and therefore costly institution, preparing them for the tough entrance exams of the universities.
A variety of reforms already aimed to improve the school system in order to reduce the burden on students to a socially acceptable level. The local authorities of Yilan were thus open to alternative concepts of education and approved a contract for six years in 2002, which enabled the Ci Xin Waldorf School to receive state funding. After a strict evaluation, which the school passed with excellence in 2008, a second contract was arranged for the following six years.
The Ci Xin school is the largest Chinese-speaking Waldorf school in Asia and therefore it has a particular responsibility for the local Waldorf school movement in general. For each grade there are long waiting lists and the interest in school visits especially by public persons from the government and the universities has increased so much that the school can not serve all requests.
In order not to lose quality during the rapid growth of the school, there is a 3-year course, which trains future teachers in Waldorf education parallel to employment and comprises around 90 participants.
Major challenges for the school are the exams in ninth grade, which are considered as entrance exams to senior high school. Here, the teachers must succeed in a balancing act in order to ensure that the enormous preparation effort, which the students need for the exams, does not replace the artistic approach of Waldorf education. In this regard, it is seen as a success that eurythmy is now being taught in almost every class.
Currently, once again, construction work is in progress because the school has to add a further building. At the same time employees, who will teach in the future high school, receive training, which is necessary, since a law increased compulsory education in 2010 from 9 to 12 years.