This article discusses the development of Taiwan local education, analyzes the standard of the social study in the elementary schools in Taiwan, and the progress of Grade 1-9 Curriculum in social study field. We find out that the end of martial law was the watershed of local education. Before the end of martial law, the education system was unitary that the goal and content was specified by the government to fulfill the basic national policy of “anti communism and restore the nation.” Emphasizing the national spirit was always the main guideline in the elementary schools. The text books were published by National Institute for Compilation and Translation, and the content was focus on Chinese history and political history. The voice of the local was suppressed.
In 1970s, when facing a series of diplomacy defeats, the independence concept in Taiwan was growing, intriguing a trend of local social, culture, and the research atmosphere on Taiwan history. Experiencing a debate of local literature, Taiwan consciousness was gradually formed. The touch of literature transferred from the advertizing of Chinese nationalism to the care for Taiwan local areas. After the end of martial law, the politic became democratic and localized, which spread to the education system. Legislators of DPP passed many acts on the localization of Taiwan education, including the implementation of mother-tongue education, the history concept from Taiwan’s viewpoint, add contents about Taiwan history, literature, and geographical location in the textbooks. In response to the revolution, Ministry of Education revised the course standard of schools of all level and opened the approval of the textbooks to the public.
In 1993 when the new course standard for elementary school was announced, “local teaching activity” became an independent subject including dialects, local history, local geography, local science, and local art. Every week has one period of class. Ministry of Education also encourages local government self-edit local materials according to the local features. To cope with the coming of new era, there was another revolution on education. Grade 1-9 Curriculum was implanted and “local teaching activity” was cancelled. Except for one dialect class every week, other local education courses were combined into the seven areas. The rise of the environmental protection, the local education was injected with new elements. Not just cultivating students to love their home, town, and country, local education even trains students to care about the environment and the ability to deal with the environmental issues to live harmoniously in this climate changing and disastrous era.
Take Chushan Sheliao Elementary School in Nantou County as an example, when “local teaching activity” was an independent subject, there were teaching materials edited and published by school or Nantou County Government. After the implantation of Grade 1-9 Curriculum, the attitude of the teachers is the key factor whether the fusing local education can be fulfilled. Furthermore, the textbooks used by the country have insufficient content in comply with community and Local Township. Insufficient teaching hours and difficulty in training the teachers are the predicament of local education implantation.