Teach For Taiwan was established in 2013 as a non-profit organization dedicated to solving educational inequity and aims to create equal educational opportunities for every child. Our vision is that one day, all children in Taiwan, regardless of their background, will have access to an excellent education. This path may not be easy, but TFT believes that as we continue to work towards this vision, gather more like-minded partners, and connect various sectors in society, structural changes for educational equity will be possible.
Why Teach For Taiwan
Taiwanese students’ educational opportunities and participation remain closely associated with their socioeconomic status. The education crisis in Taiwan is a gap in opportunity and achievement between students from high and low socioeconomic backgrounds. According to OECD, this gap is one of the widest in the world.
A child's socioeconomic background predetermines their life options. Research shows that students who grow up in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, are 3.32 times more likely to enroll in college than those in high-need areas. With a total of 814 high-need primary schools in 2015, making up a third of all primary schools in Taiwan, Taiwan’s access to educational opportunity is an urgent issue to address. One of the biggest issues disadvantaged schools face is the high teacher turnover rates, adversely affecting teaching quality. Hence, investing in committed teachers in high-need areas is the key to closing the gap in education quality and opportunities.
TFT Fellowship Program
The two-year TFT fellowship program recruits, trains, and supports talented graduates and professionals to teach in high-need primary schools, and prepares them to be lifelong leaders dedicated to educational equity for the country. Fellows receive over 500 hours of training throughout the two-year journey. They are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary to lead and inspire students in academic and personal growth. In the long run, TFT alumni will continue to work towards solving Taiwan's educational crisis from various sectors.
Through its two-year fellowship program, TFT offers a two-part sustainable, systemic solution to education inequity. First off, TFT brings great teachers to educationally disadvantaged primary schools, thus directly filling the need for teachers and improving children's education. On the other hand, TFT creates a movement of leaders committed to tackling educational inequity. Having been exposed to the reality of educational inequity, our alumni graduate from our fellowship to further deepen their scope of influence through their leadership in different sectors. Together, we are building a network that connects educational institutes, business, government, like-minded organizations, and resources to foster excellent teaching, social innovation, and cross-sector collaborations necessary to achieve educational equity. The structural change we envision not only entails success for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds, but also the collective consciousness and social responsibility of all people to advocate for a world with educational equity.
What Makes Us Unique
99% of Taiwanese children, regardless of background, spend over one-third of their day at primary school. Numerous research has shown that school grants and material resources are utterly insufficient to improving students' learning outcomes and providing them better opportunities in life. Whereas, quality and motivated teachers are the most powerful resource in closing the achievement gap. TFT transforms the education system from within. Our teaching fellows are able to improve education quality for students, introduce new ideas and resources to schools, create an inclusive environment for communities, and advocate for education equity in society. While there are many education NGO's working in these areas, TFT is the only organization in Taiwan that trains and places full-time educators in disadvantaged schools.
TFT's innovative solution represents not only an immediate solution to the lack of quality teachers in disadvantaged schools, but also a long-term investment in the country's brightest future leaders who will take on the challenging charge of driving change in the educational field. Most importantly, we are able to do all this with a strong foundation of trust and goodwill with the players in the existing system. While our model drew upon the inspiration of the Teach for All Global Network, we have actively engaged with existing teachers, policy-makers and scholars in localizing and launching the program, allowing us to scale our impact even beyond the organization.
TFT sent out our first year of 9 TFT fellows to 8 schools in Taitung and Tainan, becoming the starting point for change. Today, TFT has accumulated 121 fellows, 56 alumni, 49 partnering schools, and affects over 3600 students. Our impact spreads over 5 counties and 41 towns. Our alumni are scattered in the education sector, whether it is pursuing teaching in disadvantaged public schools, working in community organizations or educational non-profit organizations, or studying education degree graduate programs. Additionally, partly in response to the TFT movement, the Ministry of Education in Taiwan revised the draft amendment of the Teacher Education Act in 2016. TFT's two-year fellowship program has become an officially recognized internship pathway for national student teachers starting in the academic school year in 2018.