The proportion of small schools in Taiwan continues to increase, with public elementary schools with 12 or fewer classes reaching 55.3% in 2021. In addition to inherent factors such as geography, transportation, and culture, the impact of a declining birthrate has exacerbated the situation. In an era of diverse educational development, small schools face various challenges. How to overcome these challenges and turn the advantages and characteristics of small schools into strengths, nurturing students who meet the demands of the times, is an important issue. At present, the primary policy direction for small schools in Taiwan focuses on cost and student learning motivation, often leading to proposals for closures and mergers. However, considering the advantages and unique characteristics of small schools and transforming them into another possible development focus is a key consideration. This paper aims to explore the current challenges faced by small schools in Taiwan, which go beyond geographical, cultural, and declining birthrate-related issues. It also includes operational difficulties such as inadequate infrastructure, teaching equipment, low teacher retention rates, and lower student learning outcomes. The study focuses on 15 schools with fewer than 50 students and investigates the current state of small school transformation and development. Through the perspectives of small school education policy, school transformation models, and the application of learning technology, the paper discusses four aspects: 1) educational policy administration and financial support. 2) school-based curriculum features or the promotion of experimental education transformation. 3) systematic inter-school regional cooperation. 4) promotion of the application of learning technology. These aspects are proposed as references for the development and transformation of small schools."
Chun-Tzu Yang, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
Kuo-Liang Yen, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan