2015 年 21 巻 p. 75-90
The current tide of massification, marketization and globalization of higher education has encouraged many countries to adopt a more positive stance on enriching and reforming the First Year Experience (FYE). FYE started in the United States in the late 19th century and from the 1970s, it started flourishing nationwide. In Japan, the FYE was initiated around 2000 and became widely practiced. According to previous research, greater attention to accountability, educational emphasis, and student diversity in higher education has given rise to the rapid growth of FYE both in Japan and the U.S.
However, because the faculty structure in Japanese higher education is divided into different specialized studies, FYE in Japanese higher education has developed differently from its US counterpart. While FYE in U.S. colleges and universities tends to concentrate on students’ social life, in Japan emphasis is placed on academic life. Higher education in Taiwan has a number of similarities with Japan in terms of their educational systems, especially the faculty structure. But its FYE, which has been growing rapidly since the late 2000s, more closely resembles the American FYE.
From this, the following two questions arise. The first asks whether there are any universal causes for the worldwide development of FYE. Secondly, why, despite the common reasons for introducing FYE programs, do its actual forms vary in different countries? These questions need to be investigated in order to reach a theoretical understanding of FYE's development. As the first step of the investigation, this paper focuses on Taiwan's FYE and examines why it has developed so differently from Japan, despite the similarities between their higher education systems.
Taiwan’s FYE has been growing rapidly since the late 2000s, but there have been very few studies dealing with it. This paper first discusses the higher education reform in Taiwan because of the close link between the development of FYE. It then focuses on two main aspects of FYE: its development process and its content structure. Finally, three features of FYE in Taiwan are examined based on the literature and on the results of questionnaire-based research conducted by the author.
The results show that (a) Taiwan's FYE has been extended and diversified as a part of reforms in higher education; (b) the policies of the Taiwanese government, which play a key role in the significant growth of FYE after the mid-2000s, were influenced by market economy theory; and (c) Taiwan's FYE aims to help first year students to achieve not just a successful start of school life and academic performance, but is also geared toward promoting holistic education that would have a life-long effect on its recipients. Finally, some significant aspects of FYE, including 'reforms and managements', and 'the decline of academic ability' are suggested as possibilities for further studying FYE.