Inquiring into the Policy of Integration of Early Childhood Education and Care in Taiwan: From a Politics of Difference

Sunday, 10 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Feng-Jihu LEE, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan
The pursuit of social justice and capacity for self-development has been regarded as one of the major goals that all the democratic societies should run for it. However, the provision of equal educational opportunity in Taiwan is more focused on lower and upper secondary education systems, such as 9-year compulsory education enacted in 1968 and 12-year basic education enacted in 2011, and less on preschool education provision. On the other hand, the policy of equality of educational opportunity in current Taiwan is more like the distributive paradigm which restricts the meaning of social justice to the morally proper distribution of material goods such as resources, income and wealth. This kind of policy tends to ignore the social structure and institutional context that often help determine distributive patterns. While distributive issues are crucial to a satisfactory conception of justice, as Iris Young argues, it is a mistake to reduce social justice to distribution. Young’s politics of difference remind us that the concept of social justice includes all aspects of institutional rules and relations, and the concepts of domination and oppression, rather than the concept of distribution, should be the starting point for a conception of social justice. Since the Policy of Integration of Early Childhood Education and Care was enacted in 2012, there are still some controversies with the provision of equal opportunity for early childhood education, such as the defects of the policy, the difference of policy design, the diversification of interest parties, the lack of fair competition environment, and so on. Therefore, this paper, by means of Young’s politics of difference, rather than the distributive policy, tries to inquire into whether and how the Policy of Integration of Early Childhood Education and Care can achieve social justice and capacity for self-development in Taiwan’s early childhood education system.