Education has always been of great importance in
Taiwanese society and since 1968 Taiwan has been compulsory,
free of charge for nine years of schooling.
A large part of the families' privately saved funds go to
the children's extra courses and to their higher education.
The education system is largely based on the fact that
families finance support education outside of regular school
hours. Curricula and syllabuses have largely been built
around examinations and the school system is still very much
characterized by competition. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Taiwan.
The compulsory schooling begins at the age of six and
includes a six-year primary school and a three-year lower
secondary school. An increasing number of children attend a
two-year preschool before that. The children usually study
English from year 3. The high school in Taiwan is three
years old. In global comparative tests, Taiwanese students
are among the very best in math and science, while
exhibiting mediocre results at moments that require a
different critical and creative thinking, such as social
In 2011, there were more than 170 universities and
colleges in Taiwan, both state and private. The country's
universities are difficult to claim internationally, and in
the 2010 global ranking there was only one university,
National Taiwan University, among the top 200 in the world.
Efforts are being made by the state to strengthen the
competitiveness of universities, and the education system
has gradually been reformed over the last few decades.
Greater emphasis is placed on English and on international
cooperation, but at the same time the national character of
teaching is emphasized.
Following a corruption scandal involving several of his
family members, Chen declared in June 2006 that he was
handing over some of his governmental powers to the prime
minister, while retaining control of foreign policy, defense
and relations with China.
In November 2006, President Chen's wife was charged with
corruption, and it was further hinted that the president
would also be charged at a later date - despite his
presidential immunity. Many regarded the charges as an
expression of the independence of the Taiwanese judiciary.
In February 2007, Taiwan conducted cruise missile tests
that would be able to achieve targets in Hong Kong and
Shanghai. Tensions between the two states increased further
as China decided to increase its defense spending by 18% in
2007 and the United States decided to increase its military
aid to Taiwan. The United States does not want
reconciliation between the two states, as it will strengthen
China and weaken the United States in the region.
In September, the government passed a resolution
emphasizing Taiwan's independent identity with China,
emphasizing the use of the name Taiwan and pointing to the
application for inclusion in international fora such as the
Kuomintang increased its majority in parliament in the
January 2008 elections, and in March its leader, Ma
Ying-jeou won the presidential election by 58.45% of the
vote. He was posted to the post in May. He won on a program
of increased economic growth and improved relations with
China, which had been severely frozen over the previous 2
years. As Prime Minister, Ma, Liu Chao-shiuan deployed. He
has previous ministerial experience, is a writer and has
been the principal of two of the country's major
universities. The global economic crisis, however, strained
Ma's financial plans. In the first 6 months of his tenure,
2000 companies went bankrupt around Taipei. Growth rose well
to 10% in 2010, and then to decline. In Q1 2013, growth in
the economy was 1.5%.
In 2010, around 50,000 Taiwanese companies had
investments in China, and about $ 1 million. Taiwanese
business people worked on the mainland.
President Ma was re-elected as President in January 2012
with 51.6% of the vote.