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.
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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.
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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 science subjects.
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.
Taiwan flag source: Countryaah.com
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 UN.
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.