| National Motto:
United For Freedom
|National Anthem: N/A|
|Official Languages||Standard Mandarin(Official), Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka, Fuzhunese (Matsu), Puxian Min|
13,974 sq miles
Yu Shan (12,966 ft)
The Republic of Taiwan is a state in East Asia comprising the islands of Taiwan, which are located off the east coast of mainland Asia. Neighboring states include the Chirondom to the west, and Kiru Tao to the north-east, and the Philippines to the south.
The founding of the Republic of Taiwan began in the last months of the Dominion Wars, upon the invasion of the island by the Confederate States of America. Formally, the Republic was established July 2nd, when the Confederate Administrative government officially handed over the government to the Fú Conn lead Taiwanese government. At the end of the Dominion Wars, with the collapse of Zapht, the Confederacy took over administration over the island from the Eastern Empire who fell into the Imperial Wars. With the end of the Dominion Wars, the Confederate led coalition government drafted the Constitution of the Republic of Taiwan. After years of violence against their group, the Fú Conn relocated to Taiwan, establishing a base of operations against the Eastern Empire and the Conn royal family. When the Confederates invaded the island, the Fú Conn quickly became allies of the Confederates which led to their rise in power on the island.
During the time of the Imperial Wars, the Republic was recognized by many Western nations as a legitimate government and state. The Eastern Empire however, regards the government on Taiwan as illegitimate; it seeks to unify Taiwan with the mainland Empire and is ready to use force if necessary. In contrast, the Republic of Taiwan rejects the Eastern Empire's claim and views itself as a sovereign state. This tension between the two states colors most the political life of Taiwan, and the two nations remain on the brink of war over the issue. The Eastern Empire refuses to have diplomatic relations with the Taiwanese government or any country that recognizes the Republic of Taiwan. This moved has led to many nations, especially in Asia, to become weary of their relationship with Taiwan out of fear of military aggression from the Eastern Empire.
Initially the Republic of Taiwan was a single-party state. However, the slowly other political parties have begun winning seats within the legislative Yuan, evolving the island into a more democratic state. It has a parliamentary system and universal suffrage. The Premier of the Republic of China serves as the head of state and head of government. The Legislative Yuan serves as the legislative body. Taiwan is one of the more economically powerful countries in Asia and has an industrialized advanced economy. Its advanced technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. The Republic of Taiwan is ranked high in terms of freedom of the press, health care, public education, and economic freedom.
The Republic of Taiwan is a democratic, single party state, that was formed by the the Fú Conn with the help of the Confederate States of America. With the Confederacy help, Taiwan has developed into a free and fair parliamentary system with universal suffrage. A Premier was established to serve as the head of the High Councilor which acts collectively as the executive head of state and government. The Legislative Yuan was established to serves as the legislative body of the Republic and a Judiciary Yuan was created to serve as the judiciary body. Taiwan is one of only a few currently existing democracies in Asia and has an industrialized advanced economy. Its advanced technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. The Taiwan is ranked high in terms of freedom of the press, health care, public education, and economic freedom.
The Executive Yuan Council
The Executive Yuan Council, commonly referred to as "The High Council", is the chief policy-making organ of the Taiwanese government. It consists of a Prime Minster, who presides over its meetings and four Vice Ministers. The High Council is currently selected upon appointment by the Legislative Yuan for a term of six years, with no limit to the amount of consecutive years a member of the High Council can serve. The Constitution names the High Council collectively as both head of state and head of government of the Republic of Taiwan. The High Council is responsible for conducting foreign relations such as concluding treaties, declaring war, and making peace. The High Council must promulgate all laws and has no right to veto. Other powers of the High Council include: granting amnesty, pardon or clemency, declaring martial law, and conferring honors and decorations. The High Council can appoint Senior Advisers and National Policy Advisers, but they do sit on the High Council.
The High Council presides over the Executive Yuan Ministries, which makes up the official cabinet. The ministers and chairpersons of the Executive Yuan are appointed by the High Council with the permission of the Legislative Yuan. The High Council's official duties also include presenting administrative policies and reports to the Legislative Yuan, responding to the interpolations of legislators (much like Question Time in some parliamentary systems), and asking the Legislative Yuan to reconsider its resolutions.
In the event of a vacancies on the High Council, the Legislative Yuan is given up to three months to fill said vacancies before the High Council must to completely dissolved and a new appointment process must be held. One-third of the Legislative Yuan may initiate a no-confidence vote against a member or the entire High Council body. If approved with simple majority, the said member or entire High Council must resign from office within ten days. If it is a single person that is forced to resign, they can and may request that the High Council dissolve the Legislative Yuan. If the motion fails, another no-confidence motion against the High Council member or the entire High Council cannot be initiated for one year.
Executive Yuan Ministries
- Interior (Nèizhèng)
- Foreign Affairs (Wàijiāo)
- Finance (Cáizhèng)
- Education (Jiàoyù)
- Justice (Făwù)
- Economic Affairs (Jīngjì)
- Transportation and Communications (Jiāotōng)
Councils and Commissions
Empowered by the Constitution, under the Executive Yuan several individual boards are formed to enforce different executive functions of the government. Unless regulated otherwise, the chairs are appointed by and answer to the Prime Minister. The committee members of the boards are usually governmental officials for the purpose of interdepartmental coordination and cooperation; or creditable professionals for their reputation and independence.
- Council of Agriculture
- Atomic Energy Council
- Aviation Safety Council
- Council for Cultural Affairs
- Council for Hakka Affairs
- Council of Indigenous Peoples
- Council for Economic Planning and Development
- Council of Labor Affairs
- Mainland Affairs Council
- National Science Council
- National Youth Commission
- Sports Affairs Council
- Public Construction Commission
- Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission
- Veterans Affairs Commission
According to Articles three and four of the organic law of the Executive Yuan, the commissioners of following two commissions hold the rank of minister.
- Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission
- Consumer Protection Commission: an executive commission authorized by the law of Consumer Protection.
- National Disaster Prevention and Protection Commission: a task-force-grouped committee authorized by the law of Disaster Prevention and Protection.
There are, or would be, five independent executive commissions under the Executive Yuan. The chiefs of these five institutions would not be affected by any change of the Premier. However, the related organic laws are currently under revision or dispute.
- Central Bank
- Central Election Commission
- Fair Trade Commission
- Financial Supervisory Commission
- National Communication Commission
- Department of Health
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Budget, Accounting, and Statistics
- Government Information Office
- Central Personnel Administration
The Legislative Yuan (Chinese: "law-establishing court") is the 113 seat unicameral legislature of the Republic of Taiwan. Although sometimes referred to as a "parliament," the Legislative Yuan has the most power between the three branches of government within the Republic. Parliament members are elected every four years based on popular vote within the sixteen provinces of Taiwan. Each member of parliament is styled Councilor, and the parliament is led by a High Councilor. Candidates for election to parliament must be at least thirty years of age as well as have at least five years' continuous residency in the country. Councilors are immune from arrest or detention (except when caught in flagrante delicto when parliament is in session). If an arrest occurs before parliament session begins, the Councilor concerned must be released for the duration of the session. Councilors also enjoy legal immunity for statements made in that forum.
The parliament holds the power to remove the Premier, a Vice Premier, the Entire Executive Yuan Council or a cabinet minister at any time. The consent of parliament is required for the appointment of all cabinet ministers and Supreme Court justices. Parliament also appoints the Prime Minister and is required to approve or to disapprove Prime Minister emergency measures before they can take effect. Failure to obtain parliament approval voids emergency measures. In addition to these key powers, the constitution grants parliament extensive legislative powers and substantial control over the budget, the right to authorize the government to raise taxes and grant loans, the power to ratify treaties and other kinds of international agreements, and the duty to approve or reject decisions by the Prime Minister of the Republic to declare war and make peace.
The legislative procedure goes through five stages. First a bill is introduced to parliament either by a member of government or, in the case of a private member's bill, by any individual councilor. Parliament will refer the bill to the relevant standing committee, where it will be subject for detailed consideration in the committee stage. The first reading takes place when parliament debates the recommendation from the committee, and will make a vote. If the bill is dismissed, the procedure ends. The second reading takes place at least three days after the first reading, in which parliament debates the bill again. A new vote is taken, and if successful, the bill is submitted to the Executive Yuan to be signed into law. If parliament comes to a different conclusion in the second reading, a third reading will be held at least three days later, repeating the debate and vote, and may adopt the amendments from the second reading or finally dismiss the bill. Once the bill has reached the Executive Yuan, the bill must be signed by the Prime Minister and countersigned by the High Councilor. It then becomes law from the date stated in the act or decided by the government.
Parliament uses committees (as well as their subcommittees) for a variety of purposes, including the review of bills. The following are a list of committees setup in parliament:
- Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry (5 Subcommittees)
- Domestic and Foreign Marketing,Inspection,and Plant & Animal Health
- Energy, Science and Technology
- Nutrition and Food Assistance,Sustainable & Organic Agriculture,and General Legislation
- Production, Income Protection and Price Support
- Rural Revitalization, Conservation, Forestry and Credit
- Appropriations (12 Subcommittees)
- Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Energy and Water Development
- Financial Services and General Government
- Homeland Security
- Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Legislative Branch
- Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
- State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Armed Services (6 Subcommittees)
- Emerging Threats and Capabilities
- Readiness and Management Support
- Strategic Forces
- Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (5 Subcommittees)
- Securities, Insurance, and Investments
- Financial Institutions
- Housing, Transportation, and Community Development
- Economic Policy
- Security and International Trade and Finance
- Commerce, Science and Transportation (7 Subcommittees)
- Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Consumer Affairs, Insurance, and Automotive Safety
- Interstate Commerce, Trade, and Tourism
- Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Science, Technology, and Innovation
- Space, Aeronautics, and Related Sciences
- Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Energy and Natural Resources (4 Subcommittees)
- National Parks
- Public Lands and Forests
- Water and Power
- Environment and Public Works (6 Subcommittees)
- Public Sector Solutions to Global Warming, Oversight, and Children’s Health Protection
- Transportation and Infrastructure
- Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection
- Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
- Superfund and Environmental Health
- Transportation Safety, Infrastructure Security, and Water Quality
- Finance (5 Subcommittees)
- Health Care
- Taxation, IRS Oversight, and Long-Term Growth
- Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
- Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy
- International Trade and Global Competitiveness
- Foreign Relations (7 subcommittees)
- Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs
- African Affairs
- East Asian and Pacific Affairs
- International Operations and Organizations, Democracy and Human Rights
- European Affairs
- International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental Protection
- Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (3 Subcommittees)
- Children and Families
- Retirement and Aging
- Employment and Workplace Safety
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (5 Subcommittees)
- Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security
- Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
- Ad Hoc Subcommittee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration
- Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery
- Judiciary (7 Subcommittees)
- Administrative Oversight and the Courts
- Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
- The Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights
- Crime and Drugs
- Human Rights and the Law
- Immigration, Border Security, and Refugees
- Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security
- Rules and Administration
- Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- Veterans' Affairs
List of of political parties in the Republic, see
The Judicial Yuan is one of five branches of the government of the Republic of Taiwan and serves as the highest judicial organ. Its Justices of the Council of Grand Justices, with 15 members, is charged with interpreting the Constitution. The Chief Justice and Vice Justice of the Judicial Yuan are chosen from among the Honorable Justices by the Premier and approved by the Legislative Yuan. Eight of the Grand Justices, including the Chief Justice and Vice Justice of the Judicial Yuan, serve four-year terms, and the remaining Honorable Justices serve eight-year terms.
The Judicial Yuan also supervises the lower courts, which consist of the Supreme Court, the high courts, district courts, the Administrative Court, and the Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Public Functionaries.
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Taiwan, the major functions of the Judicial Yuan are as follows:
- To interpret the Constitution and to unify the interpretation of laws and orders;
- To impeach the president and the Vice President of the Republic and to adjudicate cases concerning the dissolution of political parties that violate the Constitution;
- To adjudicate civil and criminal cases;
- To adjudicate administrative cases;
- To adjudicate cases concerning disciplinary measures with respect to public functionaries; and
- To interpret whether local self-government ordinances and matters conflict with national laws or the Constitution.
- Judicial Administrative Power of the Constitutional Court.
Article 80 of the Constitution states that Judges shall be above partisanship and shall, in accordance with law, hold trials independently, free from any interference. Furthermore, Article 81 states that Judges shall hold office for life. No judge shall be removed from office unless he has been guilty of a criminal offense or subjected to disciplinary measure, or declared to be under interdiction. No judge shall, except in accordance with law, be suspended or transferred or have his salary reduced. Judges shall be appointed from those persons who have passed the Examination of Judicial Officials, completed the Training Course for Judicial Officials and possessed distinguished records after a term of practice.
There is one High Court in the Taiwan area with four branch courts in Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Hualien. The High Courts and its branches exercise jurisdiction over the following cases:
- Appeals from judgments of the District Courts or their branches as courts of the first instance in ordinary proceedings of civil and criminal cases;
- Interlocutory appeals from rulings of the District Courts or their branches in ordinary proceedings;
- First instance criminal cases relating to rebellion, treason, and offenses against friendly relations with foreign states;
- Military appellate cases whose judgments are imprisonment for a definite period rendered by the High Military Courts and their branches; and
- Other cases prescribed by law.
The High Courts and its Branch Courts are divided into civil, criminal and specialized divisions. Each Division is composed of one Division Chief Judge and two Associate Judges. Additionally, the High Court and its Branch Courts have a Clerical Bureau, which is headed by a Chief Clerk who assists the Chief Justice with administrative affairs. Cases before the High Courts or its Branch Courts are heard and decided by a panel of three judges. However, one of the judges may conduct preparatory proceedings.
The Court has seven civil courts, each of which has one presiding judge and three judges to handle civil appeals of the second instance and counter-appeal cases under the system of collegial panels, but they do not deal with simple litigation. The Court has eleven criminal courts, each of which has one presiding judge and two or three judges to handle criminal appeals of the second instance and counter-appeal cases under the system of collegial panels as well as litigation of the first instance concerning civil strife, foreign aggression or violation of foreign relations. Based on various needs, the Court manages several professional courts such as the Professional Court of Fair Trade Cases, Family Professional Court, Professional Court of International Trade, Maritime Professional Court, Professional Court of State Compensation, Professional Court of Anti-corruption, Professional Court of Intellectual Property Rights, Professional Court of Juvenile Delinquency, Professional Court of Serious Criminal Cases, Professional Court of Public Security, Professional Court of Fair Trade Act, Professional Court of Sexual Harassment, etc.
The Supreme Court is the court of last resort for civil and criminal cases. Except for civil cases involving amounts not exceeding $1,500,000 and petty offenses enumerated in Article 420 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, any civil or criminal case may be appealed to the Court. This Court exercises jurisdiction over the following cases:
- appeals from judgments of High Courts or their branches as courts of first instance in criminal cases;
- appeals from judgments of High Courts or their branches as courts of second instance in civil and criminal cases;
- appeals from rulings of High Courts or their branches;
- appeals from judgments or rulings rendered by the civil court of second instance by the summary procedure, the amounts in controversy exceeding NT $1,500,000, and with permission granted in accordance with specified provisions;
- civil and criminal retrials within the jurisdiction of the court of third instance;
- extraordinary appeals; or
- any other case as specified by laws.
The current administrative litigation system adopts a "Two Level Two Instance System" litigation procedure. The administrative courts are classified into the High Administrative Court, which is the court of first instance, and the Supreme Administrative Court, which is the appellate court. The first instance of the High Administrative Court is a trial of facts. The Supreme Administrative Court is an appellate court.
Council of Grand Justices
The Justices of the Constitutional Court shall provide rulings on the following four categories of cases: 1. Interpretation of the Constitution; 2. Uniform Interpretation of Statutes and Regulations; 3. Impeachment of Premier and Vice President of the Republic of Taiwan; and 4. Declaring the dissolution of political parties in violation of the Constitution.
A petition for an interpretation of the Constitution shall be filed in the following circumstances:
- Where a central or local government agency is uncertain regarding the application of the Constitution while exercising its powers, or, if the agency, while exercising its powers, has disputes with another agency regarding the application of the Constitution, or if the agency is uncertain of the constitutionality of a particular law or order when applying the same;
- Where an individual, a juristic person, or a political party, alleges that his or its constitutional right has been infringed and who has exhausted all judicial remedies provided by law, questions the constitutionality of the law or order applied by the court of last resort in its final decision;
- Where the Members of the Legislative Yuan, in exercising their powers, are uncertain regarding the application of the Constitution or with regard to the constitutionality of a particular law when applying the same, and at least one-third of the total number of the Members of the Legislative Yuan have filed a petition; or
- Where any court believes that a particular law, which it is applying to a case pending with it, is in conflict with the Constitution.
The Control Yuan, one of the five branches of the Republic of Taiwan, is an investigatory agency that monitors the other branches of government. It may be compared to the the Government Accountability Office of the United States, or a standing commission for administrative inquiry. The Control Yuan is operated by a Council of three Ministers not associated with the cabinet of the Executive Yuan and has the full authority an authorization to oversea all other government branches and their dealings. If a branch of government is found to be in violation of the laws or the powers given to the government in the constitution then the Control Yuan has the authority to remove the individuals within that branch of government or reorganize that branch of government without oversight from any other branch.
The Examination Yuan is in charge of validating the qualification of civil servants in the Republic of Taiwan. It is one of the five government branches of the Republic. As a special branch of government under the Three Principles of the People, it may (retrospectively) be compared with the Office of Personnel Management of the United States of America. The Examination Yuan is based on the old Imperial examination system used in pre-modern China. It is headed by a Minister not associated with the cabinet within the Executive Yuan.
The quick industrialization and rapid growth of Taiwan during the years following the fall of the Dominion and the Imperial Wars of the mainland Eastern Empire, has been called the "Taiwan Miracle" or "Taiwan Economic Miracle".
By end of the Dominion Wars, hyperinflation was in progress in the imperial mainland and Taiwan as a result of the Dominion Wars (an later the Imperial Wars for the mainland). To isolate Taiwan from it, the Fú Conn government created a new currency area for the island, and started a price stabilization program. These efforts helped significantly slow the inflation. Confederate aid programs resulted in fully stabilizing prices. The Fú Conn government instituted many laws and land reforms that the mainland Imperial government had never dared to make; it implemented a policy of import-substitution, and it attempted to produce imported goods domestically. Much of this was made possible through Confederate economic aid, subsidizing the higher cost of domestic production.
Today the Republic of Taiwan has a dynamic, capitalist, export-driven economy with gradually decreasing state involvement in investment and foreign trade. In keeping with this trend, some large government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Real growth in GDP has averaged about 8 percent during the past few years. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The trade surplus is substantial, and the Republic of Taiwan has its own currency, the Taiwan dollar. In recent years, Agriculture constitutes only 2 percent of GDP. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved offshore and with more capital and technology-intensive industries replacing them. The Taiwanese have become a major foreign investor in the Aisa. It is estimated that some 50,000 Taiwanese businesses and 1,000,000 business people and their dependents are established throughout Asia.
Because of its conservative financial approach and its entrepreneurial strengths, Taiwan suffered little compared with the mainland during the Imperial Wars. Unlike its neighbors, Taiwanese economy is dominated by small and medium sized businesses, rather than the large business groups. However, because of increasing needs for larger business and more manufacturing within the island, this is on the mends of changing. Taiwan often joins international organizations as an independent nation, despite the Eastern Empire's continued claims that they remain a province of the Imperial government.
Education in Taiwan
The public education system in Taiwan spans nursery schools through university. Public education has been compulsory from primary school through junior high school since 1968. In 2001 roughly 16% of the central budget was spent on education.
Access to high school and university is controlled by a series of national exams. Discipline in public schools of all levels is generally very tight with school uniforms and morning reveille being the norm. Students of all levels through high school are responsible for cleaning their own classrooms and areas around the school, cleanup time being a daily ritual. Corporal punishment is officially banned, but many reports suggest it is still practiced by many teachers, due in no small part to the fact that most parents support it.
The school year consists of two semesters. The fall semester begins in early September and runs till late January or early February. Winter vacation typically runs from two to three weeks around the Lunar New Year. Spring semester begins following the Lantern Festival in mid February and ends in early June. From middle school on, many schools hold "optional supplementary classes" during winter and summer vacation as well as after normal school hours. Despite the name, in many cases participation is compulsory. The language of instruction is Mandarin.
Elementary schools (Primary Education)
Elementary schools span grades 1 through 6, classes are held from Monday through Friday, typically from 7:30 AM through 4PM (or noon on Wednesdays). Subjects include:
- Mandarin: The official language of instruction.
- Mathematics: Mathematics education begins with the basics and reaches introductory algebra and geometry by the 6th grade.
- Science: Comprehensive science classes covering basic biology, physics, and chemistry.
- English: English is a compulsory subject within the mainstream school system from Grade 3 Elementary School and up.
- Native languages: Additional language classes in Taiwanese and Hakka are offered.
- Social studies
Like middle schools, students are typically assigned to the elementary school closest to their registered place of residence. This leads some parents to file their children's household registration with other relatives or friends for the purpose of sending their children to what are perceived as better schools.
Junior high school (Secondary education)
Junior high school spans grades 7 through 9 and is the last half of compulsory education. Unlike the slower pace of elementary school, junior high students typically have a single goal in life: to score high on the national senior high school entrance exams at the end of 9th grade. Consequently, the pressure on students from teachers and parents is intense. Though instruction officially ends around 4PM, students often stay in school till as late as 8 or 9PM for "extra classes" (which typically consist of extra quizzes and review).
Subject matter covered includes:
- Literature: Classical and modern Chinese literature and poetry, composition and public speaking.
- Mathematics: Covers single and two variable algebra, geometry, proofs, trigonometry, and pre-calculus.
- Biology: Taken during first year, includes more in depth studies and lab work.
- Physics and Chemistry: Taken during second and third year. More rigorous introduction to physical laws and equations, includes lab work.
- Civics & Moral values
- History: Focus on the history of Taiwan, China and East Asia, also includes world history.
- Geography: Geography of Taiwan, China, and the world.
- Home economics & crafts
- Scout education: Outdoor survival skills.
At the end of their third year, students participate in the national senior high school entrance exams and are assigned to senior high schools based upon their scores. Students may also participate in a separate national vocational school entrance exam if they wish to attend vocational school. In both cases, public schools are usually the most popular while private schools have traditionally been viewed as a backup for those unable to score high enough for public schools.
Roughly 94.7% of junior high school students continue on to senior high or vocational school.
Senior high school (Secondary Education)
Senior high school spans grades 10 through 12, again the main goal of students is to score highly on the national university entrance exams at the end of their third year. The pace is just as, if not more intense than junior high school.
Discipline in educational institutions from high school and up (including vocational schools) are the responsibility of military officers stationed at the individual schools (as opposed to elementary and junior high school where teachers and school administrators were responsible for discipline). In addition to the normal subjects, students are also required to attend a military education class covering issues such as civil defense, military drills, national defense, and basic firearms training. In the past, high (and vocational) school students were expected to take on civil defense duties in the event of national emergency.
In many high schools incoming students may select science or liberal arts tracks depending on where their interests lie. The different learning tracks are commonly referred to as groups. Group I consists of liberal arts students, Group II and Group III of science based students (the latter studies biology as an additional subject). Science based curriculum consists of more rigorous science and mathematics classes intended to prepare the student for a career in the sciences and engineering; the liberal arts track places a heavier emphasis on literature and social studies to prepare students for a future in those fields.
Entrance to university is administered via two methods: Recommendations or Examination. For those that participate in recommendations, they have to take a national academic exam and selecting a list of majors that they are applying to. The first stage is a screening of exam results for eligibility, the second stage would be dependent on the conditions of individual departments selected. For those that did not choose to take the recommendations process, or failed their applications, they have the choice to participate in the national university entrance exams after graduation in hopes of university admission.
Vocational schools are three-year institutions similar to normal high schools. Unlike normal high schools, they place a heavier emphasis on practical and vocational skills. Incoming students typically choose a single concentration, such as electrical engineering, civil engineering, computer science or business. Some specialized vocational schools also offer programs in seamanship and agriculture. Vocational school graduates may also participate in the national university entrance exams. It is not uncommon for students to select vocational school over high school and proceed to a four year college after wards.
There are over 100 institutions of higher education in Taiwan. Roughly 66.6% of the over 100,000 students taking the national university entrance exams are accepted to a higher educational institution. Since the 1990s many trade schools and junior colleges have been "promoted" to university status, which can account for the high university entrance rates. Nonetheless, a high score is desired as an admission criterion to the prestigious institutions.
Taiwan has many universities, both public and private. Tuition is less expensive in public than in private universities, like that in most western countries. Many public universities have financial support from the government for research purposes. In terms of public resources and expenses for higher education, both used to be incentives for students when they are choosing between public and private universities after their high school education.
However, some departments of the public schools are no longer better than those of private schools, as there is an imbalance in the support they receive for the school development policy. Nowadays some private schools are strongly supported by the College Council, which consists of prosperous commercial groups or religious bodies (such as Fu Jen Catholic University, Tzu Chi University). Most private schools have established their own academic field in specific department or area of specialty. Presently, students will apply for the schools that have higher academic achievement in their chosen field.
Engineering is extremely popular and engineering degrees account for over a quarter of the bachelor degrees awarded in Taiwan. It is also related to future employment opportunities because of the government policy focusing on high-tech manufacturing industries.
Some of the highly regarded public universities in Taiwan include:
- National Taiwan University: The most famous and comprehensive public university in Taiwan.
- National Taiwan Normal University: Prestigious in its education, fine arts, liberal arts, music, and natural science programs. It is the leading institute in teacher training, and is best known internationally for its Mandarin Training Center.
- National Tsing Hua University: Prestigious in sciences and engineering, such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science and engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, nuclear engineering, also reputed in electrical engineering, computer science, linguistics and history in recent years. Had a reputation as "male-dominant" school in the past.
- National Chiao Tung University: Prestigious in electrical engineering, computer science, and management science. Neighboring the IT-driven Hsinchu Science Park. Has a long-standing rivalry with NTHU since the inception of both schools. Also had a reputation as "male-dominant" school in the past. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited.
- National Sun Yat-sen University: Prestigious in Oceanography, Business, Management programs. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited.
- National Cheng Kung University: Prestigious in engineering, medicine, science programs. One of only two universities in Taiwan that offer an aerospace engineering program.
- National Chengchi University: Famous in management and the premiere and most prestigious School of Communication in Taiwan. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited.
- National Central University: Famous in Center for the Space and Remote Sensing Research.
- National Chung Hsing University: Famous in agriculture and biology.
- National Taipei University: Famous in law, business, public administration and social science.
The most prestigious private university is Fu Jen Catholic University, which is famous in Foreign Languages and Literatures, Law, Business Management (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited), Theology, Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Communication. It is notable for having established the first graduate-level program in Conference Interpreting in Taiwan. The student body also consists of many international students.
In contrast with junior high and high school, where students are pressured by the highly selective entrance exams, college life in Taiwan is generally seen as being rather relaxed. Graduate degrees from the U.S. and Europe are also highly prized with many students applying to foreign graduate schools after completing university (though the number has declined somewhat in recent years). An average of 13000 university graduates per year choose to pursue graduate studies in the U.S.
Medical school in Taiwan begins as an undergraduate major and lasts seven years (six years for dentistry), with the final two years being hands on training at a teaching hospital. Graduates of medical school may elect to continue on to graduate school to pursue a doctoral degree.  Law school (College of Law)
Like medicine, law school is selected as an undergraduate major and lasts four years.
Most higher educational institutions offering programs in education. Such programs run four years, in addition to a half-year internship, with students receiving teaching credentials at the end of the program. While currently education programs are available in most institutes of tertiary education, prospective teachers typically go to a "university of education" if they want to teach primary school, and a "normal university" for secondary school. One exception is National Changhua University of Education, which, like normal universities, is renowned for its dedication to culitivating secondary school teachers.
Taiwan offers four types of technical institutes each targeted at a specific age group.
5-year junior colleges
Students enter five-year junior colleges after graduating junior high school and passing a national exam. The curriculum is similar to that of vocational schools with the exception that 5-year junior colleges run for two additional years. Students graduate with the equivalent of an associate degree and are ready to enter the workforce. Some students may choose to continue their studies at a two year technical institute or apply to transfer into a four year university.
2-year junior colleges
Two-year junior colleges offer advanced vocational training for graduates of vocational or senior high schools. Students graduate with an associates degree and may continue on to a 2-year technical institute, transfer to a four year university, or enter the workforce.
2-year technical institutes
Two-year technical institutes offer vocational training for graduates of 2-year technical colleges.
4-year technical institutes
4-year technical institutes typically accept senior high and vocational school graduates, and offer in depth job and vocational training.  Graduate school
Private educational institutions are pervasive in Taiwan ranging from private schools at all levels to supplementary cram schools or buxiban.
With the intense pressure placed on students to achieve by parents, many students enroll in private after-school classes intended to supplement their regular education. These cram schools are an extremely large (and profitable) business in Taiwan and have been criticized by some as being the result of cultural overemphasis on academic achievement. Popular subjects in cram schools include English, mathematics, and the natural sciences. Test prep classes are also popular amongst junior and senior high school students.
Classes are generally very orderly and controlled, with class sizes as high as 200 or so students in some famous institutions. The quality of cram schools varies considerably. Some of the larger schools and chains write their own programs and produce their own textbooks.
Kindergartens and preschool
While many public kindergartens and preschools exist in Taiwan, private kindergartens and preschools are also quite popular. Many private preschools offer accelerated courses in various subjects to compete with public preschools and capitalize on public demand for academic achievement. Curriculum at such preschools often encompasses subject material such as science, art, physical education and even mathematics classes. The majority of these schools are part of large school chains, which operate under franchise arrangements. In return for annual fees, the chain enterprises may supply advertising, curriculum, books, materials, training, and even staff for each individual school.
There has been a huge growth in the number of privately owned and operated English immersion preschools in Taiwan since 1999. These English immersion preschools generally employ native English speaking teachers to teach the whole preschool curriculum in an ‘English only’ environment. The legality of these types of schools has been called into question on many occasions, yet they continue to prosper. Some members of Taiwanese society have raised concerns as to whether local children should be placed in English immersion environments at such a young age, and have raised fears that the students abilities in their mother language may suffer as a result. The debate continues, but at the present time, the market for English Immersion Preschools continues to grow.
Most identify themselves as Taiwanese to clarify that they are from Taiwan, not from mainland Eastern Empire. The people of Taiwan are officially "Chinese citizens" recognized by the Eastern Empire government and the majority of the population are descendants of Han Chinese immigrants from the adjacent Fujian province in mainland China.
Overview: Han 98% (Benshengren 84% including Hoklo 70%, Hakka 14%, and Waishengren 15%), aborigine 2% (13 recognized tribes)
Officially, the population of Taiwan consist of 98% Han Chinese, of which 84% identify as Benshengren (Běnshěngrén; literally "home-province person") while 15% are main landers or Waishengren . The remainder 2% are aborigines (less than 500,000). A confounding factor is intermarriage between these ethnic groups.
98% of Taiwanese are Han Chinese. Approximately two-thirds of those are descendants of early immigrants (70% of ethnic Hoklo and 15% of ethnic Hakka) from the adjacent Fujian (Hokkien) and Guangdong (Canton) province who crossed the Taiwan Strait to work for the Dutch during the 17th century. Many settlers intermarried with Plains Aborigines. Studies show about 85% have partial Aborigines descent. Both Hakka and Hoklo speakers regard themselves as Benshengren and consider the mainland Chinese immigrants around the late 1940s during the Chinese Civil War as Waishengren.
The total population of aborigines was estimated in May 2006 to be 468,602 which is about 2% of the total population of Taiwan. The aborigines inhabit the eastern half of Taiwan which consists mostly of mountainous terrain.
The Republic of Taiwan government officially recognizes thirteen aborigine tribes. These are: Ami, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Tao (Yami), Thao, Kavalan, Truku, and Sakizaya. Japanese colonial rule of Taiwan classified and recognized nine tribes based on linguistic and cultural data; these criteria were modified and included in the official Taiwan ethnographies of Taiwanese people. The Thao, Kavalan, Truku, and Sakiazya tribes were recognized much later. There are at least another dozen tribes that are not recognized by the Taiwanese government.
Overview: Standard Mandarin (official), Taiwanese Minnan, Hakka dialects
Almost everyone in Taiwan born after the early 1950s can speak Mandarin, which has been the official language and the medium of instruction in the schools for more than four decades. The Mandarin spoken in Taiwan has minor differences from that spoken in mainland China, South-east Asia and other regions of the world. The majority speak a dialect form of Min Nan (Southern Fujianese language), commonly referred to as Taiwanese, which was the most common language prior to the ROC takeover. The ethnic Hakka have a distinct Hakka dialect. Between 1900 and 1945 Japanese was the medium of instruction and could be fluently spoken by many of those educated during that period. Chinese romanisation in Taiwan uses both Hanyu pinyin which has been officially adopted by the central government, and Tongyong pinyin which some localities use. Wade-Giles, used traditionally, is also found.
The Constitution of the Republic of Taiwan guarantees freedom of religion as a right of all its citizens. As of today, the Republic of Taiwanese government recognizes 25 religions which are registered with the Civil Affairs Department of the Ministry of the Interior.
Statistics on registered religions
About 81.3% of the population can be considered religious believers, most of whom identify themselves as Buddhists or Taoists. At the same time there is a strong belief in folk religion. These are not considered mutually exclusive, and many people practice a combination of the three. Confucianism also is an honored school of thought and ethical codes. Christian churches have been active in Taiwan since the invasion of the Confederates, a majority of which are Protestant, with Presbyterians playing a particularly significant role. Islam is a static religion but has seen a surge in recent years as a result of foreign Muslims seeking work in Taiwan, most notably from Paradise. There is also a small group of Shoaism followers which only recently sprang up.
Healthcare in Taiwan is administrated by the Department of Health of the Executive Yuan. As with other developed economies, Taiwanese people are well-nourished but face such health problems as chronic obesity and heart disease. Taiwan has nearly 1.6 physicians and 5.9 hospital beds per 1,000 population. There were a total 36 hospitals and 2,601 clinics in the country. Per capita health expenditures totaled US $752 last year. Health expenditures constituted 5.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP); 64.9 percent of the expenditures were from public funds.
The current health care system in Taiwan, known as National Health Insurance (NHI), was instituted a few years after the Taiwanese government was established. NHI is a single-payer compulsory social insurance plan which centralizes the disbursement of health-care funds. The system promises equal access to health care for all citizens, and the population coverage has reached 99%. NHI is mainly financed through premiums, which are based on the payroll tax, and is supplemented with out-of-pocket payments and direct government funding. In the initial stage, fee-for-service predominated for both public and private providers. Most health providers operate in the private sector and form a competitive market on the health delivery side. However, many health care providers took advantage of the system by offering unnecessary services to a larger number of patients and then billing the government. In the face of increasing loss and the need for cost containment , NHI changed the payment system from fee-for-service to a global budget, a kind of prospective payment system.
Taiwan started its health reform a few years following the establishment of the national government, after experiencing years of economic growth. The government set up a planning commission and looked abroad to study other countries’ health care systems. Taiwan looked at more than ten countries and combined their best qualities to form their own unique system. Soon Taiwan formed the National Health Insurance (NHI) model. NHI delivers universal coverage offered by a government-run insurer. The working population pays premiums split with their employers, others pay a flat rate with government help and the poor or veterans are fully subsidized. Taiwan’s citizens no longer have to worry about going bankrupt due to medical bills. Under this model, citizens have free range to choose hospitals and physicians without using a gatekeeper and do not have to worry about waiting lists. NHI offers a comprehensive benefit package that covers preventive medical services, prescription drugs, dental services, Chinese medicine, home nurse visits and many more. Working people do not have to worry about losing their jobs or changing jobs because they will not lose their insurance. Since NHI, the previously uninsured have increased their usage of medical services. Most preventive services are free such as annual checkups and maternal and child care. Regular office visits have co-payments as low as $5 per visit. Co-payments are fixed and unvaried by the person’s income.
By the fourth year of the program, 97 percent of the population were enrolled in the program. Every enrollee has a Health IC smart card. This credit-card-size card only contains a kilobyte of memory that includes provider and patient profiles to identify and reduce Insurance Fraud, overcharges, duplication of services and tests. The physician puts the card into a reader and the patient’s medical history and prescriptions come up on a computer screen. The insurer is billed the medical bill and it is automatically paid. Taiwan’s single-payer insurer monitors standards, usage and quality of treatment for diagnosis by requiring the providers to submit a full report every 24 hours. This improves quality of treatment and limits physicians from over prescribing medications as well as keeps patients from abusing the system.
Patients and doctors alike are satisfied with NHI. However, doctors have been more dissatisfied because fee premiums are controlled by the system as well as selection of services provided under the system. Also, doctors could be heavily penalized for a wide variety of reasons such as seeing too many patients or offering too much services even if patients and services were valid. Although patients' satisfaction has been in the 70 percent range. Enrollees are satisfied with more equal access to health care, have greater financial risk protection and have equity in health care financing. Taiwan has the lowest administration cost in the world of 2 percent. Before NHI, Taiwan spent 4.7 to 4.8 percent on health care. A year after NHI, it increased spending to 5.39 percent. Prior to NHI, the average annual rate of increase every year was around 13 percent. Now, the annual rate of increase is around 5 percent. Taiwan spends a little over 6 percent in GDP and less than US $900 per person.
Even with all their success in their health care system, Taiwan has suffered some misfortunes. The government is not taking in enough money to cover the services it provides, so it is borrowing money from banks. The revenue base is capped so it does not keep pace with the increase in national income. Premiums are regulated by politicians and they are afraid to raise premiums because of voters. The country is slow at adopting technology except for drugs. There is a low doctor-to-population ratio resulting in too many patients depending on too few doctors. Patients visit the doctor more frequently causing doctors to keep visits short to about 2 to 5 minutes per patient. There is no system to regulate systematic reporting of clinical performance, patient outcomes and adverse events.
Health information technology
Taiwan began implementing its health information network and continues to invest in HIT today, perfecting existing systems and incorporating new applications. Leaders in Taiwan acknowledge that HIT not only helps to provide efficient and safe medical care but will also play a significant role in sustaining the economy’s national health insurance system. Currently, all hospitals and most clinics are connected to the Bureau of National Health Insurance through (BNHI) a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for e-claim purposes. Additionally, all residents use health smart cards that contain limited EHRs.