- MARRIAGE CLASSES FOR TAIWAN

> Taiwan passes a 'family education bill'  which requires couples to
> attend a class on managing a family before getting married.

Tuesday, 7 January, 2003

Marriage classes for Taiwan couples

Many Taiwanese could look to this couple for inspiration Taiwan has passed
new laws which require couples to attend a class on how to manage a family
before getting married.

In a bid to stem Taiwan's spiralling divorce rate, the "family education
bill" requires couples who are ready to tie the knot must first take a
four-hour course.

The class will include advice on child-rearing and budgeting, the Associated
Press news agency reported.

Chiang Chi-wen, one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill, said Taiwanese
society needed to stop relying on the authorities to deal with the fall-out
from dysfunctional families.

Back to basics

"We've done too much from the downstream, but the root of the problems
really rests on families," Ms Chiang said.

She said that the courses could help men and women understand their roles
within marriage.

Feminists blame the rising divorce rate partly on women's rising intolerance
of male chauvinism, as their education and job opportunities improve.

Taiwan may have the world's longest-married couple - Liu Yung-yang and Yang
Wan, who have been married for 85 years - but it also has one of the highest
divorce rates in Asia, Ms Chiang said.

One out of three couples in Taiwan seek a divorce, she said.

T.

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