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 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 11:10 GMT
Marriage classes for Taiwan couples
Liu Yung-yang, 103-years-old, sits on right with his102-year-old wife Yang Wan, 4 November 2002, the world's longest married couple
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.

See also:

25 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
03 Oct 02 | Health
15 Aug 02 | Health
15 Feb 02 | Health
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