The top priority of administering public affairs is "putting the wise and competent persons in the right positions." This country's public servants recruitment system dated back to Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), when intellectuals joined the government service through fair competitions. Since then, selecting competent persons through open and fair examinations has become a feature of the country's political system. The Five-Power Constitution, designed by the Republic of China's national founding father Dr. Sun Yat-sen, contains the strengths of the traditional Chinese political system and those of the Western democracies by adding examination and control to the three branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial) of the West. In Oct. 1928, the ROC government promulgated the Organic Law of the Government of the Republic of China, defining the duties of the five Yuans (branches) of the government. In1930, the Examination Yuan was established to take charge of holding national examinations and recruiting public functionaries as well as running the personnel system, laying a solid foundation for the country's civil service development. The Examination Yuan has over the past eight decades worked inconcert with the other four branches of the government - the Executive Yuan, the Legislative Yuan, the Judicial Yuan and the Control Yuan - to promote national development.
On Oct. 10, 1928, the Nationalist Government appointed Tai Chuan-hsien as the President of the Examination Yuan, thereupon changing his residence at Piyang Alley in Nanking City into an organizing office and selecting then Kuanyueh Temple as the site for building the offices of the Examination Yuan which included the Examination Committee and the Ministry of Civil Service. Following that, the Nationalist Government promulgated the Organic Act of the Examination Yuan, the Organic Act of the Ministry of Civil Service, and the Organic Act of the Examination Committee respectively on Oct.20, 1928, Dec. 7, 1928 and Aug. 1, 1929. On Jan. 6, 1930, the Examination Yuan and the two ministries under it - the Examination Committee (later transformed into the Ministry of Examination) and the Ministry of Civil Service - were formally established and this branch of government started to carry out its official duties. Examination Yuan President Tai Chuan-hsien (also Chairman of the Examination Committee), Vice President Sun Ke, Examination Committee Vice Chairman Shao Yuan-chung and Minister of Civil Service Chang Nan-hsien were inaugurated. In December of the same year, Tai was released from his side job as Chairman of the Examination Committee and Shao was appointed to that post. In July, 1937, Sino-Japanese War broke out, and four months later, the Examination Yuan moved to Szechuan Province along with the Nationalist Government. The Government stayed there until the end of the war, so the Examination Yuan returned to Nanking together with other government departments in 1945.
In 1947, the Constitution of the Republic of China was promulgated and its implementation began on Dec. 25. With that, the Organic Act of the Examination was amended and made public anew. On July 10, 1948, Chang Po-ling was inaugurated as Examination Yuan President; the first Examination Committee was also launched. In 1949, after the Nationalist Government moved to Taiwan, the Examination Yuan tentatively moved to the Confucius Temple in Talungtung,Taipei. In 1951, the Yuan settled in its current address in Mucha, Taipei.
Article 83 of the ROC Constitution stipulates that the Examination Yuan shall be the highest examination organ of the State and shall be in charge of matters relating to examination, employment, registration, performance rating, scales of salary (remuneration), promotion and transfer, security of tenure,commendation, pecuniary aid in case of death, retirement and old age pension.
As the Constitution had undergone several amendments between 1991 and 2005, Article 6 of the Amendment says The Examination Yuan shall be the highest examination body of the State, and shall be responsible for the following matters; and the provisions of Article 83 of the Constitution shall be temporarily suspended: 1. Holding of examinations; 2. Matters relating to the qualification screening, security of tenure, pecuniary aid incase of death, and retirement of civil servants; and 3. Legal matters relating to the employment, discharge, performance evaluation, scale of salaries, promotion, transfer, commendation and award of civil servants.
So, there have been some minor changes to the Yuan's duties.
The Examination Yuan is staffed by a president, a vice president, and 19 ministers without portfolio, each with a six-year term of office. Other staff members include a secretary-general and a deputy secretary-general whose main job is to assist the president in handling the day-to-day affairs. Under their leadership are ministries, departments, divisions, offices and councils, each with specific duties.
The Examination Yuan Council consists of the Yuan's president, vice president,19 ministers without portfolio and chiefs of the various ministries and departments. The Council decides major policies and businesses as required by the Constitution. Two ministries and two commissions were set up under the Examination Yuan. The Ministry of Examination administers national examinations for civil servants and professional and technical personnel. The Ministry of Civil Service is responsible for the qualification screening, pecuniary aid in case of death, and retirement of public functionaries, as well as legal matters concerning their employment, discharge, performance appraisal, pay grading, promotion, transfer, commendation, and award. The Civil Servants Protection and Training Commission is in charge of policies and legal matters concerning the protection of civil servants' rights and interests, as well as giving courses on administrative neutrality and providing training for newly promoted public servants and those newly qualified through written examinations. The National Academy of Civil Service was set up under the Commission to facilitate the training of civil servants and the upgrading of their skills. The Public Service Pension Fund Supervisory Board is in charge of review, oversight, and evaluation of the civil service retirement pension fund. According to the Organic Provisions of the Central Personnel Administration under the Executive Yuan, the Examination Yuan exercises oversight over its recruitment of civil servants and other operations.
It has been 80 years since the establishment of the Examination Yuan, with Tai Chuan-hsien serving as its president for the first 20 years. After the ROC Constitution was promulgated in 1947, the country has seen 11 terms of Yuan presidents: Chang Po-lin (1st term, but he did not come to Taiwan and the remaining 2 years was filled by Niu Yung-chien), Mo Te-hui (2nd and 3rd terms), Sun Ke (4th and 5th terms), Yang Liang-kung (5th term), Liu Chi-hung (6th term), Kung Te-cheng (7th and 8th terms), Chiu Chuang-huan (8th term), Hsu Shui-te (9th term), Yao Chia-wen (10th term) and Kuan Chung (11th term). Kuan did not assume office until Dec., 2008 as the Yuan's Vice President Wu Chin-lin was acting in that capacity up to Nov.,2009.
Under the leadership of the past and present presidents, the Examination Yuan has made numerous changes to the civil service system in step with the times to meet the needs of the public. All these changes have been made in the spirit of building a modern and competitive civil service system that will constantly improve public well-being and ensure a sustainable development of the nation. It is hoped that with the encouragement and supervision from all sectors of society, the Examination Yuan's civil servant recruitment and training as well as other operations will make progresses from day to day.