Education in China
Published by UNESCO "UNION NACIONAL DE EDUCACION SUPERIOR CONTINUA
"NATIONAL UNION OF
CONTINUOUS ORGANIZED HIGHER EDUCATION"
To serve the
needs of over 1 billion people, China has developed a vast and thorough state
administered public education system. The Chinese education system offers
schooling from pre-school to graduate school and mandates that every child
receive a basic education.
However, with such a large population, there is extreme
pressure put on the students to excel, as space in the best senior
secondary schools and universities are limited. Students who desire higher
education must take two very difficult tests, each only offered once a year.
The Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education, headquartered in Beijing,
is the state department responsible for the education system in China. In their
mission to "modernize China through education", they certify
teachers, standardize textbooks and curriculum, and enforce national education
The Law of Nine-Year Compulsory Education
The Law of Nine-Year Compulsory Education took affect
July 1, 1986 and established deadlines and requirements in an effort to attain
a universal education for all school aged children. The law requires that all
children attend school for a minimum of nine years.
Although the bill authorizes tuition free education
for the compulsory nine years, this remains a target rather than a reality. The
government does work to reduce the cost of tuition and supplies and also
provide stipends for poor families.
History of the Modern Education of China
The elder statesmen from the Revolution of 1911, He
Ziyuan (1865-1941) and Qiu Fengjia (1864-1912), successfully established some
Western-style schools, such as Yunandong Primary School (in 1885), Tongren School
(1888) and Xingmin School (1903) in Guangdong Province in the late 19th
century, symbolizing the birth of Chinas modern education.
Under such a great pressure, the Qing government carried out a series of
reforms on education, and abolished the old-fashioned imperial examination
system and then established modern schools across the nation in 1905. It was
not until 1909 that the local civil service examination system was completely
terminated; instead, the Western-style schools sprung up all over China, which
fostered numerous talents for the Republic of China (1911-1949).
From 1949 -
Since the foundation of the PRC in 1949, the Chinese
education system has been modeled on the Soviet Unions education system (a
‘spoon-feeding education system), and a number of comprehensive universities
were established one after another in China. Owing to many industrial and
technical talents badly needing to set up a complete modern industrial system
at the beginning of the foundation of the PRC, the former comprehensive
universities were divided into vocational and technical colleges by the Chinese
government; at the same time, the college entrance examination system had been
established by 1955. It was canceled later owing to the Cultural Revolution
(1966-1976) which was started by Mao Zedong (1893-1976). The Cultural
Revolution wasted the talents of a whole generation, leaving millions of
students with a lost opportunity to get educated. The intellects were not
venerated by the society during the Cultural Revolution, and they met with
severe persecution and their properties were confiscated; they were even
branded the “stinking ninth category” (a term of abuse by ultra-Leftists for
teachers and other educated people in the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution, next
to landlords, reactionaries and even spies).
It was not until 1977 that the college entrance
examination was resumed by Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997). Though education for
all-round development has been put forth since 1995, the learning
pressure for the Chinese students has never been alleviated, and the
number of continuation classes for them are increasing year by year. The
college enrollment expanding policy has been implemented since the 1990s,
enabling numerous students to realize their dream of going to college, however,
the employment outlook looks gloomy owing to the higher pressure of
The education fee has rocketed rapidly in recent years
owing to the policy of industrialization of education, which is a heavy burden
for the families from rural areas to bear. Great changes have taken place in
the Chinese education system since 1990, and the Chinese central government has
allowed private capital to enter into the field of education. A large number of
private schools have sprung up across China in recent years, making the
tendency of selecting schools for students more and more popular.
Modern Education System
The modern education system of China is composed of
three parts: pre-school education, basic education and higher education. The
Chinese government made a law for a free nine-year compulsory education (six
years of primary education and three years of secondary education) on July 1,
1986, which established the requirements for attaining a universal education
and guaranteed school-age children the right to receive at least nine years of
education. Its considered to be a crime for the
parents to deprive their children of this right in cities of China.
Schools in China are divided into four levels.
for children ages 6 to 11, covers the first six years of their compulsory
school, students continue on to junior middle school. In junior middle school
students will complete grades 7, 8, and 9, as well as their compulsory
choose tom continue with their education they will advance to senior middle
school, the equivalent of high school in the United States, and finish grades
10, 11, and 12.
will have the option of attending university or entering the workforce.
As usual, the pre-school education starts at age three
and ends at age six, and it was also known as a kindergarten education in
China. A kindergarten is generally divided into three levels: Lower
Kindergarten (Xiaoban) for three to four years old children, Middle
Kindergarten (Zhongban) for four to five years old children and Upper
Kindergarten (Daban) for five to six years old children.
The kindergarten provides three meals a day for children, where they spend most
of their time playing indoor and outdoor games. Most kindergarten teachers are
from childcare schools and are good at singing and dancing, and they are
responsible for taking care of the children.
Basic education in China is composed of an elementary
school education, a junior high school education, a senior high school
education and a vocational school education. The junior high school education
and the senior high school education together are called the nine-year
compulsory education in China.
Elementary School Education
The elementary school education usually starts at age
six and ends at age 12, and the pupils are absolutely tuition-free under the
law of the nine-year compulsory education. As a result, they usually prefer to
attend a primary school in their own village for convenience.
The elementary school system is slightly different
between urban and rural areas of China. The elementary schools have six grades
(from grade one to grade six) in urban areas and five grades (from grade one to
grade five) in some rural areas. The entrance examination from elementary
school to junior high school has been canceled since the 1990s in cities.
The curriculum includes Chinese, math, English, PE (physical education), music,
drawing, science, and morality and ethics in primary schools. However, only
Chinese, math and PE are set up in many rural areas.
Junior High School Education
The junior high school education usually starts at age
13 and ends at age 15. There are three ways for pupils to enter junior high
school from elementary school in cities: by a computer aided allocation system,
by selecting a school and by the proximity principle.
Computer aided allocation means the pupils are
randomly distributed to a junior high school, which is comparatively equal for
everybody. Most parents would rather select well-equipped schools (both in hard
and soft infrastructures) for their children although they would need to pay
some extra money. The proximity principle means the pupils prefer entering a
junior high school in their neighborhood.
The curriculum of junior high school consists of
Chinese, math, English, physics, chemistry, history, politics, geography,
biology, PE, IT (information technology), music and drawing, which is also
combined with practical work experience around the school. The students whose
final grades of all subjects are above 60 are allowed to graduate from junior
high school and are admitted to senior high school, and those who fail it will
stay down at the same level for one year.
Senior High School Education
The senior high school education usually starts at age
16 and ends at age 18. The junior high school graduate students can either
study in a senior high school or at a vocational school. Owing to the high
tuition fees of senior high schools (usually ranging from 4,000 to 6,000 RMB
each year), most students from rural areas choose to study in vocational
schools so as to get a job as soon as they graduate.
Senior high schools are very popular among the cities
of China, through which most parents hope their children will go to college.
Usually, only those who get high scores in the (senior high school) enrollment
examination can enter the key senior high schools. Senior high school is
divided into three stages: elementary stage in Senior One, transitory stage in
Senior Two and the college entrance exam preparation stage in Senior Three. The
curriculum of senior high school consists of Chinese, math, English (Russian or
Japanese in some urban areas), physics, chemistry, biology, geography, history,
morality and ethics, PE, health and IT.
Bureaus of education at all levels in China stipulate
that Saturday and Sunday are rest days for all the senior high schools. However,
most senior high schools have their own countermeasures, and they make it a
rule for students to self-study in the mornings and evenings and even on
The senior high students are overloaded with studies
and a lack of rest, with the aim of passing the college entrance examination
held in June each year.
The higher education (usually known as college
education) usually starts when pupils are over 18, and its composed of tertiary
vocational school (two or three years), a technological academy (three years)
and an undergraduate school (four years), but only undergraduate school
students will get their bachelors degree.
The undergraduate school students can continue their
education through a graduate record examination, and those who pass it will
study in a graduate school for three years and get their Masters degree. Those
who get their Masters degree can apply to pursue a PhD degree, and it usually
takes about three years to graduate.
Top 10 Universities of China
The Top 10 Universities of China have been well
selected according to their comprehensive strength (both in hardware and
software) by China Education Ministry in 2013, which are listed as follows:
University ( No. 5, Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing)
University ( No.1, Qinghuayuan, Haidian District, Beijing)
(No. 220, Handan Road. Shanghai)
University ( No.38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province)
Tong University ( No. 1954, Huashan Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai)
University (No. 22 Hankou Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province)
University ( No. 135, Xingang Xi Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province)
(No. 16, Gejiashan, Wuchang District, Wuhan, Hubei Province)
University of Science and Technology (No. 96, Jinzhai Road, Hefei, Anhui
( No.1505 Linyuan Road, Changchun, Jilin Province)
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