The Education in China
It is convenient to divide the education in China into four categories:
primary education, secondary education, higher education and adult
The Law of Compulsory Education issued in 1986, which stipulated
each child must have nine years of formal education. To meet this
requirement, a child will attend either 6 years of elementary education,
followed by 3 years of junior middle school,
It is recognized that certain realities prevent this nine year standard
to be implemented immediately. Therefore, a provision of the Education
Law is that China shall be divided into three categories: cities
and economically developed areas, towns and villages with medium
development, and economically backward areas. In the first two categories,
the nine-year standard has, in most cases, become universal. Estimates
are that in areas comprising 91% of the population, primary education
has become universal. Indeed, by a 1994 estimate, 98.4% of elementary
school-aged children entered school, with a dropout rate of less
than 2% per year. Of the primary school graduates, over 80% go on
to junior middle school, which represents about 75% of the relative
age cohort. However, in the economically backward area, which contains
about 25% of China's population, a variable timetable for implementing
compulsory education has been tied to each such region's local economic
In passing, it should be noted that the most important contributing
factor the drop-out rates at each level is the increasing cost of
education in China. The schools are charged a variety of fees by
the local authorities, which are then passed along to the students.
Now in the countryside it is free for the students to enjoy 9 years’
The Educational System
1. Primary Education.
Primary education includes pre-school education and elementary school
education. Generally speaking the elementary age is 7. Students
will study 6 years before they go to junior middle school. The students
will study 5 days a week. They also enjoy public holidays and summer
vacation and winter vacation. Each school year consists of 2 semesters.
2. Secondary Education.
Secondary education is divided into regular secondary education
and vocational and technical secondary education. Regular secondary
education consists of junior middle school and senior middle school.
Both junior middle school and senior middle school continue for
Students in the vocational and technical secondary education stream
will, upon graduation from junior middle school, enter a vocational
or technical school. Vocational schools generally offer programs
ranging from two to four years, and train medium-level skilled workers,
as well as managerial and technical personnel. Technical schools
typically offer four year programs to train intermediate technical
personnel. There is a third category, called Schools for Skilled
Workers that typically enroll graduates from junior middle schools
to train for positions involving production and operation skills.
The length of training is typically three years.
3. Higher Education.
Higher education at the undergraduate level includes two or three
years’ junior colleges, four-year’s universities. Many colleges
and universities also offer graduate programs, leading to the Master's
or Ph.D. degrees. Higher education is China is not free but the
tuition is not very expensive compared to western countries. Students
even can apply for loan from the banks.
4. Adult Education.
This category overlaps all three of the above categories. There
is adult primary education, which organizes into Workers' Primary
Schools, Peasants' Primary Schools, and Literacy classes. Adult
secondary education includes radio/TV specialized secondary schools,
specialized secondary schools for cadres, specialized secondary
schools for staff and workers, specialized secondary schools for
peasants, in-service teacher training schools, and correspondence
specialized secondary schools. Adult higher education includes radio/TV
universities, cadre institutes, workers' colleges, peasant colleges,
correspondence colleges, and educational colleges. Most of the above
colleges offer both short-cycles as well as regular undergraduate
Most schools and universities in China are public but during last
few years a lot of private schools and universities appeared. Now
there are 12millions teachers in China. There are over 1200 colleges
and universities. Qinghua University and Beijing University are
two most famous universities in China as well as in the world. There
are 820 thousand postgraduates in school. There are 13.33million
students in colleges and universities. There 13.67million students
in the middle vocational schools. There are 22.22million students
in senior middle schools. There 64.75 million students in the junior
middle schools. There are 112.46 million students in elementary
schools. (According to the statistic figure in 2004)
The payout of education finance in China is still low. It just accounts
for 2.79% of its GDP in 2005. So it is very necessary for the government
to increase the input for education in the future.