Since 1986, compulsory education in China comprises primary and junior secondary school, which together last for nine years. In 2010, about 82.5 percent of students continued their education at a three-year senior secondary school. The Gaokao, China’s national university entrance exam, is a prerequisite for entrance into most higher education institutions. In 2010, 27 percent of secondary school graduates are enrolled in higher education. Vocational education is available to students at the secondary and tertiary level.
In February 2006, the government pledged to provide completely free nine-year education, including textbooks and fees. Annual education investment went from less than US$50 billion in 2003 to more than US$250 billion in 2011. However, there remains an inequality in education spending. In 2010, the annual education expenditure per secondary school student in Beijing totaled ¥20,023, while in Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in China, only totaled ¥3,204. Free compulsory education in China consists of primary school and junior secondary school between the ages of 6 and 15. In 2011, around 81.4% of Chinese have received secondary education. By 2007, there were 396,567 primary schools, 94,116 secondary schools, and 2,236 higher education institutions in China.
As of 2010, 94% of the population over age 15 are literate, compared to only 20% in 1950. In 2009, Chinese students from Shanghai achieved the world’s best results in mathematics, science and literacy, as tested by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance.
China’s Higher Education
As a foreign student, you may want to know about higher education in China before coming for study. Higher education in China has a long and rich history, and has been continuously developing as the society and the world change.
More than 2,000 years ago, students from East Asia and the Arab States came to China to study. Since the 19th century, China has built many modern universities.
After the founding of The People’s Republic of China in 1949, in order to improve higher education in China, a growing number of universities were established. During the 1950s, Chinese universities began to accept students from Vietnam and Eastern European countries.
In 2007, there were altogether 196,000 overseas students from 188 countries and regions that came to study in China and in 2010, there were about 265,000 international students studying in China either to pursue academic degree or conduct short-term programs like Chinese language training.
The higher education system in China is comparatively comprehensive and complete. Institutions which offer higher education include universities, colleges, and professional schools of higher education. Like institutions in Europe and America, Chinese institutions of higher education mainly take responsibility of teaching, scientific research, and social services.
In order to ensure the quality of enrolled university students, China has established a very strict enrollment examination system to select those students have received high school graduation certificates and pass the national entrance exam.
Currently, for Chinese students, university selection is based on each student’s marks in the entrance exam, and owing to the huge number of people attending the exam, getting into university is highly competitive.
For foreign students, getting into Chinese universities is less stressed and highly encouraged. China government launched “Study in China Plan “aim to attract 500,000 foreign students to study in China before 2020, which requires the strength and power from all sides to support the career of foreign students’ studying in China. Under the positive surroundings, studying in China is the time.
Usually, a Chinese university or college has two semesters in one school year. Early September is the start of the first semester while mid-February is the beginning of the second semester. There are 20 weeks in one semester, with two days of rest per week. Students have one day off on New Year’s Day and three days off on International Labor Day and National Day besides the summer and winter holidays.
The world welcomes Chinese university graduates because of their qualifications and excellence. Many graduates from China universities are accepted by leading universities in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and other countries. In China, about 20,000 graduates go to the aforementioned countries to accept further education every year. Great places like Silicon Valley, Wall Street, famous universities and world-class laboratories also open door for Chinese university graduates. Most significantly, the Chinese government has signed mutual agreements of recognition with 64 countries and regions