Brief Introduction to the Education in China
With a civilization of 5,000 years, China has a tradition to attach great importance to its education since ancient times. In modern times, China has given top priority to the development of science and education when implementing the strategy of boosting the nation through science and education. The contemporary international exchange and cooperation have accelerated China's education development. China's education has not only played an important role in the inheritance and development of Chinese culture, but also made great contributions to the world civilization.
Different Forms and Stages of Education
At present, China's educational structure mainly includes pre-school education, compulsory education, special education, senior high education, higher education, adult education, literacy education and private education.
Pre-school education refers to the education for children aged 3-5 years in kindergartens.
Compulsory education is also known as cost-free education. In China, primary schools and junior high schools are compulsory, which usually last nine years (six years of primary school and three years of junior high school).
There are special education schools serving as backbones of China’s special education system. Ordinary classes, special classes, family tutoring and community education are important complementary parts of China's special education system.
Senior high school education, composed of ordinary high schools, adult high schools, secondary vocational and technical schools, is an important part in the national education system.
Higher education includes academic and non-academic education, which is generally in the form of full-time and part-time schooling. Besides, China’s higher education is divided into specialized college education, undergraduate and postgraduate education.
Adult education and training aim to provide further education to employees at work through professional training and general education. Literacy education refers to the education for illiterate and under-literate persons, with initial reading, writing and numeracy.
Private education is supplementary to public education. It is delivered by social organizations or individuals other than public institutions, using non-state financial funds to organize activities in schools and other educational institutions.
Recent Developments of China’s Education
In 2019, there are 530,100 schools at all levels, 282 million students and 17.3 million full-time teachers in China. Among them, there are 2,688 institutions of higher education with a total of 40.02 million students; 24,400 senior high schools with 39.95 million students; 52,400 junior high schools with 48.27 million students; 160,100 primary schools with 105.612 million students; and 281,200 kindergartens with 47.139 million children.
In terms of investment, the total investment in China’s education is 5,017.8 billion yuan, and the state's financial education expenditure is 4,004.7 billion yuan, accounting for 4.04 percent of the nation’s GDP.
International cooperation and exchanges in education have played an important and constructive role in the mutual understanding and friendship between China and other countries in the world.
1.People-to-People Exchange Mechanisms
Since 2000, China has established high-level people-to-people exchange mechanisms with Russia (November, 2000), the United States (May, 2010), the United Kingdom (April, 2012), the Europe Union (April, 2012), France (September, 2014), Indonesia (May, 2015), South Africa (April, 2017) and Germany (May, 2017). Contents of collaboration range from education, science and technology, culture, health, sports, radio and television, media, film, tourism, women, youth and archives.
2.Study Abroad in Two Directions
Since 1978, nearly 6 million Chinese students have studied abroad and more than 3.5 million have returned to China. According to statistics, 662,100 Chinese students studied abroad in 2018, and 519,400 returned home. In the same year, 492,200 foreign students studied in China and among them 258,100 foreigners received academic education in China.
3.Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools
There are 2,500 Chinese-foreign cooperative institutions and programs established with the approval of China's authorities, of which about 90% are in the higher education sector. About 550,000 students are studying in these institutions. More than 2 million students have so far graduated.
Currently, 541 Confucius institutes and 1,170 Confucius classrooms have been established in 162 countries (regions) around the world. There are 135 Confucius institutes and 115 Confucius classrooms in 39 countries in Asia, 61 Confucius institutes and 48 Confucius classrooms in Africa’s 46 countries, 187 Confucius institutes and 346 Confucius classrooms in 43 countries in Europe, 138 Confucius institutes and 560 Confucius classrooms in 27 countries in the Americas,and 20 Confucius institutes and 101 Confucius classrooms in seven countries in Oceania.
Please note: The above-mentioned statistics do not include the data for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region or Taiwan Province.
Prospects of Chinese Education
In October, 2020, the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted the proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for national economic and social development and the long-range objectives through the year 2035. Firmly carrying out the reforms and opening-up, China will realize the basic socialist modernization by the year 2035, with the GDP per capita reaching that of the modestly developed countries, becoming a strong nation in culture, education, talent, sports and health.
In the 14th five-year plan period, adhering to the theme of high quality development with new concepts and patterns, and aiming to lift the education levels of all the Chinese people, a high-quality education system will be built in all the education sectors. The measures will include the following:
Fully implement the CPC’s educational policy, adhere to nurturing people through morality-building, strengthen the construction of teachers' morality and working style, and cultivate socialist builders and successors with comprehensively moral, intelligent, physical, aesthetic, and skillful development.
Improve the school-family-society collaborative education mechanism, improve teachers' ability to teach and educate people, enhance students' development qualifications, social responsibility awareness, and practical skills, and attach importance to physical and mental health education for the juvenile and young.
Adhere to the principle of education for the public welfare, deepen education reform, promote education equity, the balanced development of compulsory education and the integration of urban and rural areas, improve inclusive preschool education, special education, and correctional education guarantee mechanisms, and encourage the diversified development of senior high schools.
Increase investment in human capital, enhance the adaptability of vocational and technical education, deepen vocational and regular integration, integration of industry and education, school-enterprise cooperation, explore apprenticeship with Chinese characteristics, and vigorously cultivate technical and skilled personnel.
Improve the quality of higher education, construct first-class universities and first-class disciplines in different models, and especially accelerate the training of talents in science, engineering, agriculture and medicine.
Improve the quality and level of education in the areas with ethnic groups, and strengthen the promotion of the national common language. Support and standardize the development of private education and regulate off-campus training institutions.
Give full play to the advantages of online education, improve the lifelong learning system, and build a learning society.