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A Brief Introduction of Education in the People's Republic of China

With a history of over 5, 000 years, China has a tradition of respecting teachers and honoring the teaching profession since ancient times, Ancient Chinese education not only played a significant role in passing down and developing Chinese civilization, but also made tremendous contributions to the civilization of the world. Modern Chinese education was initiated about one hundred years ago when the country was undergoing drastic changes and it developed quite slowly in general and lagged far behind modern education of the world due to the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of Chinese society.

October 1, 1949 witnessed the founding of the People's Republic of China. The Chinese people became their own masters and China entered a new era. From that time on, Chinese education has stridden to an entirely new stage.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese Government has attached great importance to the educational cause and the setting up of a new socialist education system to enhance people's educational attainment, The state safeguards the basic right to education of the people and loses no time in developing and improving a new system of education by developing schools of all types and levels to foster well-developed successors of the socialist cause.

To meet the needs of economic and social development and the challengesof the rapid progress of world science and technology, China has formulated and implemented the strategy of “revitalizing the country through science and education” and put the development of education as a strategic priority in the socialist modernization drive. China constantly pushes forward the reform and development of education on the principle of “Education should be oriented towards the modernization drive, the world and the future” and carries out the policy of “Education must serve the socialist modernization drive and must be combined with productive labor in order to foster builders and successors with all-round development -- morally, intellectually , physically and aesthetically--for the socialist cause". Essential-qualities-oriented (EQO) education should be boosted up so as to foster a new generation with innovative spirit and practical ability to meet the challenges of the future.

After half a century's development and reform, Chinese education has made splendid achievements and will step forward to the new century with vigor and energy.

China’s Educational System

Generally , education in China can be divided into the following stages:

Pre-school education for the 3-5 years old children in kindergartens.
Primary education for 6-11 years old children. Primary schools are usually run by local educational authorities, and in some cases, by enterprises and individuals.

Secondary school provided to 12-17 years old children. Education of this kind is conducted by local governments and various business authorities are classified as secondary schools or vocational high schools whose graduates hold the same degree studying as graduates senior middle schools and sorts of secondary professional schools whose graduates enjoy some privileges as from colleges. In particular, public secondary schools include junior middle schools and senior middle schools, both for three years of study. Students graduating from junior schools usually go to common senior middle schools, and parts of them go to vocational high schools or secondary professional schools for 3-5 years of studying.

Higher education constituted by those for vocational college students, undergraduates, postgraduates and doctorial students. Higher education is performed by universities, colleges, institutes and vocational colleges. These institutions bear the three major tasks of raising courses, doing scientific researches and providing social services.

More details information available on: http://www.moe.edu.cn/english/index.htm

 
© 中华人民共和国驻美使馆教育处
The Office of Educational Affairs of the Embassy of P.R.China in USA