Education in China
Education in China
Education in China is primarily managed by the state-run public education system, which falls under the Ministry of Education. All citizens must attend school for a minimum of nine years, known as nine-year compulsory education, which is funded by the government.
Compulsory education includes six years of primary education, typically starting at the age of six and finishing at the age of twelve followed by three years of junior secondary education (middle school).
Middle schooling is followed by three years of high school, by the end of which secondary education is completed.
Laws in China regulating the system of education include the Regulation on Academic Degrees, the Compulsory Education Law, the Teachers Law, the Education Law, the Law on Vocational Education, and the Law on Higher Education.
In 2019, the Ministry of Education reported an increase of 1.5611 million students entering into compulsory education. In 1985, the government abolished tax-funded higher education, requiring university applicants to compete for scholarships based on their academic capabilities.
In the early 1980s, the government allowed the establishment of the first private institution of higher learning, thus increasing the number of undergraduates and people who hold doctoral degrees from 1995 to 2005.
In 2003, central and local governments in China supported 1,552 institutions of higher learning (colleges and universities), along with their 725,000 professors and 11 million students.
There are 140 National Key Universities in the Double First Class University Plan, including Peking University and Tsinghua University, which are considered to be part of an elite group of Chinese universities. Chinese investment in research and development has grown by 20 percent per year since 1999, exceeding $100 billion in 2011.
As many as 1.5 million science and engineering students graduated from Chinese universities in 2006. By 2008, China had published 184,080 papers in recognized international journals—a seven-fold increase from 1996.
In 2017, China surpassed the U.S. with the highest number of scientific publications. China has also been a top destination for international students and as of 2013, China was the most popular country in Asia for international students and ranked third overall among countries.
China is now the leading destination globally for Anglophone African students and is host of the second largest international student’s population in the world.
China is also home to the two best League universities in the whole Asia-Oceania region and emerging countries with Tsinghua and Peking Universities, tied for 16th in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
There were 22 Chinese universities on lists of the global top 200 in the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities, behind only the United States in terms of the overall representation.
Although Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu and Zhejiang outperformed all other education systems in the Program for International Student Assessment, China's educational system has been criticized for its rote memorization and its emphasis on test preparation.
However, PISA spokesman Andreas Schleicher says that China has moved away from learning by rote.
According to Schleicher, Russia performs well in rote-based assessments, but not in PISA, whereas China does well in both rote-based and broader assessments.