Development of Education
Since the foundation of People’s Republic of China in 1949, great importance has been attached to education by the Chinese government. Laws were established so as to guarantee everyone’s right of being educated, especially ethnic minority groups, children, women and the disabled. After fifty years’ hard work, education in China has experienced a significant step forward.
Nine-year compulsory education is being put into effect in stages in a planned way. The elementary education in China has been basically popularized in areas covering 91 percent of the country’s population. Meanwhile higher education, vocational and technical education, adult education of various forms and national education have developed rapidly. The education system of multi-level, multi-form and a wide range of disciplines preliminarily come into being. International educational communication and cooperation have been extensively carried out in China recent years.
Educational System in China
Chinese educational system is divided into four parts, namely, basic education, secondary vocational and technical education, higher education and adult education.
Basic education composes preschool education, elementary and secondary education. The schooling of elementary education (primary school) in China is six years. Secondary education which consists of junior and senior middle school usually lasts three years. Moreover, some schools provide integrated curriculum of nine years which combines primary education and junior middle school.
Higher education is the education of high level for fostering junior college students, undergraduates and postgraduates. The schooling of junior colleges is two to three years, and that of universities is generally four years, except medical courses which need five years for graduation. Moreover, some engineering institutes require 5 years for students’ graduation. Postgraduates usually need two to three years to accomplish their study, and doctoral candidates need another 3 years.
Overview of Study in China
The number of international students studying in China has been mounting by approximately 20% annually since the reform and opening period began. In 2010, the number of international students studying in China reached 260,000 for the first time. Moreover, they came from a more diversified range of countries and regions and studied in a more diversified number of hosting institutions, and more of them receive Chinese government scholarship than in any other year since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
According to statistics, in 2010 altogether 265,090 international students from 194 countries and regions were studying in 620 colleges and universities, research institutions and other education institutions in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China (not including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao). Among them, 22,390 were granted Chinese government scholarship, up by 22.72% over the previous year.
Students from other Asian countries accounted for 67.84% of the total, ranking No. 1, followed by Europeans, Americans, Africans, and Oceanians. The top ten origin countries were Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Indonesia, India, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. Other countries sending more than 5000 students included France and Mongolia. In terms of student types, 107,432 were studying for academic degrees, accounting for about 40% of the total and 157,658 were pursuing non-degree education, accounting for about 60%.
China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) will make further efforts to optimize the environment for international students, improve management and to upgrade education quality, by adhering to the National Outline for Medium and Long Term Educational Reform and Development as well as the Study in China Plan, aiming at attracting 500,000 international students by 2020 so as to make China Asia’s biggest host country for international students.
China has over 1,000 higher educational institutions (HEIs) currently. Some universities, such as Beijing University and Tsinghua University, have already gained international reputations for their outstanding teaching and research facilities. China has signed agreements with almost 40 countries such as France, Great Britain, Australia, Russia, etc., to recognize each other’s diplomas. More and more Chinese universities now offer courses in English, enabling students with no knowledge of Chinese language to study there.