The Chinese educational system is similar to most of the Western countries. Go through this article to know all about the structure of education in China.
Education System in China
Innovative teaching plans and creative teaching programs set the educational structure of China different from the other parts of the world. With the government stepping forward in contributing towards the growth and development of education, a lot of investment is being continuously made on this sector, with continuous efforts of encouraging people to run education and sending their kids to school. Even though funds for schools and colleges still form a major problem, but the budget is highly monitored by financial allocation. Schools controlled by the central government are financed by the central financial pool, while the local government-run schools are supported by local finance. Whatever is the source of financial funds, this gigantic and magnificent nation has made tremendous efforts in eradicating illiteracy amongst children and adults as well. The Chinese government has levied nine years of compulsory formal education to all children, wherein students are required to complete primary and junior middle school education. Subsequently, students can take the appropriate entrance examinations and choose their choice of schools and streams. Given here is the basic structure of the education system followed in China.
Pre-school education and elementary education combine to form primary school. Also, called kindergarten, pre-school education starts at the age of three and continues till the children turn six. In short, pre-school education lasts for three years, after which kids enter elementary school. Beginning with grade 1, classes in elementary school continue till grade 5 or 6, depending upon the education system followed by the respective school. The pupils are taught the basic core subjects, like Chinese, Math, History, Geography, Science, and others, with strong emphasis on Physical Education as a separate subject. Besides, they are also educated on elementary political and moral aspects. Each academic year comprises of two semesters, spread over 19 weeks each, with a total of 38 weeks of classroom lectures for the entire year.
After the kids have got accustomed to the basic subjects, they are promoted to secondary school, where they would be spending six or seven years, according to the system followed. Secondary education is further classified into regular secondary education, vocational and technical secondary education. Regular secondary education constitutes of junior middle school and senior middle school. Depending upon the system followed in elementary school, students undergo three or four years of education in a junior middle school, followed by a three-year program under senior middle school. As such, education until the middle school results in a typical 5-4-3 or 6-3-3 system of elementary school-junior middle school-senior middle school format. While 39 weeks of instruction comprise of the academic year of a junior middle school, 40 weeks of classroom lectures are delivered in a particular academic year of a senior middle school.
Upon graduation from junior middle school, several students opt to seek admission in vocational and technical secondary schools, instead of continuing with senior middle school. While vocational schools run for two to four years, technical schools, on the other hand, last for four years. Middle-level skilled workers, farmers, managerial, and technical personnel receive training at vocational schools, in contrast to the technical schools that train intermediate technical personnel. Apart from vocational and technical schools, Schools for Skilled Workers are also present in China, lasting for three years, which admit graduates from junior middle school offering training for positions at production and operation levels.
On completion of secondary education, students enter higher education by qualifying in the National College Entrance Exam, depending upon the streams they desire to take up. As such, separate examinations are held for science and humanities streams. Higher education in China is offered in colleges, universities, institutes, and vocational colleges, and encompasses junior college, bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs. A junior college program usually lasts for 2-3 years, while a bachelor’s program requires the students to dedicate 4 years to earn the degree or even 5 years, in case of medical and some engineering and technical programs. 2 to 3 years of study is required to obtain a master’s degree, while a doctoral program takes about 3 years to complete. All branches of learning are integrated at college education, undergraduate education, and graduate education.
The undergraduate stage of higher education consists of 2 or 3 year junior colleges (also called short cycle colleges), 4 year colleges, and universities. Both academic and vocational subjects form the curriculum of the program, which may or may not award the student with a bachelor’s degree, depending upon the course that has been taken up and the institution that the student has enrolled himself in. A program that does not result in a bachelor’s degree falls under adult education. Obtaining admission in a Chinese university is extremely tough and highly competitive.
Graduate programs are offered by several universities and colleges in China, which bestow the successful students with a master’s or PhD degree. It takes about 3 years to fulfill the qualifications for receiving a master’s degree (2 or 2.5 years for MBA programs) and at least 3 years to complete a doctoral program and earn a PhD degree, following the master’s degree. Outstanding scholars are awarded with an honorary doctor’s degree by the college or university, upon the approval granted by the Degree Committee of the State Council.
Apart from the primary, secondary, and higher education system followed in China, there is a different level of education called adult education, highly popular here. This educational structure comprises of workers’ primary school, peasants’ primary schools, and literacy classes. There are specialized secondary schools for cadres, workers, staff, peasants, and in-service teachers, and specific secondary schools for radio/TV. Furthermore, radio/TV universities, cadre institutes, workers’ college, and peasant colleges all fall under adult education, lasting for 2 to 3 years.
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