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An overview of China’s Education System

China’s school education is divided into four categories: primary education, secondary education, higher education and adult education. The Compulsory Education Law of China stipulates: “For any child who has reached age six, his/her parents or other statutory guardians shall have him/her enrolled in school for compulsory education.”  The nine-year compulsory education system includes six years (or five years) of primary education and three years (or four years) of junior high school education.
The academic year in China normally begins in September and ends in July of the following year. The year is subdivided into two semesters, “Fall” (September) and “Spring” (February through July) separated by two school-wide recesses “Summer” and “Winter”.
1. Primary Education.
Primary education includes pre-school education and elementary education. Pre-school, or kindergarten, can last up to three years, with children entering as early as age three, until age six, when they typically enter elementary school. Elementary school begins with the first grade, and then proceeds through either grade five or six.
2. Secondary Education.
Secondary education is divided into regular secondary education and vocational and technical secondary education. Regular secondary education consists of junior middle school and senior middle school. Junior middle school will involve either three or four years of schooling, depending on the system (6-3 versus 5-4), and senior middle school is, in the vast majority of cases, a three years program, resulting in a 5-4-3 or a 6-3-3 system of elementary school-junior middle school-senior middle school.
Students in the vocational and technical secondary education stream will, upon graduation from junior middle school, enter a vocational or technical school. Vocational schools generally offer programs ranging from two to four years, and train medium-level skilled workers, farmers, as well as managerial and technical personnel. Technical schools typically offer four year programs to train intermediate technical personnel.
3. Higher Education
China’s institutions of higher learning include comprehensive universities and specialized universities or institutes. Most specialized programs take three years, with a small number taking two years; comprehensive programs generally take four years, with a small number taking five or six years. By May 2017, there were 2,914 institutes of higher education in China, including 2,631 general institute of higher education and 283 higher education institutes for adults.
4. Adult Education.
The Education Law of the People’s Republic of China stipulates: “The state shall encourage the development of adult education in various forms and make sure that citizens receive proper forms of education in politics, economy, culture, science and technology as well as professional and whole life education”. By May 2017, there were 283 higher education institutes available for adults in China.
Double First Class University Plan:
The Double First Class University Plan or Double Top University Plan, was a plan conceived in 2015 by China to create world-class domestic universities and disciplines by the end of 2050. The full list of sponsored universities and disciplines was published in September 2017 and includes 42 first-class universities (36 Type A schools and 6 Type B schools) and 465 first-class disciplines.
2020 China’s Top 10 Universities
Peking University was founded in 1898 and enjoys a great reputation at home and abroad. After many years of exploration, reformation, and construction, it is gradually becoming a new university with many disciplines.
Tsinghua University was established in 1911. It has become a leading university: while its teaching is focused on engineering, it concurrently offers degrees in other sciences, the liberal arts, management and law.
Fudan University was founded in 1905 and is one of China's most prestigious learning institutions. It is a comprehensive multi-disciplinary research university with many highly-ranked majors and programs. 
Zhejiang University was founded in 1897 and was one of the earliest modern academies of higher learning established in China. It is a comprehensive research university with distinctive features and a national as well as international impact. 
Nanjing University was founded in 1902. It is one of China`s key comprehensive universities in China. Today`s Nanjing University consists of three beautiful campuses and boasts advanced teaching and research facilities
Shanghai Jiao Tong University was founded in 1896 and is one of the oldest modern universities in China. It was regarded in China as the “MIT in the East”.
Huazhong University of Science and Technology was founded in 1952. HUST has never stopped its journey to excellence. It has rapidly developed into a dynamic, ambitious and innovative comprehensive research university.
University of Science and Technology of China was established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1958 in Beijing and moved to Hefei - the capital of Anhui Province, in 1970. It is a prominent university in China and enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide. 

Renmin University of China is the first comprehensive research university established by the People’s Republic of China. It is a comprehensive research-oriented university focusing on humanities and social sciences. It also offers a range of courses in the natural sciences, information technology and environmental sciences. 
Tianjin University was founded in 1895. It is the oldest institution of higher education in the modern history of China. It adheres to the mission of training high caliber talents with innovative abilities and has achieved success in the training of high-level specialists in various fields.


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