Education in Modern Time
China's education system comprises，preschool （kindergarten）， primary school ， junior and senior high school education.
The education scheme, setup of education organizations, form of education, period of schooling, student enrollment and training target are all ordained by the Ministry of Education in China.
Chinese Constitution provides that all Chinese children of school age receive nine years of compulsory education, including six years of primary school and three years of junior middle school.
Besides, there are also vocational education and adult education. China encourages adult education of various forms and enables Chinese citizens to receive education about politics, economy, culture, science, technology and expertise.
China implements national examination system. The Ministry of Education decides the types of national examinations that are undertaken by State approved examination organizations.
China practices academic certification system. Schools and other educational organizations sanctioned or approved by the State issue diploma or other academic certificates according to related regulations.
China implements degree system. Those who reach a certain academic level or special technical level are conferred a degree and receive diplomas accordingly.
China implements supervision and evaluation system on education in schools and other educational organizations.
China's education mainly comprises of the following stages:
Preschool（Kindergarten）: children of 3 to 5 years old receive preschool education at kindergartens.
Primary school: for children of 6 to 11 years old. Primary schools are generally run by local government. Some are run by enterprises and individuals.
Junior and senior high school: for teenagers of 12 to 17 years old. Junior and senior high school are generally run by local governments and educational departments. Junior and senior high schools include common middle schools, vocational schools and specialized high schools. Common middle schools include junior schools and senior schools, each with 3-year period of schooling. Some junior middle school graduates are accepted by senior middle schools while some go to vocational schools and specialized secondary schools, with a schooling period of 3-5 years.
Higher education（university）: including 2- to 3-year short higher education, undergraduate education and graduate education.
China's education structure is similar to that of other countries around the world.
The Law of the People's Republic of China on Compulsory Education promulgated in 1986 contains a clear stipulation on the provision of a nine-year compulsory education in China.
It says: All children who have reached the age of six, regardless of sex, ethnicity and race, shall enter a school to receive compulsory education of a prescribed year limit.
It also set forth the principle of achieving objectives for provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government in accordance with their respective economic, cultural and other conditions in a step-by-step way.
Compulsory education must be carried out according to education guidelines of the state and must enable children to develop in an all-round way -- physically, intellectually, morally and aesthetically. The state, society, schools and family shall secure the right of school-age children to receive education.
Compulsory education consists of two stages: primary education and junior secondary education. It is proposed to popularize junior secondary education based on the popularization of primary education. The school system of primary education and junior secondary education shall be set up by responsible education department of the State Council. No tuition shall be collected for compulsory education. The state allocates subsidiary funds to help students from poor family go to school.
Parents and guardians shall send school-age children to school in time to receive compulsory education. If school-age children suffer from diseases or for some special reasons need to delay the time of going to school or not to go to school, their parents or guardians should seek the approval of local people's government. No organization or individual is permitted to use school-age children as child labor.
Governments at different levels must create opportunities for school-age children to receive compulsory education.
Preschool Education (kindergarden)
China is one of the few governments that attach much importance to preschool education.
Since 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded, a Preschool Section was established in China's educational department.
After implementation of the reform and opening up policies, the State Council proposed the principle of developing preschool education through the joint efforts of the State, collectives and individuals, and stipulated that sponsors of kindergartens in urban and rural areas might raise funds on their own to cover expenses and that they might collect reasonable fees form parents. With unremitting efforts, preschool education has gradually developed into a great cause contributed by the nation, collectives and individuals. Education fund has increased steadily over the years.
At present, the form of preschool education varies a lot. In cities and towns, kindergartens are run by educational departments, government organs, enterprises, sub-district offices and individuals, with a 3-year period of schooling. In rural areas, towns and villages sponsor kindergartens with a 1-year period of schooling. By 1997, there were 183,000 kindergartens in China with 25.19 million children, and attendance rate of children aged3 to 5was 41 percent.
The Law of the People's Republic of Chinaon Compulsory Education promulgated in April 1986 provides that primary education must be popularized nationwide. It says: All children who have reached the age of six, regardless of sex, ethnicity and race, shall enter a school to receive full-time compulsory education of a prescribed year limit. The length of schooling for primary education is 6 years. The curriculum at the primary school stage includes ethics, Chinese, maths, nature study, history, geography, society, physical education, music, fine arts and labor. By 1996, there were 646,000 primary schools in China, with an enrolment of 130 million students and the rate of middle school graduates reached as high as 92.6 percent.
Secondary education includes common middle school and specialized secondary schools. Common middle school education consists of junior middle school and senior middle school. Lengths of schooling are both three years. Courses offered at general middle schools are Chinese, maths, foreign language, politics, history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, physical education, music, fine arts, physiology and labor. Excellent students well developed morally, intellectually and physically will be awarded. By 1996, there were 80,000 general middle schools in China, with an enrolment of 57.4 million students.
Specialized secondary school education mainly consists of secondary technical schools, normal secondary schools and vocational schools. Lengths of schooling are 2 to 3 years, or 3 to 4 years. Courses at secondary technical schools and vocational schools include science, agriculture, forestry, hygiene, finance and economics, management, politics and law, art, teacher training, physical culture and tourism. Vocational schools mainly train skilled workers and technicians. By 1996, there were already 4,099 specialized secondary schools in China, with an enrolment of 4.228 million students.
China's institutions of higher learning generally fall into several categories. Some are administered directly by the Ministry of Education, or other ministries and commissions; some are administered by governments at the levels of provinces, autonomous regions and cities directly under the central government. There are also schools run by local city and non-government-run schools. Universities and independent colleges are higher-learning institutions with equal position.
To ensure the enrolment quality of institutions of higher learning, China has established a strict entrance examination system. High school graduates with diploma can enter institutions of higher learning after passing the national college entrance examination.
By the end of 1997, there were 1,020 institutions of higher learning, with an enrolment of 176,400 postgraduates, 3.1727 million undergraduates in China. 416 key disciplines and 152 national key laboratories and department research public laboratories have been set up in institutions of higher learning.