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Education in China Facts

The modern Chinese education system is comprised of pre-school, basic, and higher education. On July 1, 1986, the Chinese government passed a law on free, universal, nine-year compulsory education for all children. Under the new law, children are guaranteed nine years of education, and depriving a child of an education is a punishable crime. In China, schools are divided into four levels. Primary school is for children six to eleven years old, covering the first six years of compulsory education.

Chinese students are required to sit entrance examinations for middle and high schools. The results of these tests determine their future careers. Many Chinese schools pay great attention to their pupils’ literacy levels, which is defined as being able to recognize 2,000 Chinese characters in urban areas, and 1,500 characters in rural areas. The literacy rate of young Chinese is above 99.4%, making education in China a worthwhile investment. And don’t forget about the school uniform! In most schools, students wear winter jackets during the cold months.

Although the overall quality of education in China has improved, the regional differences are still profound. For example, the number of higher education institutes has increased tremendously in the last decade. Some even allow low-scoring students to attend a university as long as their parents are willing to pay the tuition fees. Moreover, the number of students completing tertiary education is increasing. In 2019, there are almost 50 percent of the total population of each age cohort enrolled in higher education institutions. This will continue to improve over time.

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