Chinese Education System: All You Need To Know

“A generation of auto-didacts, educated by the Internet and leveraged by technology, will eventually starve the industrial-education system,” warned Naval Ravikant, an American multi-millionaire, describing the need for a good education system in this tech addict century. 

The Chinese education system has seen an investment of almost 14% of total GDP, demonstrating the importance of education in China. This is the result of the Chinese government’s decision in 1986 to make education compulsory for all students. More than 99 percent of students, on average, receive a basic nine-year education.

Understanding how the Chinese Education System works

Despite its good reputation, the Chinese education system is regarded as one of the most difficult and competitive in the world. Education is provided to students at many levels.

Primary Education

In China, education begins in kindergarten at the age of one to three years old, and continues until primary school at the age of six or seven years old. Primary education is an important stage in a child’s learning journey in the Chinese educational system. 

The country’s official language is Mandarin Chinese, which is spoken by over 1 billion people worldwide, or nearly one-fifth of the world’s population. Extracurricular activities and education groups play a crucial role in your child’s emotional and social development as he or she grows older. The following subjects are taught to young children:

  • Social Science
  • Art & Colouring
  • Chinese
  • Numbering and Counting
  • Nature
  • Music
  • Foreign Language
  • Moral Values
  • Labour Studies
  • Exercise

However, students must pass their final exams, which are planned and conducted by the local government.

Special education, in the form of programs for slow learners and gifted children, is also valued in the Chinese educational system. China now has over 1,500 special education institutions, over 1,000 vocational institutes for disabled students, and over 1,700 training centers for children with hearing impairments.

Middle Education

This level of education lasts around three years, and students must pass the final examinations to receive their promotion certificate, just as they must pass the primary level of school in China. To pass the final exams, you must get a minimum score in the theoretical, practical, and physical education programs. 

Individual schools are in charge of conducting and arranging examinations in accordance with local educational authority requirements. Exams are used to evaluate students in topics like mathematics, physics, chemistry, political science, foreign language, and others. This phase represents the end of the compulsory school system’s nine years.

Secondary Education

Students can choose between Vocational Senior Secondary classes, which run four years, and General (academics) Senior Secondary programs, which last three years, starting at this level. 

Students who want to pursue general studies must pass an admission exam that covers the middle school curriculum. Following this level, students who intend to pursue post-secondary education must take the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, also known as the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE).

Note: In Chinese, Gaozhong means general senior secondary school, Zhongzhuan means vocational senior secondary school, and Gaokao means NCEE.

Tertiary Education

If you’re considering studying in China, you should be aware that there are various technical and general institutions that provide higher education in a variety of subjects. Admission to these colleges is based on the candidate’s performance on the entrance exams and their high school grades. 

Those with excellent academic records are eligible for scholarships, and certain students may be granted exemption from entrance examinations using a Chinese procedure known as Baosong. Several private universities participate in the NCEE exams and admit students who can afford the cost. However, the Chinese school system at this level is extremely competitive and demanding.

International Education in China

In Shanghai, Beijing, and other major Chinese cities, China boasts some of the best international schools with a good reputation. There are language programs in English, German, French, Spanish, and other languages. 

The number of international students in the country is increasing, making it the world’s fifth largest host country. Admissions for overseas students are substantially easier than for domestic students at more than 200 universities globally, including Chinese Ivy League universities such as Tsinghua University, Peking University, Zhejiang University, Fudan University, and others.

Students must have a specific level of Chinese language proficiency to enroll in a conventional academic program at a Chinese university, but an increasing number of institutions in the country are beginning to offer programs that are exclusively taught in English.

Chinese Education System: All You Need To Know

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Chinese Education System


  1. Education in China is generally less expensive than in many other industrialized countries, like the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. This could have a significant impact on international students seeking higher education because the total cost of education in China is lower.
  2. The books you’ll need to accomplish your studies in China will most likely be cheaper than in other countries. As a result, the amount of money you spend will be greatly lowered.
  3. The Chinese educational system instills a high level of respect for instructors in both young children and older students, which is a significant benefit of the Chinese educational system. This is based on traditional Chinese culture. Students can be seen looking up at their instructors and paying attention to what they have to say. Many children form lifelong friendships with their elementary school teachers, even after they have graduated.


  1. Anyone traveling to China for school from a western country will find the considerable reliance on tests to be a significant adjustment. In order to be admitted to colleges, students must frequently pass an admission exam. From elementary school to college, students are expected to learn what they are taught and take tests.
  2. In most schools, each class will include 30 to 50 students, as opposed to 20 in countries such as the United States. This means that teachers are unable to provide specialized training due to a lack of time or resources, and students are expected to study independently. There is no one-on-one interaction between the teacher and the students.
  3. The Chinese educational system suffers from the fact that most elementary classrooms have only one teacher who works with the students for years. In other countries, students are taught by professors who specialize in certain disciplines.

Difference between India and China

With vast schools and a more comprehensive education, the Chinese education system combines ancient traditions and western models. In mainland China, demand for international schools is so great that seats fill up rapidly, resulting in huge waiting lists. 

With one of the world’s strongest economies, Chinese industries are advancing not only in areas like electronics, automobiles, aviation, machinery, and high-speed railways, but also in emerging areas like renewable energy, advanced nuclear energy, big data, AI, robotics, e-commerce, and telecommunication technologies.

Why you should consider studying in China

International students can study in China and gain a better understanding of the Chinese culture. Students will get an advantage in exploring potential job options by combining their knowledge of China and their home countries. Students will get hands-on experience in a rapidly growing global power. 

The knowledge obtained from studying in China will help you stand out in a job interview. Students can demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of the Chinese market and the capacity to adjust to various cultures and surroundings by participating in study abroad programs.

For international students, China is one of the most popular study abroad locations. Many students opt to study in China in the hopes of finding better job possibilities in industries including travel, journalism, academia, diplomatic work, finance, trade, and banking, among others. 

International corporations are fighting for CEOs with Mandarin Chinese abilities for their China operations. Understanding the Chinese language and the value gained by speaking Chinese is becoming increasingly crucial as China emerges as an economic superpower.

Below are six reasons you consider studying in China:

  1. Tuition and scholarships that are affordable
  2. Study China’s progress.
  3. Expand your world perspective
  4. Enhance your job prospects
  5. Study the Chinese language
  6. Learn about Chinese culture


In comparison to the United States and other western countries, tuition rates and living expenditures for overseas students in China are quite low. China is one of the most generous countries in terms of international student scholarships. 

Scholarships for international students from various academic areas are available from the government, institutions, foundations, and corporations.

International students can now work part-time or do internships while studying in China, according to changes in the government’s visa policy for foreign people. International students with a residency visa in China are permitted to work part-time or intern off campus as long as their academic institutions and the entry and exit administrative authorities approve.

International students can acquire an education with English as the medium of teaching. International students who wish to enroll in a degree program in China but don’t want to spend two years learning Chinese might consider an English-taught program. 

While enrolled in English-taught programs, international students can take Chinese language classes. The result of the HSK (Chinese proficiency test) is not necessary for admission.

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