1. Primary School Education in China

Primary School Education in China

Published on 23 Jun 2021

What is a Primary School?

A primary school is simply defined as an elementary school, junior school or grade school where children receive a primary or elementary education. Typically, children enter primary school after completing preschool. A primary education prepares children for transition to secondary school. 


What is the Best Age to Start Primary School in China?

Primary education in China is for children aged six to seven years of age, depending on the area. The duration of primary education is six years. The school year starts in September and ends in July the following year. There are two semesters per school year. Upon completing their primary education by the age of twelve or thirteen, students will then go through secondary education.


China Primary Schools Curriculum 

The primary education curriculum in China is standardised across the country. There are a total of nine subjects taught to primary students and these include Chinese, Mathematics, Social Studies, Physical Education, Ideology and Morality, Nature, Music, Fine Arts, and Labour Studies. Aside from that, foreign language classes are optional for students. There are plans to make the English language a compulsory subject in primary schools by the government which have yet to be confirmed. Among the nine compulsory subjects, the government dictates that 40% of class hours are to be utilised for the Chinese language classes which mainly focuses on reading, speaking, writing and composition while 24% of the class hours are spent on mathematics. The remaining hours are dedicated to the remaining subjects. In China, students are required to pass the Chinese language and Mathematics examinations. 


Types of Primary Schools in China

In China, there are many different types of primary schools. Parents have the option of public schools, private schools and international schools. Public schools are mostly free of charge and this is an initiative by the government to ensure that all children in China have a basic of a nine-year education. Parents may have to pay for study supplies and uniform. Public schools accept foreign students with the condition that they have to sit for the entrance exam, attend interviews, provide certain documents such as passport and visa, and many others. Private schools in China offer bilingual education and international qualifications. These schools are known as ‘Experimental Schools’ or ‘Bilingual Schools. Local children are enrolled at these schools instead of public schools if they would like to learn using the English language as a medium of learning. Aside from that, most international schools in China are usually situated in developed cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. International schools offer a diverse range of curriculum such as the British curriculum, American curriculum, International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and many other curricula which are internationally recognised. 


How Do You Apply to Primary Schools in China?

Parents can apply to primary schools in China by visiting the school’s website to browse through information such as the intake dates and fees which are displayed. If parents need more information, they can always reach out to a school representative via email or phone.


What are the Average Fees for Primary Schools in China?

Public schools are free of charge in China and require parents to pay a small amount for uniform and study supplies. On the other hand, private schools and international schools cost around US$10,000 (64,212.00 yuan) to US$25,000 (160,528 yuan) per school year. Parents should identify their budget before doing research on the potential schools for their child. 



  1. https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/272/China-PREPRIMARY-PRIMARY-EDUCATION.html
  2. https://www.scholaro.com/pro/Countries/China/Education-System
  3. https://www.studyinternational.com/news/demand-for-western-ed-in-china-breeds-4-types-of-international-schools/
  4. https://www.expat-quotes.com/guides/china/education/international-schools-in-china.htm
  5. https://www.justlanded.com/english/China/China-Guide/Education/Schools

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