1. School Education System in China

School Education System in China

Published on 28 Jun 2021

Overview of the Education System in China

The history of education in China started around 16th century BC and it was influenced by Confucianism. The education system in China is the largest on a global scale where it caters to millions of students each year. There is a law that was established in 1986, where the government made it compulsory for all children in China to have a mandatory education of nine years. The Ministry of Education’s effort did not go to waste as there is an estimate of 99% of children in China who managed to complete the mandatory nine-year education. According to the government, there were a total of 492,185 students from countries across the world studying in China in 2018 and this number increases rapidly each year. 


Current Structure and Format 

Preschool or kindergarten is optional in China and parents have to pay for the fees. Preschool takes around two to three years. The nine-year compulsory education policy starts at the age of seven onwards where children attend primary school from Grade 1 to Grade 6, and then students proceed to junior secondary school of from Grade 7 to Grade 9. The tuition fee is free while parents only have to pay for miscellaneous fees such as uniform and school supplies. Students have the option to continue their secondary education in senior secondary school which is from Grade 10 to Grade 12. There is a tuition fee for senior secondary school. Students will then proceed to pre-university and then eventually to higher education. 


Public and Private Schools in China

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 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.


Teachers in China

Teachers in China have to undergo various training which are consistently being developed and improved by the government as the job is a highly respected one in the country. New teachers learn through seeing other experienced teachers teach in classrooms. Teachers in schools from all different experience levels come together to pitch ideas for further development of the class lessons.


International Schools in China Fees 

International schools in China charge anywhere between 64,212.00 yuan (US$10,000) to 350,000 yuan (US$54,300) a year depending on the school location and facilities. International schools also have one-time application fees, registration fees, school development fees, yearly surcharge, and security deposits, among others.


China country stats

China is a large country and as of 2021, there are 1,444,136,787 people living in China. 


Expats living in China information

Developed cities in China such as Shanghai and Beijing have a high cost of living and expats should be aware of this. The currency used in China is yuan. Aside from that, there is a possibility of a language barrier between locals and expats as most of the people speak in different Chinese dialects and 70% of the population speaks Mandarin. Some locals do have a basic knowledge of spoken English in order to interact with foreigners. If you are staying in China for a period of time, you should purchase a local insurance as some public hospitals in the country do not accept foreign insurance. 


Public transportation in China

Depending on the location, people in China have the option of either taking a bus, taxi or metro train. The buses in China are either the common public buses, trolleybus and electric buses. The availability of these buses also depends on the city that you are in. Buses usually run from 6am to 11pm. Aside from that, taxis are another option but would cost more. You can get a taxi by either calling or hailing for one. The taxis have a meter which calculates the costs of the trip. Bear in mind that most of the taxi drivers only communicate in the Chinese language. On the other hand, the metro train is also another public transportation option. You can purchase tickets at the counter or at an automatic machine at the station. 


Visa for family and students in China

Foreign students who are interested in pursuing their education in China have to apply for a visa that permits them to study and reside in China. The visa can be applied through a China embassy or consulate in your home country. Individuals who need more information regarding study visas or any other visa-related issues can consult the local embassies or consulates. As an international student, the individual should submit a valid passport, admission letter from the school or university, medical certificate, proof of sufficient funds, and a few other documents before a study visa is issued by the embassy. 



  1. https://www.chinaeducenter.com/en/cedu.php
  2. https://www.scholaro.com/pro/Countries/China/Education-System
  3. https://www.chinatravel.com/guide/transport
  4. https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/china-population

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