1. Secondary/High School Education System In China

Secondary/High School Education System In China

Published on 23 Jun 2021

What Is Secondary School?

Secondary school education is compulsory for students in most countries to prepare them for higher education in the future. A typical secondary school education lasts for at least five to six years. The age of an average secondary school student is 13 years old and they will receive a secondary school education until the age of 17 or 18 before pursuing a pre-university education. 


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

In China, students start their secondary education by the age of twelve or thirteen, depending on the age they complete their primary education. The duration of secondary education in China varies, where some schools have a 3-year junior and a 3-year senior secondary school system while other schools have a 4-year junior with either a 2-year or a 3-year senior secondary school system. This means that students will complete their secondary education after six or seven years of studying.


What Topics are Learnt at Secondary Schools in China?

Students in secondary schools go through 28 to 30 hours of classes per week. The three subjects that make up the core curriculum are Chinese language, English language and Mathematics, and are taught throughout the secondary education. Political studies is a compulsory subject and it teaches students the history of social development and dialectical materialism, political and legal knowledge, political philosophy and economy, and many others. Aside from that, students are required to take physics, chemistry, biology, geography, history, computer science, physical education, typing, art and music in school. To graduate from high school, students are required to take the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), which will allow students to proceed to post-secondary education.


Types of Secondary Schools in China

In China, there are many different types of secondary schools. Parents have the option of public schools, private schools and international schools. Public schools are mostly free of charge for the first three years of secondary education and this is an initiative by the government to ensure that all children in China have the basics of a nine-year education. Parents may have to pay for the last three to four years of secondary education, study supplies and uniform. Public secondary schools in China are categorised as “ordinary” and “key” schools based on the academic reputation of the school. Key schools are provided more funding from the government and they have an advantage where they are able to handpick the best teachers to teach at their school and to offer education for students with excellent academic results. 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 Secondary in China?

Parents can apply to secondary 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 Secondary School in China?

Most public secondary schools are free for the first three years of secondary education and the fees for the second half of the secondary education depends on the school. Parents usually have to pay for the study supplies and uniform for public education.

On the other hand, private and international schools across China may cost around 100,000 yuan (US$15,500) to 350,000 yuan (US$54,300) per year. Therefore, it is important for parents to determine whether they are interested in enrolling their child into a government or private secondary school before seeking out more information.



  1. https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/273/China-SECONDARY-EDUCATION.html
  2. https://www.scholaro.com/pro/Countries/China/Education-System
  3. https://www.internations.org/go/moving-to-china/education

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