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Education in the People's Republic of China. Mustafa Ergün. History of China.

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History of China

Dynasties: Ancient China was governed by a ruling class of warrior nobles headed by a king. Ruling families are referred to as dynasties. The Shang Dynasty (1766 BC) was the first verifiable dynasty and ruled China for 600 years. The Shang dynasty was overthrown by Zhou who established a dynasty and introduced the idea of the Mandate of Heaven.

The Han dynasty centralized the Chinese government and established a bureaucracy which included eighteen different ranks of civil service jobs that civilians obtained by taking competitive examinations.

1911-1949 The Republic of China was established under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen

1949- The Republic of China moved to the island of Taiwan

1949 –The People’s Republic of China came to power under the Communist leader Mao Zedong.



Other Chinese philosophies include Taoism ( Daoism) and Legalism

Buddhism spread to China from India.

China: Philosophy and Religion

Confucius was addressed as The Master all over China.  His teachings were based on virtue and goodness.  Confucius believed that the past tells us how to live in the present.  His sayings were recorded in a book called The Analects. 

’One day a teacher, father thewhole life’


One knows more by reviewing the past !


China: Development of Writing

The earliest examples of Chinese writing are found on oracle bones. Shang dynasty rulers consulted the gods through the use of oracle bones, animal bones and tortoise shells on which priests scratched questions for the gods. The priest applied a hot poker to the bones which cracked and then interpreted the cracks to see how the gods answered the question.

The Chinese writing system is not alphabetic like English. It used symbols for words called characters.  Each character stands for an idea, not a sound. The characters are read vertically in columns (down and up). The written language is not linked to the spoken language, so people all over China could learn the same system of writing, even if they spoke different languages.


The Republic (1911-1949)

  • New national curriculum: to produce citizens of a republic, not subjects of an emperor;
  • Traditional curriculum abolished;
  • Confucianism no longer taught;
  • Junior, senior middle schools and universities appeared
  • FL (EL the most important) was compulsory;

From 1949 to the Present

  • This period (1949-1966) witnessed
    • Primacy: English to Russian, and back to English;
  • The Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976):
  • The period 1978 up to the present:
    • English as the primary FL well established;
    • This reflects the impact the political atmosphere has on FL in China.

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was a period of widespread social and political upheaval in the People’s Republic of China between 1966 and 1976, resulting in nation-wide chaos and economic disarray.

It was launched by Mao Zedong on May 16, 1966; he alleged that "liberal bourgeois" elements were permeating the party and society at large and that they wanted to restore Capitalism. He insisted that these elements be removed through pre-revolutionary class struggle by mobilizing the thoughts and actions of China’s youth, who formed Red Guards groups around the country. The movement subsequently spread into the military, urban workers, and the party leadership itself.

One of the main focuses of the Cultural Revolution was the abolishment of the Four Olds: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas.


Compulsory Education Law

The Law on Nine-Year Compulsory Education, which took effect July 1, 1986, established requirements and deadlines for attaining universal education tailored to local conditions and guaranteed school-age children the right to receive education.

The compulsory education law divided China into three categories: cities and economically developed areas in coastal provinces and a small number of developed areas in the hinterland; towns and villages with medium development; and economically backward areas.


Basic Education in China

  • 95% of total population receives 9 year compulsory education.
  • High school education grows up quickly.
  • Curriculum reforms are undergoing pretty well.
  • Teachers are respected.
  • A series of educational laws promulgated and revised.

China's basic education involves pre-school, nine-year compulsory education from elementary to junior high school, standard senior high school education, special education for disabled children, and education for illiterate people.

Children usually entered primary school at seven years of age for six days a week, which after regulatory changes in 1995 and 1997 were changed to five and a half and five days, respectively. The two-semester school year consisted of 9.5 months, and began on September 1 and March 1, with a summer vacation in July and August and a winter vacation in January and February.


"Key schools," shut down during the Cultural Revolution, reappeared in the late 1970s and, in the early 1980s, became an integral part of the effort to revive the lapsed education system. They also were allowed to recruit the best students for special training to compete for admission to top schools at the next level.



  • Although innovations are undergoing with entrance examinations into higher education institutions.
  • Examination related subjects emphasized.
  • Too much learning burden is faced up with students.

Through introduction of computer labs, satellite reception devices, CD-ROM playing devices, and VCD and DVD materials, quality educational resources will reach rural schools in remote and poor areas.


Secondary education in China has a complicated history. In the early 1960s, education planners followed a policy called "walking on two legs," which established both regular academic schools and separate technical schools for vocational training.

In the late 1970s, government and party representatives criticized what they termed the "unitary" approach of the 1960s, arguing that it ignored the need for two kinds of graduates: those with an academic education (college preparatory) and those with specialized technical education (vocational).

Chinese secondary schools are called middle schools and are divided into junior and senior levels.


Vocational and technical schools

The "Law on Vocational Education" was issued in 1996. Vocational education embraces higher vocational schools, secondary skill schools, vestibule schools, vocational high schools, job-finding centers and other adult skill and social training institutes.

Under the educational reform tenets, polytechnic colleges were to give priority to admitting secondary vocational and technical school graduates and providing on-the-job training for qualified workers.

Technical schools had several hundred different programs.


Roots of Chinese Higher Education

  • By the 18th century, China had perfected one of theworld’s most durable political systems during 2000years of its imperial history and had developed aunique civilization that had deeply influenced theculture of its neighboring countries.
  • China’s higher education had evolved according toits own logic and never deviated from itsdevelopmental path, despite external influences.
  • Over a long historical process, a uniqueset of scholarly values arose in China.There was no institution in Chinesetradition that could be called a university.Instead, the imperial examination systemand the academies (書院) were keyelements of ancient Chinese higherlearning.
  • University reforms in China are a combination ofexternally imposed standards that force China toadopt international (usually Western, and oftenAmerican) modes of education and administration,with voluntary and often enthusiastic acceptanceof foreign standards of academic excellence.
overview of china s formal education
Overview of China’s Formal Education

Total Enrollments (225 m)

Total Enrollments(197 m)




Middle School










Data: China National Statistics


Higher education in China

By the end of 2004, China had 2,236 schools of Higher Learning, with over 20 million students; the gross rate of enrollment in schools of higher learning reached 19 percent.

Between 1999 and 2003, enrollment in higher education increased from 1.6 million to 3.82 million. In 2004, the total enrollment in ordinary schools of higher learning was 4.473 million, 651,000 more than in 2003. Schools of higher learning and research institutes enrolled 326,000 postgraduate students, 57,000 more than the previous year.


Rapid Growth of Undergraduate Enrolment

  • Chinese higher education has experienced rapiddevelopments since 1978, particularly in the past 10 years.
  • China now has 1,700 universities and colleges, about 40%of them have the power of awarding bachelor degrees.
  • The total number of undergraduate admission in 2005was about 5 million, more than four times that in 1998.
  • The total number of undergraduate enrolment in 2005was more than 20 million, with a gross enrolment ratio ofabout 21% of the same age population.

Private Higher Education

  • The first private (MinBan) college of modern China wasfounded in 1982.
  • The number of private universities and colleges is nowabout 500.
  • The number of students enrolled in private highereducation institutions reached 1.4 million in 2005.
  • Almost all of the private universities and colleges focus onundergraduate education.
  • The quality of private higher education needsimprovement.

In 1985, the government designated September 10 as Teachers' Day, the first festival day for any profession and indicative of government efforts to raise the social status and living standards of teachers.


谢 谢

Thank you