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Education System in China

In China, the education is divided into three categories: basic education, higher education, and adult education. The Compulsory Education Law of stipulates that each child have nine years of formal education.

Basic Education

Basic education in China includes pre-school education, primary education and regular secondary education.

Preschool, or kindergarten, can last up to three years, with children entering as early as age three, until age six, when they typically enter elementary school. The academic year is divided into two semesters.

Secondary education is divided into academic secondary education and specialized/vocational/technical secondary education.
Academic secondary education is delivered by academic lower and upper middle schools.
Lower middle school graduates wishing to continue their education take a locally administered entrance exam, on the basis of which they will have the option either of continuing in an academic upper middle school or of entering a vocational secondary school. Vocational schools offer programs ranging from two to four years and train medium-level skilled workers, farmers, and managerial and technical personnel. Technical schools typically offer four-years programs to train intermediate technical personnel. “Schools for Skilled Workers” typically train junior middle school graduates for positions requiring production and operation skills. The length of training is typically three year.

Higher Education

Higher education at the undergraduate level includes two-and three-year junior colleges(sometimes also called short-cycle colleges, four-year colleges, and universities offering programs in both academic and vocational subjects. Many colleges and universities also offer graduate programs leading to the master’s or Ph.D. degree.
Chinese higher education at the undergraduate level is divided into three-year and four-year programs. The former is offered not only at short-cycle colleges, but frequently also at four-year colleges and universities. The latter is offered at four-year colleges and universities but do not always lead to the bachelor’s degree.
Myriad higher education opportunities also fall under the general category of adult education.

Adult Education

The adult education category overlaps all three of the above categories. Adult primary education includes Workers’ Primary Schools, Peasants’ Primary Schools, and literacy classes. Adult secondary education includes radio/TV specialized secondary schools, specialized secondary school for cadres, specialized secondary schools for staff and workers, specialized secondary schools for peasants, in-service teacher training schools and correspondence specialized secondary schools. Adult higher education includes radio/TV universities, cadre institutes, workers’ colleges, peasant colleges, correspondence colleges, and educational colleges. Most of the above offer both two- and three-year short-cycle curricula; only a few also offer regular undergraduate curricula.

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