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Education in China shifts to middle-to-high world ranking

2018-06-26 11:00:00

Since the 18th Communist Party of China National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, has made education a strategic priority in its development agenda: The Party and all of society have strived to ensure that socialist characteristics form the bedrock in all schools, have increased financial investment in education, deepened comprehensive educational reforms, and toiled to develop a world-class modern education system with Chinese characteristics. Progress in education in China has attained historical levels, graduating it to a country with middle-to-high ranking education system. Educational development contributed greatly to realizing the Two Centenary Goals and rejuvenating the Chinese nation.

From 2012 to 2016, figures representing China’s advancement in education have provided a continuous source of encouragement and are testimony to China's successful action to modernize, increase equality and improve education for the country’s 1.3 billion people.

In 2016, the gross enrollment rate at pre-school level was 77.4%, 12.9 percentage points higher than in 2012 (64.5%); the gross enrollment rate at primary school level reached 104.4%, marking a 0.1 percentage point increase from 104.3% in 2012; the gross enrollment rate at junior high school level reached 104.0%, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from 102.1% in 2012; the gross enrollment rate in senior high school reached 87.5%, an increase of 2.5 percentage points compared with 2012 (85%); the higher education enrollment rate was 42.7%, an increase of 12.7 percentage points from 30% in 2012.

• Leapfrog development of pre-school education

In 2016, China had 240,000 kindergartens, 32.6% more than in 2012(181,000). Children registered in kindergartens (including in nursery classes) totaled 44.139 million, an increase of 19.8 percentage points on 2012.

• Consolidating achievements in universalized compulsory education

In 2016, there were 230,000 schools for compulsory education across the country. The number of students in compulsory education totaled 140 million. 93.4% of students completed their nine-year compulsory education, up 1.6 percentage points from 2012.

• Increase in coverage of senior secondary education

In 2016, 93.7% of junior high school students entered regular senior high schools, secondary vocational schools or adult-education high schools after graduation, a 5.3 percentage point increase on the 88.4% achieved in 2012. 39.701 million students were registered in these schools (59.6% in regular senior high schools, 40.3% in secondary vocational schools and 0.1 percentage point in adult-education high schools).

The majority of junior high school graduates were able to enroll in regular senior secondary schools or secondary vocational schools. The majority of the workforce today has been educated to senior secondary school level or above.

• Stepping towards mass higher education

In China, the number of students receiving higher education for every 100,000 increased from 2,335 in 2012 to 2,530 in 2016, an increase of 11.2% points on 2012, and accounting for 1/5 of total higher education in the world. The overall number of students enrolled in higher education in 2016 was 36.99 million. China now has the largest higher education sector in terms of volume of students.

• Further improvement of vocational and lifelong education

In 2016, China had 12,000 vocational colleges catering for 26.82 million students, including 9.366 million enrolled in 2016. Higher vocation institutions make it possible for around 2.8 million families every year to realize their dream of finally being able to send their first child to college.

In 2016, 8.63 million students were enrolled in China’s non-degree tertiary level education programs, 1.2 times more than in 2012. The number of students in continuing higher education reached 12.875 million, accounting for 1/3 of the total number of students in higher education.

• Promoting the development of private education

The total number of private schools, all types and all levels included, in 2016 reached 171,000, up 22.2% on 2012, and accounting for 33.4% of all schools in China. The number of students in 2016 in these schools totaled 48.255 million, up 23.4% on 2012, and accounting for 18.2% of the total number of students in China.

• Promotion of the Double First-Class Initiative

The Essential Science Indicators (ESI) show that the number of universities graduating to world-class ranking increased significantly over the period in question. Around 100 academic courses managed to make it into the top global 1000 programs.

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