The Chinese education system has been revamped at least twice – in 1949 and 1978. The primary aspects that needed consideration while restructuring the Chinese education system, like any other, included funding, types of technical and vocation schools, as well as preservation of tradition and culture. The 1949 reforms were based on the Russian model.
The Cultural Revolution in 1966 was yet another milestone in the Chinese education system. During this period, a lot of persecution of scholars and intellectuals occurred. But this dark time came to an end in 1976 following which education in the fields of science and technology came to the forefront in China. Many new subjects of study were also introduced into the curriculum.
Before 1989, about 80 percent of the country’s population was illiterate. The people in charge decided to make various changes and brought in transformation in the country’s educational policies. As a result, the number of students getting enrolled increased swiftly. Presently, the Chinese education system has made primary school compulsory for all. As a result 99 percent of children attend school.
Many researchers attribute the success of the Chinese education system to the priority given to education by the people of China. They have come to realize that education is the key to a good quality of life and better opportunities. Chinese universities produce tens of thousands of graduates each year. The increased funding from the government has resulted in international quality scholars passing out each year. Currently the Universities offer a variety of exchange programs for students and have tie-ups with many foreign educational institutes thus ensuring the best possible opportunities to students at all levels.
China’s joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) also proved most beneficial to the education system in that country as it paved the way for foreign investment in universities opening up new vistas for the students. Over the past two decades many private educational institutions have also come into existence. But their number still remains very insignificant when compared to the number of government-run institutes.
Before the 1990s, higher education was free of cost to all students. There were no tuition fees to be paid. But this has all now changed and higher education has to be paid for. Hence, the University culture is more or less similar to that in the US with many students taking up part-time jobs to pay for their education. This holds especially true for those from lower income backgrounds.