Education in China over the Past 10 Year
- Preschool Education
Over the past ten years, China has implemented a dedicated action plan for preschool education. In 2021, there were a total of 295,000 kindergartens in China, an increase of 128,000 or 76.8% compared with 2011. In 2021, the number of children attending kindergartens was 48.052 million, an increase of 13.808 million compared with 2011; the average gross enrollment rate nationwide grew to 88.1% in 2021 from 62.3% in 2011, an increase of 25.8 percentage points. Preschool education has been basically available across the country. About 80% of new kindergartens established in the last ten years were located in the western and central part of China, and about 60% in rural areas. The team of preschool education teachers has been continuously strengthened. In 2021, there were 1095 colleges and universities offering preschool education courses, with 265,000 graduates, an increase of 591 and 231,000 respectively compared with 2011, up by 1.2 times and 6.7 times. The past decade has seen a continuous growth in financial support for preschool institutions. In 2020, China’s government expenditure on preschool education was 253.2 billion RMB, 6 times as much as that in 2011 (41.6 billion RMB). Between 2012 and 2021, government expenditure at all levels on preschool education totaled 75.2 billion RMB, which helped 62.32 million children from economically challenged families.
- Higher Education
China has established the world's largest higher education system, with the total registered students reaching 44.3 million. The gross enrollment rate of higher education has increased from 30% in 2012 to 57.8% in 2021, indicating that higher education in China has entered the stage of greater accessibility. The population with higher education has reached 240 million, and the average duration of education of the newly-added labor force reached 13.8 years. By the end of February 2022, over 52,500 MOOCs in China have been provided, with 370 million registered users. China ranks the first globally in the number of MOOCs and users, with over 330 million college students having acquired MOOC credits. Innovation and entrepreneurship education reform in colleges and universities has been further deepened. More than 30,000 specialized curriculum as well as over 11,000 open online courses on innovation and entrepreneurship have been offered. In particular, more than 174,000 professionals who excel in their own sectors have been employed as full-time/part-time mentors, and more than 1.39 million college students from over 1,000 colleges and universities actively participated in the National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Program for College Students. Over 60% of the national fundamental research projects and over 80% of the National Natural Science Fund projects have been undertaken by colleges and universities, who have won over 60% of the three major national science and technology awards. Regarding the catalogue of disciplines, a total of 771 majors have been admitted in the catalogue of undergraduate disciplines, including 265 new majors. 17,000 education institutes for various undergraduate majors were added, while 10,000 were disqualified or suspended.
- Vocational Education
In 2021, 5.57 million students were admitted to higher vocational schools in China, which was 1.8 times that of a decade ago, and secondary vocational schools (excluding technical schools) enrolled 4.89 million students. Annually, vocational schools have trained about 10 million high-caliber technical professionals for the job market. More than 10,000 vocational schools across the country have provided various kinds of training for hundreds of millions of people every year. Among vocational schools that provide modern vocational training for farmers, 141 of them have the capacity of training over 5000 persons per day, and 86 of them have the capacity of training more than 10000 persons per day. The number of full-time teachers in vocational schools nationwide increased from 1.11 million in 2012 to 1.29 million in 2021, with a growth rate of 17%. The national intelligent education platform for vocational education has been officially launched. Supported by more than 660 teaching resource databases, the platform covers 19 major curriculum categories and 396 higher vocational majors and offers more than 1,000 quality online courses and over 2000 teaching videos. In addition, more than 400 higher vocational schools have formed partnerships with foreign institutions to run schools in cooperation, and the number of full-time foreign students in China has reached 17000. Projects featuring the teaching of both the Chinese language and vocational skills have been carried out in more than 40 countries and regions to provide both vocational training and employment opportunities for students from different nations.
- Compulsory Education
There are 207,000 schools, 158 million students and 10.57 million teachers in compulsory education in China. Between 2012 and 2021, government spending on compulsory education increased from 1.17 trillion RMB to 2.29 trillion RMB, with its share in total public spending on education staying above 50%; The net enrollment rate in primary schools nationwide has increased from 99.85% to over 99.9%, and the gross enrollment rate in junior high schools has stayed above 100%. The enrollment rate of compulsory education for school-age children with disabilities exceeded 95%. In 2021, there were 920,000 students receiving special education in China, an increase of 541,000 or 142.8% over 2012. Nationally, between 2012 and 2021, the annual public spending on education rose from 7,447 RMB to 14,458 RMB per student at primary education level, and from 10,218 RMB to 20,717 RMB per student at lower secondary education level. The nutrition improvement program has benefited 37 million rural students every year, with the proportion of beneficiaries passing physical fitness tests increasing from 70.3% to 86.7%. Besides, major projects have been rolled out to narrow the rural-urban divide in terms of school facilities and resources. The central government has invested more than 400 billion RMB, driving local investment of more than 1 trillion RMB. Over the past decade, the total number of full-time teachers in compulsory education institutes has increased from 9.09 million to 10.57 million, an increase of 1.48 million. The proportion of teachers with bachelor's degree or above has increased from 47.6% to 77.7%. A national training program has provided training courses for more than 17 million principals and teachers.
- Scientific and Technological Innovation in Colleges and Universities
Over the past decade, colleges and universities have been leading the development of more than 60% of key state laboratories of various disciplines and 30% of national engineering research centers in China. The Ministry of Education has taken the initiative to build 25 cutting-edge science centers, 14 integrated research platforms, 38 state-level collaborative innovation centers, and more than 1500 key laboratories, engineering research centers, and provincial-ministerial collaborative innovation centers. Over 40% of the academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and nearly 70% of the recipients of the National Science Foundation For Distinguished Young Scholars are in these colleges and universities. The R&D funds for colleges and universities have increased from 76.87 billion RMB to 159.2 billion RMB, and the accumulated amount of allocated funds in the past ten years has reached over one trillion RMB. The entrusted scientific research funds from enterprises and institutions to these higher education institutions increased from 39.18 billion RMB in 2012 to 84.75 billion RMB in 2021, with a growth rate of more than 116%. Over the past decade, colleges and universities in China have played an active role in international cooperation. Approximately 400,000 Chinese participants have taken part in international scientific and technological research projects, over 1.74 million attendances at various international academic conferences have been made, and more than 70 joint laboratories for international cooperation have been built. The number of patents that colleges and universities acquired increased from 69,000 in 2012 to 308,000 in 2021, up by 346.4%, and the patent authorization rate increased from 65.1% to 83.9%. Over the last ten years, the number of patent assignment and licensing contracts has exceeded 15,000 from over 2000, and the economic benefits of patent commercialization increased nearly ten times, from 820 million RMB to 8.89 billion RMB.
- High School Education
Since 2012, a holistic approach has been adopted for the management of regular senior middle schools and secondary vocational schools across the country, substantially improving both the level and coverage of senior secondary education. Regular high schools in China totaled 14,600 in 2021, enrolling 26.503 million students, an increase of 7.97% and 5.59% respectively over 2012. The gross enrollment rate of senior secondary education in China exceeded 90% in 2020, fulfilling the national target as scheduled. This figure reached 91.4% in 2021, an increase of 6.4 percentage points over 2012. The overall investment in senior secondary education has increased significantly. Fiscal spending on senior secondary education grew from 231.7 billion RMB in 2012 to 466.6 billion RMB in 2021, recording an increase of over 100%. A national funding assistance system was established for students with financial difficulties in regular high schools. The annual financial assistance covers about 20% of the total number of students in regular high schools. Over the past decade, a total of 90.797 billion RMB of grants have been issued, benefiting 48.1327 million students; Since 2016, China has implemented the policy of exempting tuition and miscellaneous fees of students with financial difficulties to further reduce the burden on students' families. Over the past decade, 4570 regular high schools have been built, renovated or expanded throughout the country. In 2021, the building area of regular high schools nationwide reached 640 million square meters, an increase of 220 million square meters over 2012, up by 52.35%. The central government alone has invested 71.186 billion RMB. In 2021, the average value of instruments and equipment for regular high school students in China reached 4968 RMB, an increase of 2841 RMB and 1.34 times more compared with 2012; More than 95% of the schools have reached the standards for sound, physical and aesthetic instruments and scientific experimental instruments and equipment. In 2021, 100% of regular high schools in China have access to the Internet, and 76% of all the classrooms were multimedia classrooms. The national intelligent education platform for primary and secondary schools provides abundant high-quality education resources for regular high schools. Over the past decade, the number of full-time teachers in regular high schools increased by 27.17%, from 1.595 million to 2.0283 million, while the student-teacher ratio decreased from 15.47:1 in 2012 to 12.84:1 in 2021. The percentage of teachers with master’s degrees rose by nearly 1.5 fold, from 5% to 12.4%.