China has one of the largest student population from preparatory to college level. Despite the huge number of students, the government is prioritizing its resources for their citizens to have the best quality education it can afford. As such, national policies such as mandatory education and allowing foreigners to study in China are just some of the many innovations and improvements the government has applied in order to achieve its goal of a higher literacy rate in China. The learning process is focused on memorization, rigid and long exams with priority in Math and Science subjects; so some foreigners find the process very attractive for their children. But before enrolling your child into this sophisticated system, take time to consider some basic facts about Chinese education particularly Chinese middle schools.
In China, middle schools or secondary schools as known in other countries are divided into two levels: junior and senior. Students start their middle school term at junior level when they reach the age of twelve and once they reach the age of fifteen, they are eligible to enter senior school.
A regular schedule in middle schools in China is as follows;
Two semester totalling nine months of school days.
There are rural areas which have flexible schedule in order to factor in agricultural cycles.
General subjects offered are Math, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Language, Politics, History, Music, Fine Arts, and Physical Education.
Most of the subjects are taught exclusively in Chinese, particularly Math and Science.
Senior students who graduated from a middle school can boast with pride that he or she is considered as an educated person. This is due to the impression that middle schools are considered as training grounds for college and university education. These students have better prospects in term of admission into universities, as there are limited space. Middle schools in general are assessed in terms of its ability in sending their senior graduates for university education.
The requisites for admission are based on the results of entrance tests given in the final year of elementary level. However, the entrance examination was abolished recently and in some places in China such as Shanghai, the lottery system has been implemented to admit students.
Foreign students can be admitted in middle schools in China, provided that they have admission application, health record, and data from previous school, as well as visa and passport information, letters of recommendations, campus interviews, assessments, language proficiency exams, and entrance examinations. Some middle schools differ in requirements; some ask for all these while others only require one or two of the requirements listed.
As most of the subjects are taught in Chinese, it is very important that students are proficient in the language; so, some schools particularly in primary schools tend to retroact grade level of the student when foreigners study in China. Foreigners and expats in China have long appreciated public Chinese middle schools and some other schools because of its affordability.
About the Author
The author has experience teaching in a Chinese school and continues to teach and travel around China.
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