Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies Country Pages


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Country overview



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DOI: 10.5040/9781350995963.0022

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    Bloomsbury Publishing
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Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies Country
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Country overview

China is a country with over 5,000 years of history and a diverse and profound culture. It is a vast country with contrasting landscapes and terrains, a multiethnic and multilingual population, and varying levels of economic and social development across its regions.

China boasts the largest education system in the world. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Education of China, there were 513,800 schools at all levels of education, 270 million students, and 16,268,890 full-time teachers in 2017. China implements a nine-year compulsory education system, which covers primary education and lower secondary education. During the past forty years of reform and opening-up policy, China has experienced a rapid development of education at all levels. In 2017, the gross enrollment rate was 79.6 percent in preschool education, 103.5 percent in lower secondary education, 88.3 percent in upper secondary education, and 45.7 percent in higher education. The net enrollment rate in primary education was 99.91 percent.[1]

Based on the National Strategy of Revitalizing China through Science and Education, and the National Strategy of Revitalizing China through Talents, the Chinese government have continuously increased investment in education, laying a solid foundation for development and reform. In 2017, the total investment in education was 4256.2 billion yuan RMB, and the national general public budget for education was 2991.9 billion yuan RMB, accounting for 14.71 percent of national general public budget expenditure, while the proportion of national financial expenditure on education is 4.14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).[2]

In the twenty-first century, the world has seen profound changes and developments with regard to globalization, development of the knowledge economy, scientific and technological innovation, and intensifying competition for talent. With this, in addition to the pressures of industrialization, informatization, urbanization, marketization, and internationalization, China has been transforming and improving its educational system.

Read more about education and childhood in China

Statistical information

GDP (current US$)

School enrollment, primary (% gross)

Life expectancy at birth, total (years)

Population, total

Full country profile

Regional Editors

Liu Baocun, Professor, Beijing Normal University , China

Dr. Liu Baocun is a professor of comparative education at Beijing Normal University. He serves as President of the Comparative Education Society of Asia (CESA), President of China Comparative Education (CCES), and Coeditor of International and Comparative Education. With his specialization and research interests in comparative education, higher education, education policy and management, he has been involved in a wide range of national and international research and consultancy projects, and published more than 200 journal papers and 10 books. He has received many honors and awards for his research and teaching in the field of education, including Distinguished Professor of the Ministry of Education Changjiang Scholars Program.

Jun Li, Professor, Western University, Canada

Jun Li is a professor of educational policy and leadership at Western University Faculty of Education, Canada, a founding editor of the CIES Book Series Education in Global Perspective, an editorial advisor of Comparative Education Review, and an associate funding editor of Beijing International Review of Education. Dr. Li has extensively published, with many academic books and over a hundred journal/book chapters/newspaper articles in English, Chinese, or Japanese, including his authored book Quest for World-Class Teacher Education? A Multiperspectival Study on the Chinese Model of Policy Implementation (2016). He is often interviewed on education and/or China by The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Global Times, China Daily, and China Central Television, etc.

[1] Ministry of Education of China (2018), “National Statistical Bulletin on the Development of Education in 2017,” July 19, http://www.moe.gov.cn/jyb_sjzl/sjzl_fztjgb/201807/t20180719_343508.html (accessed December 28, 2018).

[2] Ministry of Education of China (2018), “National Statistical Announcement on the Implementation of Education Funds in 2017,” October 8, http://www.moe.gov.cn/srcsite/A05/s3040/201810/t20181012_351301.html (accessed December 28, 2018).