Thursday, July 30, 2009

Education system in China

Recently, I have read the thread on Indian education and entrepreneur. It is very interesting topic and give me a more ideas on do and learn what you like. However, I am also puzzled that is there no problem for Indians to enter a university. Because in China, the examination, National Higher Education Entrance Examination, is to set the barrier to campus almost can decide one's destiny.

Most of students have 6 years in primary school, 3 years in junior middle school and 3 years in senior middle school. After that they will face the examination and choose what university they want to attend. Generally, examination papers are differentiated by provinces (states) and other geographical area. All the students in the same province will have the same exam papers. At the same time, the university also set different proposition of admission criteria for different provinces. Generally, one university will keep half of its admission quotas to the province which it locate in. The reserve quotas will be dispersed among other areas.

It is very hard to enter a good university. For example, the number of students in the examination in one province is more than 300,000. The no.1 university, Tsinghua University only accept no more than 100. As a result, one in more than 3000 students can enter the no. 1 university. Generally, for top 10 universities in China, the admission rate is about 0.001.

After accepted into the universities, students can select majors given the priority by what mark they have. High mark student can get whatever they like, while low mark student will enter the biggest part in Engineering.

Even you have entered a good university, there is no guarantee that you will have a good job. Since the competition for job scouting is also fierce. The open jobs are limited while the hunters are huge. So most of students will have a job in a lower salary. Averagely, they need to work at least 20 years to pay the loan for one flat off.

That is what happens now in China. Students can not imagine what they will do in the future. At most what they care is that which university he or she can enter. Actually, half of them cannot enter universities. So some will opt for diploma, and others will do some small business. For diploma students, they are at a disadvantage when competing with bachelors in the career hunting.

The result is that, opportunities and chances are limited which definitely cannot fulfill the demands of students.


  1. @Jin Xianfei It is quiet amusing to find that lower mark students enter engineering. In India, it is other way around. Tsinghua is considered to be MIT of east so it is no surprise that competition is very stiff. Even in India, competition for IITs is extremely stiff.

  2. @ xian fei

    From ur article, i came to know how fierce the education system and competitiveness in china. If the government sets aside some number of seats for that province and let's say those province people don't join( i am sure this will not happen,but a exaggeration) what will happen to the remaining seats?? are this province based quota like this, let's say a guy however bad he scores, will be given priority compared to a good student from other province???

    after so many struggles of entering, still not getting the job guarantee even in good university is perhaps a surprise!! so is ur life full of fighting over one another in the name of competition??

    y doesn't the top universities accept more students?? what is the reason for that?? since china is a country of 1.3 billion in population,good education should be given to a majority rather than minority!! what are all the ways people voice their opinions for this.i want to hear from ur chinese counterparts mainly.

  3. @velan The reason is that, firstly the engineering part has the most capacity of admission; there are some "dirty" job in engineering which requires you to go to hard work environment such as construction and ocean freight logistics.

  4. @Jin Xianfei Thats interesting! Actually those jobs are well paid as far as I know because of the risk involved.

  5. Very interesting post. It's actually quite similar to AIEEE in India (NIT's have regional quotas and all that) but on a much much larger scale. I think the same competitiveness exists in India, but the difference being that the number of good universities can be counted on your fingers...

    But interesting to know the system. Thanks for the post! :)

  6. @Vaisagh NITs now removed state quota system for ur info.

  7. @karthic There are several reasons as to why certain universities take in a particular number of students. Some are capacity of facilities and faculty-student ratio, maintaining exclusivity, etc. I ve read reports of how Deans of Ivy League schools in the US pride themselves on how many applicants they are able to reject each year. I guess such people just miss the point on what they re supposed to be doing.

  8. @Jin In response to the original post- I am sure you would be aware that highest number of "foreign national" students in universities across the globe are Chinese. Indians follow up second. Reason is as outlined in your post; just not enough seats/opportunities to go by. Thanks a lot for the sharing.

  9. @Jin- Population explosion I can see is taking its toll on the Chinese education system too. Its impact here, as velan said, is seen in the IITs. Innumerable aspirants take up the Joint Entrance Examinations and purely due to the number of applicants many qualified candidates who spent days and nights working for the test fail to clear it. These people leave their families behind and move to cities do that they can find good coaching classes (which btw is another booming area for making fast cash :P )

    And the new set of reservaions and quotas initiated by the Indian government has resulted in nearly 200 seats being vacant in each NIT (Regional Engineering College) incuding mine and still many candidates ending up paying 1-5 Mn Indian rupees for seats in private colleges.

    Regd the job-hunting after college there, it is very sad to know about it. Failure to find a profession of your choice is something prevalent in India too but luckily not to the extend you have mentioned it to be in China.

    Best wishes!

  10. @Indians Still China's system is better than India.Because they have only one university exam, they just need to prepare for that. Look at India guys, We have 100 some entrance examinations conducted by government as well as private institutions. Our system still needs overhaul.