The People’s Republic of China, the third largest country in the world, after Canada and Russia, has an area of 9.6 million sq km, or one-fifteenth of the world’s land mass. The border stretches over 22,000 km on land and the coastline extends well over 18,000 km, washed by the waters of the Bohai, the Huanghai, the East China and the South China seas. The Bohai Sea is the inland sea of China.
To provide for its population, China has a vast and varied school system. There are pre-schools, kindergartens, schools for the deaf and blind, key schools (similar to college preparatory schools), primary schools, secondary schools (comprising junior and senior middle schools, secondary agricultural and vocational schools, regular secondary schools, secondary teachers’ schools, secondary technical schools, and secondary professional schools), and various institutions of higher learning (consisting of regular colleges and universities, professional colleges, and short-term vocational universities). In terms of access to education, a pyramid represents China’s system; because of the scarcity of resources allotted to higher education, student numbers decrease sharply at the higher levels. Although there were dramatic advances in primary education after 1949, achievements in secondary and higher education were not as great.
Although the government has authority over the education system, the Chinese Communist Party has played a role in managing education since 1949. The May 1985 National Conference on Education recognised five fundamental areas for reform to be discussed in connection with implementing the Party Central Committee’s “Draft Decision on Reforming the Education System.” The reforms were intended to produce “more able people”, to reform
and improve the graduate-assignment system of institutions of higher education and to expand their management and decision-making powers.
In early 1987 efforts had begun to develop the key schools from a preparatory school into a vehicle for diffusing improved curricula, materials, and teaching practices to local schools. Moreover, the appropriateness of a key school’s role in the nine-year basic education plan was questioned by some officials because key schools favoured urban areas and the children of more affluent and better educated parents. In the last decade, universities in China have been offering quality education and an overwhelming number of Nepali students are pursuing their higher education in universities in China. The education fairs organised in Kathmandu in recent days where representatives of different universities spoke and presented information on Chinese universities and its education system prove their popularity. Watch this space for some Chinese universities that will be featured.