China is famous for its worship of education from the very beginning of this nation.
Confucius is remembered by the Chinese as first a tutor then a philosopher. Confucius believed that the core of education had four phases, cultivate ourselves, regulate our families, govern our state and keep the world peace.
Meanwhile the ordinary people only wish their children could change their fate by receiving Higher Education.
Since the reform and opening up of China, things have been changing day by day but the polarization of wealth will only strengthen the faith of a so-called “carp to jump over the dragon door” (which means the ordinary students are admitted to a famous university after the national college entrance examination).
Nowadays the Chinese keep valuing Education as their top priority but they are finding that education is becoming more and more expensive.
All Chinese children receive 9 years compulsory education. However, primary and junior high schools are assigned based on which district you live in. Furthermore, teacher’s capacity, infrastructure, and teaching skills of each school varies. In order to send their children to a “better” school, people are willing to buy expensive “school district housing”, at a cost that is usually a lot higher than what they can afford. In many cases parents have to pay a school selection fee even for kindergartens.
During after school hours or on public holidays, most Chinese students have to go to cram schools to keep up with the pace where the teachers are paid by the course (usually by the hour.) This cost is not included in the expense of the school district housing or school selection fee that is mentioned above.
In some big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, some parents choose to send their children to private boarding schools from the age of 12. These privately-owned schools are not part of the compulsory education system, so extra cost is required. It used to be the choice of wealthy families but has become a common situation throughout the country.
Since the State Council organized the Education industry in 1996, University education has become a price tagged commodity. According to the official statistics, the average annual cost for a college student is about 3000 US dollars while China’s per capita annual income was 7476 US dollars in 2014. People believe that tuition has become an obstruction to entering college for many students from rural areas.
In Primary School, the teachers are not allowed to assign homework to the pupils. However it would be very unusual for parents to see their children leaving school without loads of homework in their bags.
All primary school teachers encourage parents to supervise their children finishing their homework which may take from half an hour to several hours, depending on both the difficulty level of the homework and the skill of pupils themselves.
Parents also take responsibility for arranging their children’s cram school affairs.
Every Chinese student knows that the national college entrance examination is what he works for from the beginning of his or her student career.
Each June, nearly ten million students attend the national college entrance examination to determine their destinies.
China’s annual national college entrance examination was developed from the Imperial Examination System which was established during the Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD). The purpose of the ancient Imperial Examination System was to discover the talents of the ordinary people which could prevent society class curing. The national college entrance examination largely plays the same role. Although students from different provinces may not face the same paper during the examination, it is generally fair within the province. And every student shares the chance to attend all top universities in China through his or her efforts.
In the near future people will see that the national college entrance examination is the fairest and most powerful bridge between children from China’s ordinary families to the upper world.