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Culture Notes: Compulsory Education

In this article, Dr Li will explain compulsory education in China.

Every country has its own education system. In China, when children reach the age of three, they attend the kindergarten. When they are six years old, they will attend primary school, and will receive a nine-year compulsory education, which is composed of 6 years of primary school and 3 years of secondary school. Primary school students are called 小学生。And the students from grade 7 to grade 9 are middle school students, in Chinese they are called 初中生. In China, the first class of the day usually begins around 8 o’clock and finishes at 4 or 5 o’clock. This 6+3 education system is called the nine-year compulsory education. Children from 6 years old to 15 years old must go to school. Everyone must receive 9 years of compulsory education. This policy has been implemented since 1986. When students graduate from junior high school, they will participate in a test called the 中考, which is an examination that allows them to enter senior high school. After this examination, some students will go to technical secondary school, and some will go to senior high school. For those who go to technical secondary school, after three years of study, some will go to work and some will continue their study in junior college. For those who succeed in entering senior high school, after three years of hard study, they will attend the college entrance examination. This examination is so important that it will decide what college you will enter and what major you will study. To some extent, it also determines what job you will have and what kind of life you will live. So, for those who attend the college entrance examination, there is a saying: they are like thousands of troops crossing one single-plank bridge at one time.

9 years Compulsory Education 九年制义务教育 jiǔnián zhì yìwù jiāoyù

Primary school students 小学生 xiǎoxuéshēng

Middle school students 初中生chūzhōngshēng

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