Education in Beijing

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The Beijing Olympic Building, which houses the headquarters of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education

Education in Beijing includes information about primary and secondary schools in Beijing.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (simplified Chinese: 北京市教育委员会; traditional Chinese: 北京市教育委員會; pinyin: Běijīng Shì Jiàoyùwěiyuánhuì) is the local education authority.[1] This education authority is currently headquartered in the Beijing Olympic Building (S: 北京奥运大厦, T: 北京奧運大廈, P: Běijīng Àoyùn Dàshà) in Haidian District,[2][3] and it was previously headquartered in Xicheng District.[4][5]

The institutions listed here are administered by China's Ministry of Education.


Just prior to the 1949 founding of the People's Republic of China, Beijing had 13 institutions of higher education, 76 secondary schools, 358 primary schools including those public and private, and 21 nurseries and kindergartens. Of the secondary schools, 80% were private. At the time, 47% of all primary school-aged children in Beijing attended school. Dong Jianhong and Chen Tiying, the authors of "Urban Education in Beijing: An international perspective," wrote that there were few schools located in poor neighborhoods.[6] Dong Jianhong and Chen Tiying wrote that "education in Beijing lagged far behind" that of the rest of the country prior to the founding of the People's Republic.[6]

Dong Jianhong and Chen Tiying wrote that education in Beijing "developed rapidly" after the 1949 founding.[6] The municipal government established additional higher education facilities, acquired and reorganized schools, established new schools in lower class and working class areas, lowered age limits in the school admission policies, and decreased cutoff scores on achievement tests for working class children during the years 1949 through 1957. Departments of education were established for the Beijing municipality and each of the Beijing districts in 1954.[6]

Dong Jianhong and Chen Tiying wrote that in the Great Leap Forward period school activities were not focused on education and instead were "mostly devoted to political movements and productive labor" which produced a low educational quality.[6] During the period many schools established school-operated factories that their students worked in, and the Beijing educational authorities established part-work part-study experimental schools and work-study programs.[6]

The authorities opened many senior secondary schools and closed many part-study, part-time, and vocational schools during the Cultural Revolution.[6]

In 1986 the starting age for primary education for urban children was changed from 7 to 6.[7]


As of 2011, about 30,000 senior high school students resident in Beijing do not have Beijing hukou and attend senior high schools in the cities and towns where their hukou is registered instead of Beijing.[8]

Universities and colleges[edit]

Beijing is home to a great number of colleges and universities, including several well-regarded universities of international stature, such as Peking University and Tsinghua University (two of the National Key Universities). Owing to Beijing's status as the political and cultural capital of China, a larger proportion of tertiary-level institutions are concentrated here than in any other city in China, reaching at least 70 in number. Many international students from Japan, Korea, North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere come to Beijing to study every year.[citation needed]

As of 2011, according to the Beijing Educational Committee, 700,000 students attend universities based in Beijing. Of those students, according to the committee, 15-20% come from families classified as being in poverty. As of 2011 the municipal government had pledged 50 million yuan ($7.3 million U.S.) as an addition to its funds for assisting university students in poverty.[9]

The first university dedicated for ethnic minority students in Beijing is the Minzu University of China, or the Central University of Nationalities (CUN), established in 1951.[10]

"Moral education" at the university level is integrated into other subjects.[7]

Ethnic minorities in Beijing have a higher than average educational attainment at the tertiary level compared to the national average for ethnic minorities.[11] As of 2011 10.8% of ethnic minorities in Beijing have obtained university degrees compared to 0.9% nationally. Reza Hasmath, author of "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," stated that this is because minorities in Beijing do not have as many difficulties with the Mandarin language as do minorities in other parts of China.[9]

Primary and secondary education[edit]

As of 1989 Beijing had 3,703 primary schools, including 695 urban primary schools. Out of the total number of primary schools in urban and rural areas, 38 were designated for ethnic minorities; 23 of the minority schools were located in urban areas. As of 1989, the schools had 934,696 students, including 448,167 students enrolled in urban primary schools. As of 1989, the schools had 49,022 teachers, including 24,641 full-time teachers at the urban schools.[7]

The Beijing municipal government has made efforts to provide a nine-year compulsory education.[12] Several experts, including the Beijing Normal University education specialist Binxian Zhang, have argued that Beijing should make twelve years of education compulsory.[10]

As of June 2010 the Beijing government allowed 75 local public and private schools to teach foreign students. The Beijing Education Commission began accrediting these schools as such in 2003. Foreign students must not make up over 10% of the student body and they must receive instruction in classes with Chinese students. Schools are eligible to receive foreigner students if they were in existence for 10 or more years, had an English-speaking staff member managing foreign student issues, and have training in teaching Chinese as a foreign language.[13]


The curriculum of Beijing primary and secondary schools is a mirror of the national curriculum,[14] because under the Education Law of Mainland China, the Ministry of Education coordinates, governs, and plans the curriculum of schools.[15] Hasmath stated that Beijing schools use "virtually the same textbooks and curriculum content" in the national curriculum.[14] The Beijing authorities are tasked with implementing the curriculum,[14] because under the Education Act administrative organs at county, township, and administrative village levels implement the curriculum.[16]

Since 1993 schools have divided subjects between those locally arranged and those that are state-arranged. All public schools in Beijing, including those catering to minorities, give instruction in Mandarin Chinese.[17] The standard curriculum includes "moral education" that may be a standalone course or integrated into other courses. Moral education takes up one hour weekly in the primary level, while secondary students have more time per week in moral education. The standard curriculum does not include religion courses.[7] In 2009 the educational authorities inserted components about volunteerism in the curricula of Beijing primary and secondary schools.[18] Secondary schools in Beijing have also implemented citizenship education.[19]

Hasmath, the author of "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," stated that the curriculum of Beijing primary and secondary schools has a focus on the experiences of Han Chinese people, and since ethnic minority-designated schools use the same curriculum used by those not designated as minority schools, this "can be impractical for meeting the needs of ethnic minority groups."[14]

Hasmath stated that because of the division between locally arranged subjects and state-arranged subjects, "there is some flexibility, at least in theory, to engage with local minority content in Beijing."[17] Like with other subjects, minority-related subjects, such as Islamic studies classes in Hui schools, are given in Mandarin Chinese.[17] Hasmath stated that commentators overall suggested "that there is little space" for teaching about the culture and history of minority groups at the primary and secondary levels and therefore "reinforcing education as a vehicle to assimilate ethnic minorities via a core curriculum dominated by Han experiences."[20]

Budget and spending[edit]

Hasmath stated that in Beijing the educational system has "spending power" which allows schools to retain university-educated teachers and receive modern facilities.[11] Around 2007 the Beijing Municipal Education Committee, the 2006 spending on education was $23.5 billion yuan (about $3.5 billion U.S.), making up 3.04% of Beijing's GDP. At that time the committee expected the spending to rise to 40 billion yuan (about $5.9 billion), which would match the 4% GDP target.[21]

Hasmath stated that as a result of the increase in spending of local education, most primary and secondary schools in Beijing have recently built classrooms and laboratories. The education chief of Beijing once stated that the main problem of the school system was the allocation of funds in a "more rational way and making sure the investment goes to the neediest areas" while the "total amount of expenditure is not the problem in Beijing's education sector."[21]

School year[edit]

The school year in Beijing primary and secondary schools is divided into two semesters and schools have five-day-per-week class schedules.[14] Hasmath stated that this schedule is "in theory" what is used for schools in the rest of China.[15]

In primary schools there are 38 weeks were classes held, and 13 weeks are allotted to student vacations. The primary schools have one week in reserve. Junior secondary schools have 39 weeks for classes with 12 weeks allotted for student vacations. At the junior secondary level, one week is held in reserve. Senior secondary schools have classes held during 39 weeks with vacation being held on 10 or 11 of these weeks. At the senior secondary level, one or two weeks may be held in reserve.[14]

Teacher hiring and payment[edit]

By 2011 the Municipal Education Committee made efforts to equalize the pay rates of primary and secondary teachers to those of government employees as a way of improving teacher retention. As of 2011, each year there is an oversupply of applications for teaching positions at Beijing primary and secondary schools, and most of the applicants had recently graduated from universities in Beijing.[22]

Educational attainment and performance[edit]

In 1989, within Beijing primary schools, the drop out rate was 0.4% and the enrollment rate was 99.5%.[7]

Ethnic minorities in Beijing have higher levels of educational attainment than ethnic minorities overall. Within Beijing, 15.8% of ethnic minorities finish their education at the primary level while nationally 45% of ethnic minorities finish at the primary level.[23] The odds ratios, meaning the odds of educational attainment,[24] in Beijing are 0.12 at the primary level, 1.35 at the junior secondary level, and 11.35 at the senior secondary level. Hasmath stated that these figures demonstrate "a considerable advantage for ethnic minorities in Beijing relative to minorities nationwide."[23] Hasmath stated that a gender bias in regards to ethnic minority education within Beijing only affects outcomes for students at senior technical schools.[23]

Hasmath wrote in 2011 school administrators in Beijing stated that among minority children, the failure rate in Chinese-language examinations was "virtually zero"; he was unable to obtain exact figures.[23] That year, Hasmath wrote that the "overwhelming majority" of minority students in Beijing were "fluent in Mandarin without any discernible cues to ethnic minority status (e.g. accent)".[11] Hasmath explained that ethnic minority students observed in a study "spoke a very clear and standard dialect of Mandarin, commonplace among their age group in Beijing" and that "one would be hard pressed to distinguish between Han school children and the minority school children observed on the basis of their linguistic skills alone."[25] Hasmath stated that the lack of an accent means that the minority students "are not penalized from a linguistic standpoint".[11] This study, consisting of 53 semi-structured interviews with minorities in the Chongwen, Haidian, and Xuanwu districts, was conducted in late 2006 and 2007.[26]

Hasmath stated that four reasons for why minorities in Beijing outperform peers in other places include the overall wealth of China,[23] the ability of primary and secondary schools in Beijing to have their teacher slots filled, the smaller family sizes of minority families in Beijing compared to minority families elsewhere, and the family environment of minority households in Beijing,[22] since most minority families speak Mandarin in their homes.[27] Hasmath stated that usually a minzu ethnic minority family in Beijing has one child, and it is rare for such a family to have more than two children.[28] Hasmath explained that the reduced family size means the family has more time to provide informal education for its children, and in the case of a family with one child, the family can focus their attention on one child's education instead of having to divide its attention between multiple children.[28] Hasmath added that the conditions in schools resulting from the "spending power" of Beijing authorities influences the educational attainment of minority students in Beijing.[11]

Key secondary schools[edit]

Some secondary schools are designated as key secondary schools. Beijing had 63 such schools in 1981.[29]

Vocational secondary schools[edit]

In Beijing graduates of junior secondary schools may enter vocational secondary schools. These schools utilize a competitive admissions process. Students may complete specific specialties or courses in three or four years. In 1990 there were 131 vocational secondary schools in urban areas, with a total enrollment of 45,204 students, employing 7,084 teachers and serving 45,204 students. At that time, the schools offered 232 specialties.[29]

The Beijing government established vocational high schools in 1980. That year, there were 52 of these schools serving 4,400 students. At that time they provided 22 professional courses. In one ten-year period, 64,000 people graduated from vocational schools.[29]

List of secondary schools[edit]

Well-known middle schools in Beijing are:

List of primary schools[edit]

There are many well-known primary schools in the urban area of Beijing.

  • Beijing First Experiment Primary School (北京第一实验小学)
  • Beijing Second Experiment Primary School (北京第二实验小学)
  • Beijing Haidian Experiment Primary School (北京海淀实验小学)
  • Beijing Fuxue Primary School (北京府学小学)
  • Beijing Jingshan School (北京景山学校)
  • Beijing Primary School (北京小学)
  • Zhongguancun No.1 Primary School (中关村第一小学)
  • Zhongguancun No.2 Primary School (中关村第二小学)
  • Zhongguancun No.3 Primary School (中关村第三小学)
  • The Elementary School Affiliated to Renmin University of China (中国人民大学附属小学)
  • The Experimental Primary School Attached to Beijing Normal University (北京师范大学附属实验小学)

Preschools and kindergartens[edit]

Beijing had 3,824 nurseries and kindergartens, including 35 nurseries and kindergartens designated for ethnic minorities and one kindergarten focusing on gymnastics, by 1990. By that year, 41,314 working staff members worked at the schools, which educated around 400,000 students. The enrollment in the nurseries and kindergartens made up 84.5% of urban children above 3 within the designated age group in Beijing.[7]

International schools[edit]

Several international schools opened in Beijing in years prior to 1995. The Beijing Education Commission began monitoring international schools in 1995 and began recognizing them in 1996. In 2010 the BEC listed 19 international schools which accept foreigners. Schools designated as "schools for foreign personnel" may not accept Mainland Chinese students.[13]

International schools in Beijing include:


  1. ^ "Beijing Municipal Commission of Education Archived January 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.." eBeijing/Beijing International (organized by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology and the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government, authorized by the Beijing Municipal Government). Retrieved on 10 January 2014.
  2. ^ "联系我们 Archived January 11, 2014, at the Wayback Machine." (Contact Us) . Beijing Municipal Commission of Education. Retrieved on January 10, 2014. "北京市教育委员会地址:海淀区北四环中路267号北京奥运大厦"
  3. ^ Home page Archived February 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. . Beijing Municipal Commission of Education. Retrieved on January 10, 2014. "地址:海淀区北四环中路267号北京奥运大厦 邮政编码:100083"
  4. ^ "Home" (English) . Beijing Municipal Commission of Education. Retrieved on January 10, 2014. "Beijing Municipal Education Commission Add: 109 West Qianmen Street, Beijing, China 100031" Archived October 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Home page . Beijing Municipal Commission of Education. Retrieved on January 10, 2014. "北京市教育委员会地址:西城区前门西大街109号"
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Dong and Chen, p. 121.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Dong and Chen, p. 123.
  8. ^ Liu Jinsong (刘金松). "Beijing To Pupils: "Get A Hukou!"" ([ Archive]). Nation (经济观察网) at The Economic Observer. September 6, 2011. Translated into English by Zhu Na. Retrieved on June 23, 2015. Original Chinese: "开学季 分别季" - Date of original: August 29, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1847.
  10. ^ a b Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1845.
  11. ^ a b c d e Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1851.
  12. ^ Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1844-1845.
  13. ^ a b Leung, Sarah. "Beijing schools get thumbs up." South China Morning Post. Saturday 10 June 2010. Retrieved on 3 October 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1839.
  15. ^ a b Hasmath, A Comparative Study of Minority Development in China and Canada, p. 56.
  16. ^ Hasmath, A Comparative Study of Minority Development in China and Canada, p. 56-57.
  17. ^ a b c Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1840.
  18. ^ Johnston, Charles S., Xin Chen and Jing Tian, "Beijing's 'People's Olympics': From Slogan to Sustainability" - In: Events, Society and Sustainability: Critical and Contemporary Approaches. In: Pernecky, Tomas and Michael Lück. Events, Society and Sustainability: Critical and Contemporary Approaches. Routledge, 2012. ISBN 978-0-415-80993-1, 9780415809931. p. 54.
  19. ^ Pan, Suyan, p. 135.
  20. ^ Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1839-1840.
  21. ^ a b Hasmath, A Comparative Study of Minority Development in China and Canada, p. 60.
  22. ^ a b Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1843.
  23. ^ a b c d e Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1841.
  24. ^ Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1842.
  25. ^ Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1840-1841.
  26. ^ Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1838.
  27. ^ Hasmath, "The education of ethnic minorities in Beijing," p. 1844.
  28. ^ a b Hasmath, A Comparative Study of Minority Development in China and Canada, p. 61.
  29. ^ a b c Dong and Chen, p. 125.

External links[edit]