Taixue (Tai-shueh; simplified Chinese: 太学; traditional Chinese: 太學; lit. 'Greatest Study or Learning'), or sometimes called the "Imperial Academy", "Imperial School", "Imperial University" or "Imperial Central University", was the highest rank of educational establishment in Ancient China between the Han dynasty and Sui dynasty. The university held 30,000 students and academicians during the 2nd century. This provided the Han dynasty with well-educated bureaucrats to fill civil service posts in the imperial government. The first nationwide government school system in China was established in 3 CE under Emperor Ping of Han, with the Taixue located in the capital of Chang'an and local schools established in the prefectures and in the main cities of the smaller counties. The Sui dynasty instituted major reforms, giving the imperial academy a greater administrative role and renaming it the Guozijian (國子監). As the Guozijian, the institution was maintained by successive dynasties until it was finally abolished in 1905 near the end of the Qing dynasty.
Taixue taught Confucianism and Chinese literature among other things for high level civil service posts, although a civil service system based upon competitive examination rather than recommendation was not introduced until the Sui and did not become a mature system until the Song dynasty (960–1279).
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