Next level: teaching in China
With 1.357 billion people in 2013, China represents almost 20% of the world’s population. Of these 1.357 citizens, there is a significant need for education.
China’s state school system offers nine years of compulsory education. Additionally, the Chinese government has placed a high priority on developing education. The education system in China includes pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, high schools, universities, and colleges, as well as opportunities for graduate school education. With China’s abundant emphasis on its people and their education, if you are considering teaching opportunities (at all levels), then China should be a primary consideration for you.
Why teach in China
A strong emphasis in China is on the development of its people. There is a stated strategy of revitalizing the country through science and education. However, additional emphasis is placed on allowing Chinese citizens to recognize their place in the global economy. Thus, language classes such as English, French, and Spanish, as well as other courses that introduce different cultures are also important.
Whether you desire an urban or rural, public or private, China offers extensive opportunities for teachers to become an integral part of the state-sponsored and supported education system.
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Looking at the structure of the education system within China, according to eBejing, government at all levels is increasing their investment in education. This sustained investment in education means that it’s a priority and has significant resources made available for both the teachers and students.
The Chinese school system
Life as a student begins young. Like most countries, pre-school in China begins when a child is between 3-5 years old. Such early childhood education takes place in kindergartens and helps foster that young mind for the many years of learning to follow.
Children ages 6-11 are the focus of primary education schools. These primary schools offer free tuition and are run by local educational authorities. The free tuition helps ensure access to this education for Chinese citizens.
While the large majority of the primary schools are public institutions, there are some private primary education schools available as well. These private schools are usually owned and operated by enterprises and individuals. Primary education is part of the nine-year compulsory education requirement, and thus, many options are available for potential teachers looking to enter the education system.
Upon completing their primary education, children from ages 12-17 enter secondary schools. Secondary schools can include junior middle and senior middle schools. Both types of middle schools offer education to its students for three years or grades. The first three years of secondary school, or the junior middle school experience, are compulsory and provided free tuition.
However, the second three years, or grades, of secondary education are not mandatory, and hence, students usually pay nominal and minimal tuition fees. Many of China’s secondary schools are state-run. However, private schools do exist. These private schools are more focused on vocational education but are seen to produce high levels of education and equivalent to the education received at state-run secondary schools.
In addition to the secondary education schools already mentioned, students also have the option to enter secondary professional schools. In China, secondary professional schools offer an excellent education and are akin to the studies at a university. Study at a secondary school can last for 3-5 years.
Within China, a strong emphasis is placed on higher education studies. Higher education can be pursued at different venues and institutions throughout the country. Higher education is offered by universities, colleges, institutes, and vocational colleges. In addition to providing higher education to students, these same institutions conduct academic and scientific research and provide social services to citizens.
Students pursuing higher education studies can learn vocational courses, as well as obtain undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees in many subjects. To qualify for higher education, potential student candidates must take the national entrance examination. This exam is offered once a year in June and is open to persons of all ages.
The national entrance examination will help determine, via the student candidate’s marks and exam performance, if they qualify for entry into a higher education institution. The national entrance exam and the qualification process for higher education, in general, are very competitive to help provide the best minds for the future of China.
Teaching in China
As a teacher, you fit into the educational system in China as an integral part of the foundation of society. The stellar and internationally recognized results of Chinese students in standardized exams begins with the teacher. China’s state education system is internationally recognized as a leader and offers superb proven results. The priority on the education of its people has increased the number of citizens receiving higher education degrees by nearly 400% over the past decade.
China is a diverse country and offers the opportunity to find your place within their education system. As one of the oldest cultures in the world, China has a rich history amongst its citizens. As an economic leader and the world’s largest producer of consumer goods, education in all its varied forms is supported throughout the country with the same resources and focus, as its science and economic drive.
Compensation for teachers in China is comparable to what you could earn in your home country, or even elsewhere abroad. However, China offers a lower cost of living than most countries. Additionally, generous benefits like travel reimbursements/allowances, furnished apartments, paid holidays and sick leaves, legal ‘Z’ work visas, health insurance (after a required medical check), and free Mandarin Chinese lessons are available.
If you are a teacher and looking for opportunities to immerse yourself in a rich and vibrant culture, one which offers international class cities, intimate rural settings, diverse landscapes, and a stable political structure, then China and its education system would greatly welcome you.
The opportunity to join the world’s largest, formalized education system offers many options for growth, gaining experience in your given field, and inspiring minds through education. China welcomes the chance for you to make a difference and a new home within this marvelous country.
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