Statistics Reveal China's Progress in Compulsory Education

September 20, 2018  Editor: Liu Yang

The implementation of China's compulsory education law has guaranteed the right to education and transformed the lives of children in the country over the past three decades, say commentators.

The government officially put the law into effect in 1986, which stipulates that it is a legal duty for parents to allow their children to complete their nine-year education in primary and middle schools.

Thanks to the law, the enrollment rate of schools in China rose from 20 percent in the early period of the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 to 93.4 percent in 2016, which was higher than the average level of many high-income countries.

With the robust growth of the Chinese economy and a rising amount of educational investment from the national budget, children from rural and urban areas have been entitled to receive free compulsory education since 2006 and 2008, respectively.

Statistics show that China allocated 13.5 trillion yuan to support the development of education from 2012-2016, higher than the total amount between 1952 and 2011. So far, there are roughly 140 million children in China who are covered by free compulsory education.

This may explain why it was such a surprise for one elderly woman in Beijing to find that her granddaughter does not have to pay for primary school tuition. The grandma recalled that she used to save money for her son's schooling fees in the past.

Moreover, the General Office of China's State Council released a circular in 2017 to further consolidate the registration of children in primary and middle schools in impoverished and isolated areas and to prevent students from suspending their compulsory education because of study-weariness, poverty, or long journeys from home to school.

Up till now, China has come up with more targeted preferential policies and measures to help students from poverty-stricken and ethnic minority regions, along with those from migrant families, enjoy equal access to compulsory education, and to provide all new urban entrants in the labor market with vocational training.

In addition, the country is on the way to raise its nationwide enrollment rate of compulsory education to 95 percent by 2020, according to officials.

(Source: and edited by Women of China)

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