As the time is approaching to the registration in the public school for my child, I would like to share something about how the education system works in China.
The public education system is extremely complicated in China, it is different even between two district within a city like Beijing, so I would just talk about some basic and general rule in Beijing.
Here is how the education logic chain works in Beijing.
the key point one, is whether you can take the college entrance examination, the answer is simple, if you are a permanent resident of Beijing, then you are entitled to have that privilege inborn, but the permanent resident doesn’t mean who work here or live here, it depends on a traditional registered resident system since PRC found, basically, only one who are born in Beijing got the privilege, AKA hukou, which had brought lots of Related issues (http://www.beijinghangout.com/chinese-culture-custom-ii/ ) or unfair reality nowadays. Even though the appealing of the repealing the system is swirling around all these years, it don’t seem a easy way to go. So if you got no Hukou of Beijing, then you can not take examination in Beijing, you gotta go abroad to go to college or go back to your home town to take that exam which means usually you are facing a steep competition with the native students.
Got Real Estate Property
The concept of school district is well known all over the world by parents, so does the parents in Beijing, basically you have to own a house or apartment property within a school district to get you child educated, for some good school district, the price for one averaged apartment have reached to 8 million RMB(more than 1 million US dollars). So in short, you got an apartment, you have the privilege to be educated. For the renting resident or those who can not afford the cost of a property, they must go through a extremely restricted channel to get the qualification of being educated. Here, the grey areas, is where the agent, lawyer or some official to make money off the parents.
For none Chinese
There are two kinds of international school (preliminary or high school) in China, one is opened to the child of Chinese nationality, another one is jus for the non Chinese nationality child, such the child of ambassador or the child born outside China but the parent is Chinese(It’s very common in Hong Kong and US). Both international school offer a international matching education system, which means, one, you can’t take a domestic college entrance exam in China, two, you can apply the university all over the world without much culture gap.
Public school is usually affordable for most of ordinary people, thousands RMB per year, as the average income for Beijing resident is approximate 50,000 RMB per year. International school is expensive, start from ten thousands to hundred thousands depending on the location, student source. It’s the game of rich people, not for ordinary people.
I didn’t talk much about the college education , because it is a huge topic , so I would discuss it in the future.