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Primary, secondary education in China for international studens. List of 3 top institutions, 2023 fees, rankings

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Education information

Here you can find 3 best schools and colleges with primary, secondary education in China for international students. Also, we put together information with description, rankings, reviews and 2023 fees for programs for international students, how to apply to make the right choice. FREE admission services to our partner institutions, places are limited.

Secondary school system in China

The system of Chinese school education resembles the Russian one and traditionally consists of primary, incomplete secondary and full secondary education. Compulsory education for Chinese students ends in grade 9, and then the parents and the student decide for themselves whether to study further or start working.

Educational stage

Age of a student 

Educational level

Elementary school in China

From 6 to 11 years old







Junior high school

From 12 to 14 years old




Full high school (optional)

From 15 to 18 years old

Depends on the educational institution

The vast majority of secondary schools in China are state-owned, but not every one of them has the right to enroll foreign students: for this, the school must receive special permission from the Ministry of Education. Having entered a Chinese high school, a foreign student devotes the first academic year to studying the Chinese language, and then proceeds to the main program.

Studies are conducted in Chinese or in Chinese and English, as the teaching staff often includes teachers from abroad. However, there is a small percentage of private schools where instruction is only in English: children of employees of large international companies and foreign ministries usually study here.

The school year in a Chinese high school consists of two semesters and usually starts on September 1.

Features of secondary school education in China

The main difference between studying at a Chinese school is a large academic load. This is explained by the high complexity of the Chinese language: a schoolchild not only needs to learn thousands of characters, but also learn to write and pronounce them. Therefore, individual learning or working in mini-groups becomes impossible - the middle school class in China has 30-60 people, which saves the teacher time and effort. Some time ago, a decree appeared on the introduction of an 8-hour school day and a five-day work week in all Chinese schools: starting from 8 in the morning, classes are held in basic general subjects, then a break for lunch and rest is laid, and after lunch, students study creative and secondary school subjects . At 16 hours, the school day ends, and students can attend additional classes and go home.

Chinese secondary education pays great attention to politics, culture and sports, so during the week at least 70 minutes are allocated for physical education lessons, and any student, regardless of the language of instruction, will learn the basics and history of Chinese culture.

Secondary education in China

The last stage of secondary school education is not mandatory for all students: this is a kind of step before entering a university or employment. Senior students are initially determined with a priority:

At the end of the final year, all students pass a single state exam and can be enrolled in a university according to its results.

Discipline is not the last in Chinese high school: if a student misses 12 classes during a semester, he will be automatically expelled. And schoolchildren caught cheating or using cheat sheets during exams can say goodbye to their dream diploma and even get a 3-year prison term.

Private High Schools in China

Foreign students have the right to study in both public and private secondary schools in China. Private schools sometimes work like a boarding school, where the child is under the supervision of teachers and educators around the clock: this option is ideal for students whose parents do not live in China. Education in such schools is usually based on British or American educational programs, conducted in English or Chinese, but necessarily includes the study of Chinese culture. In addition to general education lessons, such schools may include intensive English courses in preparation for international exams.

China High School Admission Requirements

In addition to having a foreign passport and applying for a student visa (issued only after concluding an agreement with the school), there is one important nuance: every foreign student studying in a Chinese high school must have an official guardian living in China. He does not have to be a Chinese - it can be a foreigner with a residence permit in the country. He must draw up a guarantee for the student that he will behave approximately and study well - in case of problems, it is the guardian who will be responsible for the child.

Tuition fees and accommodation at Chinese High Schools

Secondary schools in China, which accept foreign students, usually place them on campuses and dormitories, equipped with everything necessary. The school and campus can house a modern library, dining room, park, gym and pool. Of course, the variety of infrastructure and the cost of studying directly depend on the chosen city and school.

Here are the average prices for studying and accommodation in the best schools of megacities in China.

  • Beijing: tuition fees at one of the oldest schools in the city will cost about $ 4,000 per semester, and accommodation on campus - from $ 900.
  • Shanghai: you will pay about $ 5000 per semester for studying at a Shanghai-rated school, the cost of living is from $ 600.
  • Tianjin: the cost of a semester of high school education starts at $ 3200, accommodation in a student residence - from $ 600 for six months.

Learning programs-summary information

Name Meaning Equivalent Min. age Duration,
Next stage Cost
GCSE General certificate of secondary education secondary education (non-accomplished) 14 1–2 A-Levels 15,000 USD+
A-Levels Advanced level secondary education (accomplished) 16 2 University 15,000 USD+
BTEC Business and Technology Education Board secondary special education 14 2–3 University/ work 15,000 USD+
Oxbridge Preparation Preparing for Oxford and Cambridge secondary education (accomplished) 17 1 University 15,000 USD+
International Baccalaureate International baccalaureate secondary education (accomplished) 16 2 University 18,000 USD+
Foundation/ Pathway Year Preparatory year admission to the 1st year of university 17 1 University 14,000 USD+
NCUK The Northern consortium 2 year university 17,5 1 2 year University of NCUK 13,000 USD+
Special Preparation (Medics/Math/Business) Specialized training - 14 optional optional 4,000 USD+
Academic English Academic English Language school 8 + 6–12 months School or University 8,000 USD+

Advantages and disadvantages of English schools

Advantages Disadvantages
The opportunity to enter the best universities in England, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Europe, the world Expensive
High quality of education and academic standards Strong workload
Perfect English after graduation The need to change the social environment; it takes time to adapt
Useful contacts The difficulty of choosing the most suitable school for the child, requires a qualified specialist

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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