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Should China Extend Compulsory Education?

Education minister states that compulsory education will not be extended despite calls

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Mar.15

China’s existing nine-year compulsory education, from elementary school to junior high school, is shorter than that of many other countries, which has led to a discussion between educators and official departments on whether or not compulsory education should be extended.  

Xiong Bingqi, an influential educator, wrote a blog article saying it is inevitable that compulsory education will have to be extended, for the development of elementary education.   

While some regions have started to provide free preschool and senior high school education, Education Minister Chen Baosheng said China is not ready to change the national policy to extend compulsory education at present, since there are still issues affecting the implementation of the long-standing nine years of compulsory education, such as the inequality in educational resources between eastern, central and western regions.

He explained that compulsory education has to go through legislation, that being compulsory is not equivalent to being free, and it would have to be applied equally nationwide, adding that the development of education cannot go faster than the State's own development.