Tag: Universities

higher education

A Brief Look at Higher Education in China

China boasts the world’s largest higher education system, with more than three thousand higher education institutions and an average yearly enrollment of more than twenty-five million students. Within its system, there are a variety of types of higher education institutions, including both general and discipline-specific universities, vocational institutes, and adult higher education institutes. Successful passage of the post-secondary National Entrance Examination is typically required for university admission, a process that can be highly competitive.

The country’s system of universities is divided between the central and municipal governments, as well as autonomous regions and municipalities. The typical school year runs on a semester schedule, with the first semester starting in early September and the second starting in mid-February. China’s higher education system is noted for its rigorous curriculum, and students commonly have five-day class schedules.

China’s higher education system is heavily influenced by Western education systems, and features traditional bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Students completing a bachelor’s program are expected to finish a graduation thesis, report good academic grades, and finish the associated teaching plan. Those completing a master’s program must pass all exams in subject studies and draft a graduation defense. Graduate students also have the option to attend research institutions. Students completing a doctoral program generally must complete the same requirements within a masters’ program in addition to completing the graduation oral examinations.

The modern implementation of China’s higher education system dates back to the 1980s, though its roots can be traced as far back as the Han Dynasty. According to the British Council, at the time of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, there were only 205 higher education institutions in the entire country. Of those, 123 were state and provincial universities, with the rest being private or religiously affiliated. Total enrollment was approximately 120,000 students, or one in every ten thousand Chinese citizens. However, as a result of the Soviet Union’s influence on Chinese culture in the 1950s, higher education expanded to include comprehensive universities and specialized institutes for industrial training and development. Structural reforms, including the reintroduction of the National Higher Education Entrance Exam, then followed in 1977 under the rule of Deng Xiaoping.

Seeking to invest in the people’s education, China implemented the 21st Century Education Revitalization Plan in 1999. This led to an annual enrollment increase of 2%, leading to an overall gross enrollment of 30% in 2012. Across the system as a whole, more than 30 million people have enrolled in recent years to pursue a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Rankings also suggest that China is now a popular destination for international students in Asia.

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Education in Russia: An Overview

History of Education

Mass education in Russia started under the reign of Peter the Great in the early 1700s. Peter had studied many subjects abroad in countries such as Germany, Holland, Prussia, and England. These experiences motivated him to create a modern education system in Russia. Before this system was put in place only the wealthy could afford to send their children to school. Under Peter’s rule, more students could receive a secondary education. This education was received in “gymnasia” from the ages of 10 to 12. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, schools started to become open to the general public.

Higher education began in the mid-18th century and was modelled after Germany’s system at the time. After secondary school, students could attend universities, which were started in major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. Students received a “Diploma of Higher Education” after completion of five years of study.

Education System

Russia has a compulsory education system in place for children aged six to fifteen. Students go to primary schools from the ages of six to ten. Then, they go to secondary school from the ages of ten to fifteen. Students who want to go on to complete their higher education must attend secondary school for an additional two years. This education system has allowed Russia to boast a literacy rate of 99.7%.

Compulsory subjects include Russian language, Russian and world history, mathematics, and the sciences. A grading system of two to five is used. After students finish compulsory education, they must pass a unified state examination.  Then, depending on their examination results, students can choose to go to a university, vocational school, or a non-university level institute of higher education.

Students who choose to go to university can choose to pursue a four-year “Bakalavra” degree or a five- to six-year “Spetsialista” degree.  A “Bakalavra” degree can then be followed by a two-year “Magistra” degree, which can only be obtained after the successful defense of a thesis. The system has undergone reforms in recent years to be more similar to the systems in place in the United Kingdom and the United States.

There are two types of advanced science degrees. After completing either their “Spetsialista” or “Magistra” degrees, students can pursue a three-year “Kandidata Nauk” degree, which can be obtained after a successful thesis defense and passage of qualifying examinations. Afterward, students can continue on to earn their “Doktora Nauk” degree, which generally requires an extra five to fifteen years of research and study, but there is no set time limit.

Students seeking to follow a career in medical fields have several options. Medical students must typically undergo six years of training, while dentistry and pharmacy students must undergo five years, and nurses must undergo at least four. Students must typically undergo professional training at hospitals, clinics, and medical research institutes. Medical students can pursue a one-year “Internatura” program or a two- to four-year “Ordinatura” program in order to further specialize in a particular field for their chosen profession.