There are many foreigners who enroll their children in public schools in China, if they cannot afford tuition fee for an international Chinese primary school. But before you do, there are some important things to remember in order for your children to benefit from studying in any of the primary schools in China. Other than the fact that the Chinese educational system is quite rigid when compared to some countries, there are a lot of things to take into account.
Learning the language
It is important that your child should be able to learn at least to converse in Chinese as all the lessons are taught in Chinese such as Math, History, and Literature. The only time that English is used is of course in the subject itself, so there might be a chance that your child might be held by a year or grade if he or she is a non-Chinese speaker or may require Chinese language lessons.
A child will at least spend five to six years of primary education. Each year consists of two school periods. A regular Chinese student has to attend school five to six days per a week. It usually starts from seven in the morning until four in the afternoon. During Saturdays, some schools will hold additional mandatory classes for Science and Math. Some students also attend private tutorials in English, Chinese, Math and Science classes to get a better chance in entering a good institution for a higher education. There is a huge difference in teaching methodology in the Chinese educational system because it focuses on Math and Science by memorization and long examinations involved.
In the Chinese educational system, no matter how rigid and strict it is, there will of course have breaks and vacations throughout the semester. A typical school in China will have a break for several days during China's national day on the first day of October. In the middle of January or February (depending on the Lunar calendar), students are given one to three weeks break. During Labour Day in the month of May, students are given another break. The summer vacation takes place in the middle of July, lasting for an entire month. Therefore your children will have plenty of time for school breaks and engage in individual pursuits for their total development.
Law in China states that Chinese public schools are required to admit foreign children into their school if they hold a legal residence status. Requirements for admission vary from school to school, but the standard admission requirements include health records, visa and passport information, previous school records, and a birth certificate. Some schools sometime need additional assessment records, personal interview, entrance exams, and language proficiency evaluation. It is important to note that most public schools in China do not offer or provide little support for foreign students who cannot speak Chinese.
Enrolling your child in Chinese primary schools; public school at that, involves additional effort on your part particularly in learning the language. As mentioned earlier, local schools offer little support for non-Chinese speaking students and all subjects are taught in Chinese. Therefore it is very crucial to be well prepared before signing your child up for the Chinese education system.