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The Chinese education system

MP3 sound recording (link)
史密斯:宋先生,你有孩子吗?多大啦?
宋先生:你猜猜?
史密斯:我想想。我看,差不多6岁?
宋先生:我看起来这么年轻啊?我儿子都15岁啦!
史密斯:真的啊?哎哟,那确实看不出来。那已经上学了咯?
宋先生:肯定啊!他现在上初中。初三啦,每天忙得要命,作业很多,现在的孩子不容易的,压力太大。
史密斯:哦哦,初三是要准备升学么?中国的教育制度具体是怎么样的?
宋先生:我们的教育体系是九年制义务教育:小学六年,初中三年,这九年的教育是所有孩子必须接受的。为了提升公共基础教育嘛。
史密斯:原来是这样。所以初三才这么忙的,义务制教育要结束了是吧?
宋先生:对,初中毕业的考试成绩决定你能去哪个高中,这个又直接决定了大学的录取,一环扣一环,哪个都马虎不得。
史密斯:高中一般是几年?大学呢?我们那边大学大多三年,也有四年的。
宋先生:高中三年,大学四年。还有好多上不了大学的人,职高毕业就工作了,不过不像在英国啊,这边职高毕业的人挺受歧视的。
史密斯:居然还有这样的事情?我们那儿做技术的人特别受尊重的。
宋先生:哎,中国人多,竞争激烈啊。

MP3 sound recording (link)
史密斯:这样看来,孩子们压力还都挺大的。
宋先生:可不是么。小学毕业以后大家都有初中上,也不太分级别,但是初中毕业以后,可不一定有地方去了。再加上普通高中跟重点高中差很多,职业高中又跟普通高中差很多,上了高中以后,学校档次一下子不一样了,彻底决定了以后一辈子的命运啊!
史密斯:中国的孩子挺苦啊,我们那基本A’Level成绩还可以的学生都有大学上,前三十的大学也都很不错,没有对就业有太大的影响。
宋先生:现在中国大学生毕业都不够啦!都要求研究生毕业。要硕士文凭的。很多人都拼命考研究生,然后又是两年,很多能读书的还去读博,一晃又三年过去了,大家年纪都拖大了。所以啊,现在的人结婚都晚。
史密斯:是呀,在英国很多读研读博的都一边读书一边结婚了。
宋先生:中国这个还不普及,毕竟还没有英国那么发达开放。
史密斯:中国这些年发展这么快,应该很快也会这样的。
宋先生:对了史密斯先生,我儿子现在天天做题准备升学考试,好像攒了好多英文方面的问题,我给他报了家教,不过那个家教老师学生太多,不是很负责,能不能麻烦你帮他讲解一下?
史密斯:没问题没问题。不过家教是什么?
宋先生:哦,就是家庭教师。竞争太激烈,我们从他读初中开始就给他报了家庭教师开设的班,基本语文数学英文全报了。
史密斯:太辛苦了,才15岁啊。
宋先生:那也没办法呀。大势所趋,总要跟上时代节奏。 那史密斯先生,要不周五会议结束以后你搭我的车一道回去吧,在我家吃饭!正好给我儿子讲解。
史密斯:好的好的。
宋先生:嗯,那到时联系!

The Chinese education system

MP3 sound recording (link)
Shǐmìsī: Sòng xiānsheng, nǐ yǒu háizi ma? Duō dàla?
Sòng xiānsheng: Nǐ cāicai?
Shǐmìsī: Wǒ xiǎngxiang. Wǒ kàn, chàbuduō liù suì?
Sòng xiānsheng: Wǒ kànqǐlái zhème niánqīng a? Wǒ érzi dōu shíwǔ suì la!
Shǐmìsī xiānsheng: Zhēn de a? Āiyō, nà quèshí kànbuchūlái. Nà yǐjīng shàngxuéle luo?
Sòng xiānsheng: Kěndìng a! Tā xiànzài shàng chūzhōng. Chū sān la, měi tiān máng dé yàomìng, zuòyè hěn duō, xiànzài de háizi bù róngyi de, yālì tài dà.
Shǐmìsī: Ò, chū sān shì yào zhǔnbèi shēngxué me? Zhōngguó de jiàoyù zhìdù jùtǐ shì zěnmeyàng de?
Sòng xiānsheng: Wǒmen de jiàoyù tǐxì shì jiǔ nián zhì yìwù jiàoyù: xiǎoxué liù nián, chūzhōng sān nián, zhè jiǔ nián de jiàoyù, shì suǒyǒu háizi bìxū jiēshòu de. Wèile tíshēng gōnggòng jīchǔ jiāoyù ma.
Shǐmìsī: Yuánlái shì zhèyàng. Suǒyǐ chū sān cái zhème máng de, yìwù zhì jiàoyù yào jiéshùle shì ba?
Sòng xiānsheng: Duì, chūzhōng bìyè de kǎoshì chéngjì juédìng nǐ néng qù nǎ ge gāozhōng, zhège yòu zhíjiē juédìngle dàxué de lùqǔ, yīhuán kòu yīhuán, nǎ ge dōu mǎhu bùdé.
Shǐmìsī: Gāozhōng yìbān shì jǐ nián? Dàxué ne? Wǒmen nàbiān dàxué dàduō sān nián, yě yǒu sì nián de.
Sòng xiānsheng: Gāozhōng sān nián, dàxué sì nián. Hái yǒu hǎo duō shàngbuliǎo dàxué de rén, zhígāo bìyè jiù gōngzuòle, búguò bù xiàng zài Yīngguó a, zhèbiān zhígāo bìyè de rén tǐng shòu qíshì de.
Shǐmìsī: Jūrán hái yǒu zhèyàng de shìqing? Wǒmen nàr zuò jìshù de rén tèbié shòu zūnzhòng de.
Sòng xiānsheng: Āi, Zhōngguórén duō, jìngzhēng jīliè a.

MP3 sound recording (link)
Shǐmìsī: Zhèyàng kàn lái, háizimen yālì hái dōu tǐng dà de.
Sòng xiānsheng: Kě bù shì me. Xiǎoxué bìyè yǐhòu dàjiā dōu yǒu chūzhōng shàng, yě bù yǐwéi yì fēnjíbié, dànshi chūzhōng bìyè yǐhòu, kě bù yídìng yǒu dìfang qùle. Zài jiāshang pǔtōng gāozhōng gēn zhòngdiǎn gāozhōng chā hěn duō, zhíyè gāozhōng yòu gēn pǔtōng gāozhōng chā hěn duō, shàngle gāozhōng yǐhòu, xuéxiào dàngcì yíxiàzi bù yíyàngle, chèdǐ juédìngle yǐhòu yí bèizi de mìngyùn a!
Shǐmìsī: Zhōngguó de háizi tǐng kǔ a, wǒmen nà jīběn A’ Level chéngjì hái kěyǐ de xuésheng dōu yǒu dàxué shàng, qián sānshí de dàxué yě dōu hěn búcuò, méi yǒu duì jiùyè yǒu tài dà de yǐngxiǎng.
Sòng xiānsheng: Xiànzài Zhōngguó dàxuéshēng bìyè dōu bù gòula! Dōu yàoqiú yánjiūshēng bìyè. Yào shuòshì wénpíng de. Hěn duō rén dōu pīnmìng kǎo yánjiūshēng, ránhòu yòu shì liǎng nián, hěn duō néng dúshū de hái qù dúbó, yíhuàng yòu sān nián guòqùle, dàjiā niánjì dōu tuōdàle. Suǒyǐ a, xiànzài de rén jiéhūn dōu wǎn.
Shǐmìsī: Shì ya, zài Yīngguó hěn duō dúyán dúbó de dōu yìbiān dúshū yìbiān jiéhūnle.
Sòng xiānsheng: Zhōngguó zhège hái bù pǔjí, bìjìng hái méi yǒu Yīngguó nàme fādá kāifàng.
Shǐmìsī: Zhōngguó zhèxiē nián fāzhǎn zhème kuài, yīnggāi hěn kuài yě huì zhèyàng de.
Sòng xiānsheng: Duìle Shǐmìsī xiānsheng, wǒ érzi xiànzài tiāntiān zuòtí zhǔnbèi shēngxué kǎoshì, hǎoxiàng zǎnle hǎo duō Yīngwén fāngmiàn de wèntí, wǒ gěi tā bàole jiājiāo, búguò nàge jiājiāo lǎoshī xuésheng tài duō, bù shì hěn fùzé, néng bu néng máfan nǐ bāng tā jiǎngjiě yīxià?
Shǐmìsī: Méi wèntí méi wèntí. Búguò jiājiāoshì shénme?
Sòng xiānsheng: Ò, jiùshì jiātíng jiàoshī. Jìngzhēng tài jīliè, wǒmen cóng tā dú chūzhōng kāishǐ jiù gěi tā bàole jiātíng jiàoshī kāishè de bān, jīběn yǔwén shùxué yīngwén quánbàole.
Shǐmìsī: Tài xīnkǔle, cái shíwǔ suì a.
Sòng xiānsheng: Nà yě méi bànfǎ ya. Dàshì suǒ qū, zǒng yào gēn shàng shídài jiézòu. Nà Shǐmìsī xiānsheng, yàobù zhōuwǔ huìyì jiéshù yǐhòu nǐ dā wǒ de chē yídào huíqu ba, zài wǒ jiā chīfàn! Zhènghǎo gěi wǒ érzi jiǎngjiě.
Shǐmìsī: Hǎo de hǎo de.
Sòng xiānsheng: Èn, nà dào shí liánxì!

Vocab and notes

孩子 háizi ‘child’
多大啦? Duō dàla? ‘How old are they?’
猜 cāi ‘to guess’
想 xiǎng ‘think’
看 kàn ‘think (that)’
差不多 chàbuduō ‘about, roughly’
岁 suì ‘years old’ (measure word)
看起来 kànqǐlái ‘seem’
年轻 niánqīng ‘young’
我儿子都15岁啦! Wǒ érzi dōu shíwǔ suì la! 'My son is already fifteen years old.'
真的啊? Zhēn de a? ‘Really?’
哎哟,那确实看不出来。 Āiyō, nà quèshí kànbuchūlái. ‘Goodness, you certainly don’t look it.’ Chūlái
上学 shàngxué ‘go to school’
咯 luo = 啊 a
肯定啊! Kěndìng a! ‘Certainly!’
初中 chūzhōng ‘junior high school’
每天 měi tiān ‘everyday’
要命 yàomìng ‘frightening, extremely’
作业 zuòyè ‘homework’
容易 róngyi ‘easy’
的 De at the end of the sentence has a matter-of-fact tone, almost ‘you know’ here.
压力 yālì ‘pressure’
准备 zhǔnbèi ‘prepare’
升学 shēngxué ‘enter the next school’
教育制度 jiàoyù zhìdù ‘education system’
具体 jùtǐ ‘concretely, actually’
叫 jiào ‘so called’
九年制 jiǔ nián zhì 'nine year system'
教育的体系 jiàoyù tǐxì ‘education system’
义务教育 yìwù jiàoyù 'compulsory education'
小学 xiǎoxué ‘primary school’
所有 suǒyǒu ‘all’
必须 bìxū ‘have to, must’
接受 jiēshòu 'receive (education etc.)'
为了提升公共基础教育嘛。 Wèile tíshēng gōnggòng jīchǔ jiàoyù ma. ‘In order to promote basic public education.’ 提升 tíshēng ‘promote, upgrade’, 公共 gōnggòng ‘public’, 基础 jīchǔ ‘basic’
原来是这样。 Yuánlái shì zhèyàng. ‘I see.’
所以 suǒyǐ ‘so’
才 cái ‘only (at this point)’
结束 jiéshù ‘(something) ends’
毕业 bìyè ‘graduation’
考试 kǎoshì ‘exam’
成绩 chéngjì ‘result (of exam)’
决定 juédìng ‘decision’
高中 gāozhōng ‘senior high school’
直接 zhíjiē ‘directly’
录取 lùqǔ ‘enrolment’
一环扣一环 yìhuán kòu yìhuán ‘one link fastens one link, interlinked’
马虎不得 mǎhu bùdé ‘sloppy’
一般 yìbān ‘generally’
大多 dàduō ‘mostly’
上不了 shàngbuliǎo ‘unable to go’. This is a potential complement.
职高 zhígāo ‘vocational school’
工作 gōngzuò ‘work’
像 xiàng ‘be like’
受歧视 shòu qíshì ‘be discrimated against’
居然 jūrán ‘to one’s surprise, unexpectedly’
技术 jìshù ‘skill’
受尊重 shòu zūnzhòng ‘be respected’
哎 èi (sound of sighing)
竞争 jìngzhēng ‘competition’
激烈 jīliè ‘fierce’
看来 kànlái ‘seem’
可不是么。 Kě bú shi me. ‘That’s certainly true.’
以为 yǐwéi ‘think’
分级别 fēnjíbié ‘according to sort’
再加上 zàijiāshàng ‘and moreover’
普通 pǔtōng ‘normal’
重点 zhòngdiǎn ‘sponsored (by the government et al.)’
差 chā ‘difference, discrepancy’
档次 dàngcì ‘level’
一下子 yíxiàzi ‘suddenly’
一样 yíyàng ‘the same’
彻底 chèdǐ ‘thorough(ly)’
一辈子 yí bèizi ‘a life time’
命运 mìngyùn ‘fate’
苦 kǔ ‘bitter; suffer’
基本 jīběn ‘basically’
前三十的大学 qián sānshí de dàxué ‘the first 30 universities’
不错 búcuò ‘good’
就业 jiùyè ‘getting a job’
影响 yǐngxiǎng ‘impression’
够 gòu ‘enough’
要求 yàoqiú ‘demand, require’
研究生 yánjiūshēng ‘postgraduate’
硕士 shuòshì ‘masters degree’
文凭 wénpíng ‘diploma’
拼命 pīnmìng ‘to do one's utmost; with all one's might’
考 kǎo ‘take (an exam)’
又 yòu ‘again’
读书 dúshū ‘to study’
读博 dúbó ‘do a PhD’
一晃 yíhuàng ‘in an instant’
大家年纪都拖大了。 Dàjiā niánjì dōu tuō dàle. 'Everyone's age goes up (lit. "get delayed") greatly.' 拖 Tuō ‘to delay’
结婚 jiéhūn ‘marry’
读研 dúyán 'do an MA’
普及 pǔjí ‘spread to’
毕竟 bìjìng ‘after all’
发达 fādá ‘develop’
开放 kāifàng ‘to open, be open-minded’
发展 fāzhǎn ‘develop’
天天 tiāntiān ‘every day’
做题 zuòtí ‘do papers’
好像 hǎoxiàng ‘apparently, seem’
攒 zǎn 'build up'
英文方面的问题 yīngwén fāngmiàn de wèntí 'problems with (lit. "in the area of") English'
报 bào ‘register’
家教 jiājiào = 家庭教师 jiātíng jiàoshī ‘home tutor’
负责 fúzè ‘responsible’
讲解 jiǎngjiě ‘explain’
竞争 jìngzhēng ‘competition’
开设 kāishè ‘set up’
班 bān ‘a class’
语文 yǔwén ‘(Chinese) language’
数学 shùxué ‘maths’
全 quán ‘all’
太辛苦了 tài xīnkǔle ‘it’s such hard work’
没办法 méi bànfǎ ‘there’s nothing to be done about it’
呀 ya = 啊 a
大势所趋 (大勢所趨) dàshìsuǒqū ‘general trend’
总 zǒng ‘always’
上时代 shàng shídài ‘with the times’
节奏 jiézòu ‘rhythm’
要不 yàobù ‘how about’
周五 zhōuwǔ ‘Friday’
会议 huìyì ‘meeting, conference’
结束 jiéshù ‘(something) ends’
以后… … yǐhòu ‘after …’
搭 dā ‘take, come (by car)’
一道 yídào ‘together’
回去 huíqu ‘go home’
正好 zhènghǎo ‘just right, just in time’
到时 dào shí ‘at that (future) time’

The Chinese education system

Mr Smith: Mr Song, do you have children? How many?
Mr Song: Have a guess?
Mr Smith: Let me think. I think they’re about six years old?
Mmr Song: Do I look so young? My son is already 15 years old!
Mr Smith: Really? Goodness, you certainly don’t look that old. So he’s already at school?
Mr Song: Certainly! He’s currently in junior high school. In the third year, he’s horribly busy every day, has lots of homework. It’s not easy for modern children, they have too much pressure on them.
Mr Smith: Oh, do they have to prepare to go to the next school in the third year of junior high? What is the Chinese education system like in practice?
Mr Song: We have the so-called nine year system of compulsory education. Six years in primary school and three in junior high, so nine altogether and all children have to go to school for them. In order to promote basic public education.
Mr Smith: I see. So that’s why the third year of junior high gets so busy, as the compulsory system of education is about to end?
Mr Song: Yes junior high exam results decide which senior high school you can go to, and that directly decides university enrolment, one determines the next and you can’t be sloppy.
Mr Smith: In general, how many years are there in senior high school? And in university? Most of our universities are three years, but there are four year ones.
Mr Song: Senior high school is three years and university is four years. There are still many people who cannot go to university. After graduating from vocational schools, they work, but it’s not like in the UK, people who graduate from vocational schools are quite looked down on here.
Mr Smith: Does that sort of thing really exist? With us people who do technical things are especially well respected.
Mr Song: Well, there are lots of Chinese people and the competition is fierce.
Mr Smith: It seems that in that way, children are still really under quite a lot of pressure.
Mr Song: That’s certainly true. After leaving primary school, everyone has junior high school to go to, and there’s not much selection, but after graduating from junior high, there may be no place to go. Moreover there are many differences between a normal senior high school and a sponsored senior high school, and moreover there are many differences between vocational senior high schools and normal senior high schools, after going to senior high school, the levels of the schools are suddenly different, and after making the final decision, it is your fate for the rest of your life!
Mr Smith: Chinese children have quite a hard time, with us students who don’t get basic A’ Level results can also go to university, the top thirty universities are all really good and they don’t have too large an influence on finding a job.
Mr Song: Currently there aren’t enough people graduating from Chinese universities! They all have to ask for postgraduates, and then it’s another two years. Many of those who can even do a PhD and another three years go by in no time and everyone’s age goes up greatly. So modern people get married late.
Mr Smith: Yes, in the UK, many people get married whilst they are studying for an MA or a PhD.
Mr Song: That isn’t very common in China yet, after all China is not yet as developed and open as the UK.
Mr Smith: China has developed so quickly in recent years, it will probably be like this very soon.
Mr Song: Mm, Mr Smith, my son is currently doing papers everyday for the exams to prepare to go to the next school, and it looks as if he’s built up quite a few problems with English, I registered him with a home tutor (jiājiào), but that teacher had too many students and wasn’t very responsible. Could I trouble you to help explain things to him?
Mr Smith: No problem. But what’s a jiājiào (home tutor)?
Mr Song: Oh, it’s a tutor in the home. The competition is so fierce, since he started at junior high, we enrolled him in a class a home tutor had set up for Chinese language, maths and English.
Mr Smith: It’s such hard work, he’s only 15.
Mr Song: There’s nothing to be done about it. It’s the general trend; one has to move with the times. Well, Mr Smith, how about after the conference is over on Friday we drive home together and have dinner! Just the time to explain things to my son.
Mr Smith: All right.
Mr Song: Mm, let’s be in contact then.

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