The article 19 of the Constitution of 1982 fixes that “the State develops the socialist education to raise the cultural and scientific level of all the people ". Several laws aiming “at revivifying the country through the science and the education” complete it and remind that the education is for the service “of the socialist modernization“ and has for objective "to build an advanced socialist society culturally and ideologically as well as materially".
The education rests on “the principles of the Marxism, the Leninism, the thought of Mao Tse Tung and the theory of the construction of socialism in the Chinese characteristics ". That is why; the ideological and political training of the young people is omnipresent in every stage of the educational route.
The main measures are summarized in the lines which follow:
Every 6-years-old child has to follow a compulsory education of nine years. The local governments are responsible, under the control of the central authorities, for this period of schooling (in theory) free. The State looks at to inculcate to the pupils and to the students “the patriotism, the collectivism, the socialism as well as the values connected to the respect for the law, to the defence of the homeland and to the national unity ". The religion hasn’t its place.
The standard Chinese is the language adopted except when the pupils of national minorities are in majority. Under the control of the Council of State, the local governments manage the primary and secondary education. The higher education recovers from the central government and the provincial governments.
The State made a commitment to develop the professional training in the rural zones and to open it to the women, to the handicapped persons as well as to the unemployed persons. The local governments of districts and superior levels, under the aegis of the section of the Council of State in charge of the professional training, coordinate this education. The not governmental and private teaching is a component of the “socialist educational system ".
The economic boom in the 1980s led to a reform of the public finances which distributes the roles between the various levels of government (central, provincial, district, city, village). The law of 1986 on the obligatory education decentralized the responsibilities in this frame. It intended at widening sources of funding and at giving responsibilities to the local leaders by introducing mechanisms of market economy which would urge them to take initiatives to finance the establishments of their sector.
The central government fixes the strategic choices for the organization and the piloting of the educational system; it focuses its support on the higher education and certain specific projects. The provincial government insures the control of the directives of the ministry of Education and watches their implementation. It finances the superior establishments which depend from the provincial area.
The district and the inferior ranks are responsible for the material and human organization of the primary and secondary education. They mobilize the local authorities and the other local partners to give surety to the required budgets for the basic education as well as for the high schools and the remuneration for their staff: local taxes in favour of the education, the fund of schools or other companies, tuition fees from the high school and the other expenses chargeable to families for the primary segment -books, examinations or optional lessons, donations, etc-.
Cities finance colleges and their staff. Cities and villages take care of primary schools, according to their location. The villages which haven’t sufficient resources can be punctually supported by the central government. Buildings, their security, their equipment as well as recruitment, promotion and remuneration for the staff depend from local levels.
However, measured up to needs, the public effort of financing of the education remains widely insufficient and families contribute to finance a huge percentage of the cost of the education. It became for them the second expense item after the housing. Mechanically the rural families dedicate much more of their annual income to the education than the urban families.
In contrast of a public financing patently insufficient of the primary and secondary education, the priority decided to the higher education seems debatable. Indeed, avid to strengthen the position of the Chinese universities in the world running for excellence, the authorities privileged these last years the budget of the higher education.
The decentralization of the financing of the compulsory education burdens extensively the budget of the poor villages which dedicate the main part of their support to the salaries of the teachers, to the detriment of real estate investments or schooling equipment. Because the law of 1986 forbidden the collection of the inscription charge during the nine years of required education, schools claimed some expenses to families (examination, uniform, heating, bedding) which sometimes corresponded to several months of salaries.
In reality, the decentralization of the financing of the education has only increasing the regional disparities: three quarters of the illiterates are in rural regions and 72.7 % of them are women, according to the inventory of 2000.
If the pupils' proportion finishing in six years their primary instruction without doubling is observed either than just the rate of admission in primary school, the result of the Tibet (41,24 %), Ningxia (49,83 %), of Qinghai (53,94 %), of Hainan (54,76 %), of Gansu (55,38 %), of Guizhou (56,13 %) and of Sichuan (57,68 %) is below the national average (76,6 %).
The desertion of the studies is common in the discriminated regions and the girls are the first ones to leave school. Several reasons explain it:
the poverty of families,
the pressure of the examinations
the short probability to go to high school even at the university
the impossibility to finance these studies.
It can be added to, an insufficient number of teachers as well as a lack of interest in the educational content. In fact, the educators of the rural zones are less competent and paid than those of the cities. Every year hundreds of teachers', tired of their mediocre working conditions, migrate to bigger cities.
In February, 2006, Minister for Education, Mr. Zhou Ji, recognized that the educational resources are not fairly distributed. The disparity between schools and regions, between cities and campaign, increases every day. This statement led to an amendment in February, 2006 from the law of 1986: The rural schools of the western provinces can be financially supported by the central and provincial authorities to provide the nine years of compulsory studies free.
Schools and rural colleges can perceive some money from the families but only for the books, the canteen and the boarding school. And specific allocations should be paid to the poorest families to cover these costs. This support of the central and provincial authorities in favour of the education in countryside (where lives 60 % of the Chinese population) should be reinforced.