Types of Higher Education Institutes in China

The People's Republic of China has very well developed system for higher education in place. Its of the leading countries among developing countries striving to make higher education better and better through new technology and international collaborations. According to National Bureau of Statistics of China (www.stats.gov.cn), in the year 2012, there were 2442 Regular Higher Education Institutes; of these, 1145 were offering 4 year education and 1297 were 2 - 3 year HEIs.

Specialised Schools/Colleges

China has many specialized schools/colleges. It has 1226 junior colleges (Ministry of Education 2013).  There are 287 independent colleges in China, according to the Ministry of Education (2013). Institutions offer a course of less than 4 years within these institutions.

In general, degree programs are offered in the following subjects:
  • Animal husbandry
  • Agriculture
  • Commerce (accounting and customs)
  • Engineering and technology
  • Medical sciences
  • Navigation
  • Sericulture
  • Teacher Training
  • Tourism
Admission to the specialised colleges is granted following graduation from senior middle school. Students reach this level of education only after appearing in the unified national university entrance examinations. Diplomas are provided following completion of 2 to 3 year programs or 3-4 year part time programs. Academic degree programs last for 3 years.

Administrative Colleges

These colleges are known as in-service management cadre colleges. Higher education courses are offered for cadres or staff from government offices. This is a part of the adult higher education program.

Correspondence Departments and Attached Evening Colleges and Correspondence Departments

Colleges and universities offer adult or continuing higher education courses through correspondence departments and attached evening colleges. Bachelor’s degree programs are also offered on a part-time basis by evening colleges and correspondence departments. This is considered equivalent to the Bachelor’s degree program offered in higher educational institutions in China. This has been approved by the Ministry of Education in China.

Employees’ College

This institution is called as the staff/worker’s college or university. It may register students on a full or part time basis. The unified national entrance examination has to be given for entering this college for adult higher education. In order for a diploma to be awarded, the thesis as well as coursework must be completed. A graduation examination also has to be passed. The degrees awarded by the employees’ college are of 2 types: specialty certificates and single subject certificates.

Universities and Specialized Institutions and Universities

Broadly speaking, programmes offered by Higher Education Institutions in China can be classified as Chinese, MBBS, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral. There is no dearth of study disciplines. Some of the popular study disciplines are given below.
  • Agriculture
  • Arts
  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Forestry
  • Humanities
  • Finance and Economics
  • Teacher Training
  • Political Science
  • Law
  • Natural Science
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Chineese language and literature
  • International relations
  • MBBS
  • MBA
For more details use programme search directory of higher education institutions in China; Website: (www.cucas.cn)

Vocational Universities

Vocational universities are part of the system of higher education. Vocational universities are ideal for addressing the training of manpower for different types of industries. While some of these are vocational universities are part of employees’ colleges, others are branches of universities. Graduates are usually awarded diplomas as part of the programs of these vocational universities. Specialized schools or institutes or Specialized schools of higher education.

Radio and Television Universities

Radio and television universities are a widely available form of open education. Distance education degree programs are available for those who are interested in this form of education. Multi-media courses are available through various mediums such as television, radio, print, computer networks and audio visual materials. Radio and television universities function at 4 levels. This corresponds to the Chinese system of national and regional governments.

The Central Radio and Television University (Beijing) is under the Ministry of Education. The provincial radio and television universities at the secondary level are an offshoot of this. Their branches are managed by the prefecture government. At the fourth level, work stations are run by district or country education bureaus or particular industry. In order to enter these universities, graduation from the senior middle school is not compulsory. However, an entrance examination has to be passed. Following a program which lasts for 3 years and the passing of a standardised exit examination, diplomas are attained. This equals the 3 year diploma offered by specialized colleges.

Spare time Universities

Sub-degree level programs are offered by the spare time universities. These are for students who cannot attend full time university due to professional or personal obligations. The local authorities supervise these courses. Programs offered at these universities are of applied nature and they are more practical in style.

There are many different types of colleges, universities and specialized educational institutions in China. They are distinct in their approach and the type of courses that they offer.
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