China Alternative Forms
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
Schools have been established by government departments, businesses, trade unions, academic societies, democratic parties (see Glossary), and other organizations. In 1984 about 70 percent of China's factories and enterprises supported their own part-time classes, which often were referred to as workers' colleges. In Beijing alone, more than ninety adult-education schools with night schools enrolled tens of thousands of students. More than 20,000 of these students graduated annually from evening universities, workers' colleges, television universities, and correspondence schools--more than twice the number graduating from regular colleges and universities. The government spent -Y200 (for value of the yuan--see Glossary) to -Y500 per adult education student and at least -1,000 per regular university student. In 1984 approximately 1.3 million students enrolled in television, correspondence, and evening universities, about a 30-percent increase over 1983.
Spare-time education for workers and peasants and literacy classes for the entire adult population were other components of basic education. Spare-time education included a very broad range of educational activities at all levels. Most spare-time schools were sponsored by factories and run for their own workers; they provided fairly elementary education, as well as courses to upgrade technical skills. Most were on-the-job training and retraining courses, a normal part of any industrial system. These schools continually received publicity in the domestic media as a symbol of social justice, but it was unclear whether they received adequate resources to achieve this end.
China's educational television system began in 1960 but was suspended during the Cultural Revolution in 1966. In 1979 the Central Radio and Television University was established in Beijing with branches in twenty-eight provincial-level universities. Many Central Radio and Television University students are recent seniormiddle -school graduates who scored just below the cut-off point for admission to conventional colleges and universities. Full-time (who take four courses) and part-time students (two courses) have at least two years' work experience, and they return to their jobs after graduation. Spare-time students (one course) study after work. Students whose work units grant them permission to study in a television university are paid their normal wages; expenses for most of their books and other educational materials are paid for by the state. A typical Central Radio and Television University student spends up to six hours a day over a three-year period watching lectures on videotapes produced by some of the best teachers in China. These lectures are augmented by face-to-face tutoring by local instructors and approximately four hours of homework each evening. The major problem with the system is that there are too few television sets.
In 1987 the Central Television and Radio University had its programs produced, transmitted and financed by the Ministry of Radio, Cinema, and Television (see Telecommunications Services , ch. 8). The State Education Commission developed its curriculum and distributed its printed support materials. Curriculum included both basic, general-purpose courses in science and technology and more specialized courses. Programs in English-language instruction were particularly popular. The Central Television and Radio University offered more than 1,000 classes in Beijing and its suburbs and 14 majors in 2- to 3-year courses through 56 working centers. Students who passed final examinations were given certificates entitling them to the same level of remuneration as graduates of regular, full-time colleges and universities. The state gave certain allowances to students awaiting jobs during their training period.
Data as of July 1987
NOTE: The information regarding China on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of China Alternative Forms information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about China Alternative Forms should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.