The Education Gap in Chinese Society

The education system in China is wildly acknowledged and commonly accepted as a relatively equal competition merely based on students’ knowledge of Chinese, English, Mathematics, and other elective subjects. Except for several special paths for students with distinguished talents in specific areas such as computer science and sports, most Chinese students accept and face the fact that the Gaokao, also known as the University Entrance Examination, is the final and the only way to a higher-level education. However, despite the equality created by this unified standard, the education gap still exists in China for various reasons including the uneven distribution of educational resources, the differences in the access to opportunities other than Gaokao, and the loop of the education gap.

The uneven distribution of educational resources directly leads to an education gap from the beginning of one’s student career. To be more specific, schools in urban areas tend to be more attractive to teachers because of the higher payments and more opportunities for career development. As a result, students in urban areas have a better chance of receiving education from more knowledgeable teachers compared with the students in rural areas. Aside from the differences in teachers, schools in urban areas enjoy better policies and higher government funding compared with schools in rural areas. Equipment, including digital teaching systems, entertaining systems, and advanced labs, is more likely to be seen in schools with higher government funding and better policies.

The education gap is also related to the differences in access to opportunities other than Gaokao. Even though some may argue that the Gaokao is a unified standard that ensures fair competition, there are different detours that allow those with appropriate approaches and certain complicated processes to avoid intensive competition. One of the wildly known procedures is called Independent Recruitment for Universities (IR). IR was founded with the intention to recruit students who have special talents in specific areas such as music, sports, art, etc. However, the standard for recruitment is quite blurred, hence with proper operations and some costs, students who do not meet the definition of distinguishment will also be capable to be recruited. Those students’ families, undoubtedly, either are wealthier or have strings that they could pull compared with the public.

Last but not the least, the education gap itself formulated a loop that can hardly be broken, thus enlargers the education gap from generation to generation. Precisely speaking, most of the education gaps are caused by the differences between students’ families, in the sense of wealth they bear. Wealthier families tend to provide better education for their children, who will thus have a better chance to be wealthier than those who do not have the same level of education. As a result, the education gap becomes more obvious as time goes by.

Y. Liu