Hangzhou City Profile
Hangzhou is place located near Shanghai, and what many people in China call "one of the most beautiful places in China". The sixth largest city in China with the overall population of about 8 million people in their city, it's almost the same size as Hong Kong. With over 200,000 of them enrolled in various colleges over the city, it has become one of the top places for universities in China. With such spots as West Lake, Leifeng Pagoda, and lots of other cultural heritage spots in China.
Education in Hangzhou
In Hangzhou, 97% of children are going to kindergarten before 3 years old. There are 418 elementary schools, 260 junior secondary schools, and 76 senior high schools in Hangzhou. 60% of people in Hangzhou have gone through post-secondary education, with over 90,00 enrolled in post-secondary education. They spend more time in school than the average western school and having more homework overall out of school. Chinese parents are also shown to have extremely high expectations - increasing student's pressure.
Importance of Education in Urban Environments
According to PISA, people living in the urban environment have an advantage in education - people in cities are mostly likely to do a better job in exams than people in rural areas. This is because they are generally more funded and have more resources. The students are more likely to get more extra-curricular activities. Education is also the single most effective way to reduce poverty, says the Global Partnership for Education. They are more likely to be hired for a job and more likely to be paid higher than the non-literate job. Education also helps prevent disease and maladies, and so they are more likely to survive and to lower the poverty rate. This might help the cycle of poverty - that the poor are likely to remain poor, due to the richer exclusivity. If education was more inclusive, allowing equality of education resources, then the poverty rate is more likely raise.
Public Education in Hangzhou
China has a nine-year compulsory education program for all citizens of Hangzhou. This includes 6 years of primary school education, and 3 years of middle school, with Zhongkao, the exam system in Hangzhou. If you pass, there is then another three years of senior school, leading up to Gaokao, another set of intensive exams in the last year of senior high school. The education law in China says that no extra tuition or miscellaneous fee can be placed onto the students, yet the 'mandatory fees' in Hangzhou as 'suggestions for grades' suggest otherwise. People in public school must face fees up to millions in order to 'influence' teachers. If the student's families fail to pay the fees, the student automatically gets bad grades. A lot of teachers in Hangzhou are primarily concerned about what the Chinese call 'face' - they are concerned about the money that they can gather from the parents, and the exam results that their students have gotten. Schools often ask for 'donations' - which is basically a euphism for bribery.
Improvements to the System
Hangzhou, like many other cities in China, it is hard for people in poverty to get the education that they need, even though there is compulsory education - in order to do well, a family must pay a lot more than what they are supposed to due to corruption and bribery within the schools. Although, in Hangzhou most people are better off in some cities, but the disadvantage for the underprivileged is still large. Things that could be improved in the education system is that teachers could maybe be more focused on teaching the next generation of citizens, rather than how to get promoted. Another thing is to stop the 'mandatory donations' from happening because this allows a school to be exclusive and only benefit those that have the money. A school should be both inclusive, and focus on the benefit of learning for the students studying there, rather than personal gain.