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Differences between the America and Chinese Education Systems Research Paper


With the ever-increasing need for an educated society that can survive in the present competitive world, most nations have started to appreciate the need of a well educated citizenry. In addition, because education is the greatest promoter of culture, every country’s education system is a representation of its history and cultural values.

Therefore, although there may exist some similarities between different country’s education systems, each country’s education system has some unique features that give that country an added advantage in terms of developing its social, cultural, political, and economic systems.

These like differences are evident in the Chinese and American education systems, because of the varying importance given to different aspects of education by these two nations. China’s education system primary emphasizes on the input and accumulation of skills, promotion of learners’ appreciation of knowledge and the respect those in power. Contrary to this, the American education system primarily emphasizes on imparting in learners practical skills meant to help learners to question knowledge and authority (Si-jing 1).

Considering this, the American education system emphasizes not only on imparting basic skills such as reading and writing, but also emphasizes on the physical and mental wellbeing of learners, whereas the Chinese education system mainly focuses less on creativity, but emphasizes the need to impart in the necessary survival skills.

Differences between the U.S. and China’s Education

Comparison of the social environment and culture tradition between China and America

As compared to China, the U.S is an open society that has abandoned most of its traditional practices to adopt a new era of education reforms to accommodate the diverse nature of cultures that comprise its citizenry.

In addition, because the American economy lays a strong emphasis on the significance of practical skills, its education system appreciates the significance of independence in thinking and creativity. Therefore, the American education system generally prepares individuals to be “social beings” who must endeavor to discover and put their talents into use in order to get material wealth.

In contrast to this, the Chinese empire is a historically rich economy that appreciates very much its cultural traditions; hence, the rigorous nature of its education curriculum that lays a strong emphasis on morals and attainment of education that is relevant to its needs. As compared to the U.S., the stress of living in China is bigger, because most jobs dictates that an individual must go to college and get the relevant education, failure of which can lead to a miserable life.

On the other hand, the Chinese education system strongly emphasizes on laying a strong education foundation that is characterized by less thought and extra learning. Different to this, because of the significance of creativity in America, its education appreciates the need for more thinking and less forma learning, because of the readiness of the American society to adopt new concepts, so long as they have a positive impact on its citizenry (Rybak 1).

Differences between China and U.S’s Education Curriculum

Both in the U.S. and China learners must o through a total of twelve years elementary and high school that are broken into six years of elementary school, two years of middle school (in the U.S. it is called junior high), an finally three years of senior high school.

Although this similarity exists, China’s system is more rigid, because of the nature of its education principles; a case that is different in the U.S., where learners have the freedom of selecting lessons that that they should attend. In addition, unlike in the U.S. where wearing of school uniform depends on a school’s policies hence, not a must, in China wearing of special attires to school is compulsory.

Further, the Chinese education system is more competitive, because of the numerous and tough examinations that learners are supposed to take before proceeding to another level of learning. As results of this, learners in China always spend their entire school life preparing for exams; exams which in most cases are very tough as compared with the SATs taken in the U.S (Guihong 1).

Another disparity between U.S. and China’s education is in how students join their desired colleges. Although in both of these countries learners have to take some special test, whose results are used as the primary method of determining the type of college that one will join, in China these results are more important as they are also the primary determinant of the type of major that a learner will take.

In China learners are supposed to write a list of majors that they want to pursue, after which depending on their exam results their tutors will pick for them a major that fits them.

The scenario is different in America as learners are supposed to make applications to their preferred colleges, after which they will have to wait for feedbacks from these colleges, before making any decision on the type of major to pursue. Moreover, as compared to the U.S. where entry into a major and changing from one major to another is not a big struggle, in China getting into a preferred program is a very competitive endeavor and in most cases it is impossible to change from one major to another (Rybak 1).

In addition to these differences, because of the significance the U.S. places on the need for practical skills, learners in the U.S. spend a lot of time in labs, something that is a little bit different in China where rote learning and theory work is common. Although at some point learners in China practice their hands on work, most Chinese learners do not appreciate the significance of work experience before commencing their graduate studies.

It is important for individuals to note that, although this is the case in most learning institutions in China, because of the realization by the Chinese government about the significance of practical experience, the Chinese government is the process of reforming its education system to accommodate the ever-changing global educational needs (Li, Paranto and Rong 3-5). Additionally, when it comes to higher education, each of these countries’s higher education is a reflection of its economic needs.

The U.S. higher education is structured in way that it is supposed to respond to the ever-changing societal social, political, and economic needs. The scenario is a little bit different in China, because most of its specialty programs lack the required flexibility required for an education curriculum to be responsive to changing societal needs. Further, China’s higher education lays a strong emphasis on the significance of systematic study, as it is requirement for tutors to adhere to specific teaching programs.

Although to some level teacher-learner interactions are common in this type of teaching environment, such interactions are limited as compared to most typical classes in the U.S. where it is must to give learners the required autonomy and freedom to express their ideas (Mark Para. 8-13).


In conclusion, although the American system of education shares some similarities with the Chinese one, because of the nature of varying cultures that are appreciated in these two nations, there exist numerous differences between two country’s systems of education.

As compared with the American system of education that is flexible and accommodative, the Chinese system of education is more rigid and although to some level it aims to build learners with the desired skills needed in the competitive world, it is less practical and sensitive to changing global educational demands.

Works Cited

Guihong, Zheng. Education systems in China and the U.S. China International Information Center. 2003. Web.

Li, Ding, Paranto, Sharon, and Rong, Yihong. Management information systems curricula: a comparison between China and the USA. Research in Higher Education Journal. 2010. Web.

Mark, Klutcher. Te differences of higher education between China and U.S. U.S. Study Service. 2009. Web.

Rybak, Grace. Education differs in China and America. China Insight. 2009. Web.

Si-jing, Li. A comparative study of educational differences between U.S. and China. Journal Of Wuhan Institute of Shipbuilding Technology, 4.3 (2009). Web.

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Wolfe, Charlie. 2019. "Differences between the America and Chinese Education Systems." IvyPanda (blog), September 9, 2019.


Wolfe, C. (2019) 'Differences between the America and Chinese Education Systems'. IvyPanda, 9 September.

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