Chengdu has always emphasized the importance of education and this theory dates as far back to the Emperor Jing of the Han dynasty (156 to 141 BC). At that time, Wen Weng, who was the Civil Governor of Shu County, established the first public school in Chengdu, and indeed the whole of China, as was recorded in the Book of Han (Han Shu) which reads
“In the time of Emperor Wu of Han, following Wen Weng’s footsteps, he passed a policy to establish school officials on all his lands”.
During the Qing dynasty, right before the Xinhai Revolution, the region of Chengdu established up to 16 modern colleges. Those colleges became the nucleus for the the hundreds of colleges, universities and technical schools now scattered across the municipality.
Chengdu’s elementary and secondary educations are well established. In 2010, the city had 1,724 kindergartens, 1,105 public primary and secondary schools, 126 high schools, 18 special needs schools; 50 universities (5 of which are subordinate universities), and 1,627 private schools (including training institutions and kindergartens).
Chengdu has a long tradition of encouraging international exchanges. According to Fu Chongju’s “An Overview of Chengdu,” there were 162 Sichuan exchange students and 87 Japanese exchange students in Chengdu during the Qing dynasty.
In 1906, the USA established their first secondary school in Chengdu. Chengdu is currently working together with its sister cities which include Japan, the UK, France and Australia to establish educational institutions there. There are currently 77 schools in Chengdu that have achieved this already and have formed relations with 133 schools in the United States, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Singapore and many other countries.
These relationships are very revolutionary in nature. Many schools in Chengdu are seeking a deeper international character and the city’s Education Bureau is taking steps toward opening up the municipality’s education system to foreign influences. The moves are but baby steps, but for China, the idea that education could be reformed and influenced using foreign models is quite sensitive. Currently, the city is raising educational standards for teachers, increasing salaries, boosting infrastructure and facilities and laying out long-term goals for “internationalizing” Chengdu’s education system. Part of that plan revolves around attracting ever more international schools to the city.
Expatriates are increasingly drawn to Chengdu by the growing opportunities of international education for their children. Chengdu has five international schools enrolling children of foreign workers. Moreover, 29 schools teach international courses, and 88 primary and secondary schools have become sister schools with overseas schools.
Schools that provide education in line with international standards for expatriate children include the following: Chengdu ISC International School, Meishi International School, Eton House International School, the Léman International School, and QSI International School. The vast majority of expats in Chengdu choose one of the above schools for their children. Check out their websites below for more information:
G213 National Road, Da'an Village Zhengxing County, Shuangliu Township, Chengdu
Tel: 028-6703 8650
#188 Nan 3 Duan, 3rd Ring Road, American Garden
Tel: 028-8511 3853
Fax: 028-8519 8393
E-mail: [email protected]
No.399 Shuxi Road, Zhonghai International Community, Chengdu
Tel: 028-8608 1162
No.1340 Tianfu Ave. Middle Section, Chengdu
Tel: 028-8533 0757, 028-8533 0968
Times Residence Campus:
No.180 Zhiquan Section, East Avenue, Times Residence, Chengdu
Tel: 028-8477 7977
Botanica, 9 Chenglong Ave., Jinjiang District, Chengdu
Tel: 028-8477 7888
Chengdu ELDU Primary School
No.1 Zijin North Road, Chengdu
Tel: 028-8512 0461
No.122 Zirui Ave., Gaoxin District, Chengdu
Tel: 028-8517 5659
Golden Apple International American-English Kindergarten
No.1 Zongzhu Street, Wuhou District, Chengdu
Tel: 028-8523 7403, 028-8523 1157
There are also “internationalized” schools such as the International School of Music League, Chengdu Eldu Primary School, and Chengdu Golden Apple International Kindergarten.
Chengdu also is home to China’s first Rudolph Steiner Waldorf School - a wildly popular school with local affluent families as well as some expats. The Waldrof School has expanded across China, but the major training sessions are held here, in Chengdu.
Chengdu is pushing for greater means of foreign exchange. In 2012, the number of exchange students in Chengdu will reach more than 5,000, and that figure is expected to rise dramatically over the coming years. The city is also working to find a systematic way of recruiting foreign language teachers, helping qualified schools to develop bilingual education and encouraging more schools to teach foreign language courses.