Adopted at the Fourth Session of the Sixth National People’s Congress, and effective as of July 1, 1986.
Article 1 This Law is formulated, in accordance with the Constitution and the actual conditions in China, for the purpose of promoting elementary education and the building of a socialist society that is advanced culturally and ideologically as well as materially.
Article 2 The State shall institute a system of nine-year compulsory education. The authorities of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government shall decide on measures to promote compulsory education, in accordance with the degree of economic and cultural development in their own localities.
Article 3 In compulsory education, the State policy on education must be implemented to improve the quality of instruction and enable children and adolescents to achieve all-round development – morally, intellectually and physically-so as to lay the foundation for improving the quality of the entire nation and for cultivating well-educated and self-disciplined builders of socialism with high ideals and moral integrity.
Article 4 The State, the community, schools and families shall, in accordance with the law, safeguard the right to compulsory education of school-age children and adolescents.
Article 5 All children who have reached the age of six shall enrol in school and receive compulsory education for the prescribed number of years, regardless of sex, nationality or race. In areas where that is not possible, the beginning of schooling may be postponed to the age of seven.
Article 6 Schools shall promote the use of putonghua (common speech based on Beijing pronunciation), which is in common use throughout the nation.
Schools in which the majority of students are of minority nationalities may use the spoken and written languages of those nationalities in instruction.
Article 7 Compulsory education shall be divided into two stages: primary school education and junior middle school education. Once primary education has been made universal, junior middle school education shall follow. The department in charge of education under the State Council shall decide on the duration of each stage.
Article 8 Under the leadership of the State Council, local authorities shall assume responsibility for compulsory education, and it shall be administered at different levels.
The department in charge of education under the State Council shall, in accordance with the needs of the socialist modernization and with the physical and mental development of children and adolescents, decide on the teaching methods, the courses to be offered and their content, and the selection of textbooks for compulsory education.
Article 9 Local people’s governments at various levels shall establish primary schools and junior middle schools at such locations that children and adolescents can attend schools near their homes.
Local people’s governments shall establish special schools (or classes) for children and adolescents who are blind, deaf-mute or retarded.
The State shall encourage enterprises, institutions and other segments of society to establish schools of the types prescribed by this Law, under unified administration by local people’s governments and in compliance with the basic requirements of the State.
Appropriate facilities for compulsory education must be included in the plans for construction and development of both urban and rural areas.
Article 10 The State shall not charge tuition for students receiving compulsory education.
The State shall establish a system of grants-in-aid to support the school attendance of poor students.
Artcle 11 When children have reached school age, their parents or guardians shall send them to school to receive compulsory education for the prescribed number of years.
If, on account of illness or other special circumstances, school-age children or adolescents need to postpone enrollment or be exempted from schooling, their parents or guardians shall submit an application to that effect to the local people’s government for approval.
No organization or individual shall employ school-age children or adolescents who should receive compulsory education.
Article 12 The State Council and the local people’s governments at various levels shall be responsible for raising funds for the operating expenses and capital construction investment needed for the implementation of compulsory education, and the funds must be fully guaranteed.
State appropriations for compulsory education shall increase at a faster rate than regular State revenues, and the average expenditure on education per student shall also increase steadily.
In accordance with the provisions of the State Council, the local people’s governments at various levels shall levy a surtax for education, which shall be used mainly for compulsory education.
The State shall subsidize those areas that unable to introduce compulsory education because of financial difficulties.
The State shall encourage individuals and all segments of society to make donations to help develop education.
The State shall assist areas inhabited by minority nationalities to implement compulsory education by providing them with teachers and funds.
Article 13 The State shall take measures to strengthen and develop normal schools and colleges in order to accelerate the training of teachers, so as to ensure, in a planned way, that all primary school teachers have received at least secondary normal school education and that all junior middle school teachers have received at least higher normal school education.
The State shall establish a system to test the qualifications of teachers and shall issue qualification certificates to those who pass the test.
All graduates of normal schools and colleges must engage in educational work, as required by the relevant regulations. The State shall encourage teachers to make education their long-term career.
Article 14 Teachers should be respected by the public. The state shall safeguard the teachers’ lawful rights and interests, and take measures to raise their social status and improve their material benefits. It shall reward outstanding educational workers.
Teachers should be committed to the cause of socialist education, endeavour to raise their own ideological and cultural levels as well as professional competence, show concern for their students and be devoted to their duties.
Article 15 The local people’s governments at various levels must create conditions for all school-age children and adolescents to enrol in schools and receive compulsory education. In cases where school-age children or adolescents do not enrol in school and receive compulsory education, with the exception of those who, on account of illness or other special circumstances, are allowed by the local people’s governments not to go to school, the local people’s governments shall admonish and criticize the parents or guardians of those children or adolescents, and adopt effective measures to order them to send the children or wards to school.
In cases where organizations or individuals employ school-age children or adolescents for work, the local people’s governments shall admonish and criticize them and shall order them to stop such employment. In serious cases, the offenders may be fined, ordered to suspend their business operations or have their business licences revoked.
Article 16 No organization or individual may appropriate, withhold or misuse funds earmarked for compulsory education, disrupt order in education, or occupy or damage school buildings, grounds or facilities.
It shall be forbidden to insult or assault teachers. It shall be forbidden to inflict physical punishment on students.
No one may make use of religion to engage in activities which interfere with the implementation of compulsory education.
Persons who violate the provisions of the preceding two paragraphs shall be subject to administrative sanctions or penalties depending on the circumstances. In case damage is caused, the offender shall be ordered to make compensation. If the circumstances are serious and a crime is committed, criminal responsibility shall be investigated in accordance with the law.
Article 17 The department in charge of education under the State Council shall, in accordance with this Law, formulate rules for its implementation, which shall come into force after being submitted to and approved by the State Council.
The standing committees of the people’s congresses of province, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government may formulate specific measures for implementation in accordance with this Law and their local conditions.
Article 18 This law shall come into force on July 1, 1986.