Private Education in China


Private Education Opens Up

In 1997, China allowed private education (Minban) in the country.

In 2003, China allowed foreign participation in the private education sector. Students started migrating from state-sponsored to private education in pursuit of a higher quality of education.

In 2008, new licences for Minban colleges were frozen or restricted. This raised the bar for new instutions to enter this sector, however it helped existing institutions to strengthen and grow.

GEM is a pioneer in this sector and holds several licenses to operate private education enterprises in China.

Rapid Growth

There is tremendous potential and growth in the private education sector in China. Since China liberalised central, government-directed education, the private education sector (Minban) has grown tremendously.

In the decade from 1997 to 2007:

  • The number of Minban colleges went from 21 to 297 (1314% increase).

  • Enrollment went from 14,000 to 1.63 million (11547 % increase).

Source: China Education and Research Network,
a division of the Ministry of Education, China

Factors driving the rapid growth:

1. China has the largest population in the world, with a very high young population who needs education.

2. Economy projected to grow at over 10% annually for the next decade.

3. Education ranks second in terms of consumer household spending, about 10-14% of total consumer spending.

4. In Chinese society, the emphasis on education is unparalleled. Education is seen as necessary for upward mobility. Parents are willing to allocate a large proportion of their income and savings for their child's education.


"We should change the situation that the state is the single provider of education, we should encourage and support the people to run schools."

roceeds from the Fourteenth Party's Congress of China, 1992, that led to legislations opening up the private education sector in China.



"Investors are allowed to attain reasonable economic return out of the balance, after the school has deducted cost of running the school, funds for the future development and other necessary spending in accordance with relevant state regulations."

The Minban Education Promotion Law
31st Session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, 1997