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EDUCATION IN CHINA: A SNAPSHOT © OECD 2016 – 35 Chapter 3 Beijing
36 – EDUCATION IN CHINA: A SNAPSHOT © OECD 2016 Introduction Beijing is the capital of China; it is also a national political and cultural centre. Not only does it host China’s central government, but all provinces also have their representative offices in Beijing. At the same time, many major enterprises and multinational companies keep their headquarters in Beijing. As mentioned earlier, Beijing is one of the four municipalities in the country. With a population of over 20 million, it is the second most populous city in China, surpassed only by Shanghai. Its economy ranks among the most developed and prosperous in China. Beijing is also the largest science and technology research centre in the country. In 2014, the city had over 726 000 science and technology professions, a figure which nearly doubled in the last ten years, as shown in Figure 3.1. Research and development expenditure in Beijing was nearly CNY 127 billion, accounting for nearly 6% of its GDP. There were 138 111 patent applications in 2014 and 74 661 granted patents throughout the year. FIGURE 3.1 PERSONNEL ENGAGED IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ACTIVITIES IN BEIJING (2005-2014) By number of persons By number of persons 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 800 000 600 000 400 000 200 000 0 Source: Beijing Bureau of Statistics, 2015. Beijing is also known as the education centre of China. Citizens in Beijing have a higher education level than citizens in any other city in China. According to the Sixth National Population Census of China, nearly 31 500 people out of every million citizens have a bachelor’s degree or above. The illiteracy rate is less than 2%, while the national average is 4% (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2011). Beijing is home to an extensive number of colleges and universities, hosting several universities with international reputations, including Peking University and Tsinghua University. By the end of 2013, Beijing had 89 regular higher education institutions, while Shanghai, for example, had 68. INFLUENTIAL ROLE IN EDUCATION There is no doubt that Beijing plays an influential role in Chinese education. This is not only due to the prominence of the municipality’s higher education institutions, but also because of its high level of investment in primary and secondary education and the impact that this has on other important education indicators. For example,
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