(Qinding) Xuetang zhangcheng (欽定)學堂章程 "(Imperially endorsed) Statutes of public schools" is a legislative text on the school system created in the last decade of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). The compilation was supervised by Zhang Baixi 張百熙 (1847-1907), courtesy name Yeqiu 埜秋 or 冶秋, style Qianzhai 潛齋, who was a member of the Committee of Educational Affairs (guanxue dachen 管學大臣) and the statutes were promulgated in August 1902, the year with the cyclical signs (see calendar) ren 壬 and yin 寅, for which reasons the statutes are also called Renyin xuezhi 壬寅學制 "School system of the year 1902".
The text consists of six parts, namely:
|(欽定)蒙學堂章程||Statutes for Elementary Schools|
|(欽定)小學堂章程||Statutes for Primary Schools|
|(欽定)中學堂章程||Statutes for Middle Schools|
|(欽定)高等學堂章程||Statutues for Higher Schools|
|(欽定)京師大學堂章程||Statutes for the Capital University|
|考選入學章程||Statutes for Entrance Examinations|
The statutes describe the objecte of the school levels, their character, the age of the pupils, the conditions under which they may enroll, the outline of the curricula, and the bridges between these levels. Education consisted of three levels (ji 級) in seven stages (duan 段). Primary education was obtained in elementary schools (mengxuetang 蒙學堂) and primary schools (xiaoxuetang 小學堂). Elementary schools were visited from the age of 6 sui on and provided education for four years. The phase of the primary schools was divided into the "common stage" (xunchang duan 尋常段) and the "higher stage" (gaodeng duan 高等段). During this phase children learnt about moral and virtue, intensified their knowledge and also obtained physical education. Each of the two stages took three years.
During the four years on the middle school (zhongxuetang 中學堂) pupils were prepared for high school or university and for the first time studies concrete subjects (kemu 科目).
For higher education the government had created higher schools (gaodeng xuetang 高等學堂) as well as the three stages of preparation schools (daxue yuke 大學預科), colleges (daxuetang 大學堂) and universities (daxueyuan 大學院).
In each provincial capital a high school was founded. The preparation schools were located inside the colleges and served as preparation schools for the university. Their curriculum consisted of two scholarly areas, namely politics (zheng 政) and arts (yi 藝), the former included the subjects politics (zhengzhi 政治), literature (wenxue 文學) and commerce (shangwu 商務), the latter science (gezhi 格致), agriculture (nongye 農業), industry (gongye 工業) and medicine (yishu 醫術). After three years of preparation students could enter the college in which the same seven subjects were taught. The whole educational process thus took twenty years. The universities themselves did not have a similar curriculum, but were places for research without a predefined schedule.
There were also professional schools (shiye xuetang 實業學堂) that offered the opportunity to follow another course of learning than in the high schools. Teacher schools (shifan xuetang 師范學堂) were subordinated to the middle schools, while teacher colleges (shifanguan 師范館, with a 4 years' curriculum) were part of the colleges. The same is true for colleges for officials (shixueguan 仕學館, with a 3 years' curriculum) where state officials obtained a special education. The curriculum of these two colleges was similar to the ordinary colleges.
Before the statutues were promulgated they wer replaced by the Guimao xuezhi 癸卯學制 "School system of the year 1904".