Shanghai, China Fast Facts
With a population of 20.7 million, Shanghai is the largest city in China and the country’s business center.
Rapid economic expansion in Shanghai requires a steady flow of young workers who have creative problem-solving skills, and has pushed Shanghai to become a leader in educational innovation in China. Their evolution challenges the stereotype that Asian education systems are built for rote memorization of facts.
In 2009, Shanghai’s average Program for International Student Assessment scores were the highest in the world on all three subjects tested: reading, mathematics, and science.
In China, about 24 percent of high school graduates (or their equivalent) go on to some form of higher education. In Shanghai, the average is over 80 percent.
High levels of student engagement are a legacy of the Chinese culture’s emphasis on education; students in Shanghai classrooms are typically intensely focused on class activities, and there is no tolerance for inattentive students.
Among the many factors contributing to Shanghai’s success is a districtwide program called Empowered Administration, where low-performing schools get long-term mentoring from high-performing schools or groups of retired expert educators.
Shanghai was the first city in China to require ongoing professional development for educators. Every teacher completes 240