George Lucas Educational Foundation
Global Education

Shanghai's Improvement Plan for Schools (Education Everywhere Series)

In Shanghai, China, every low-performing school is assigned a team of master teachers and administrators to provide weekly guidance and mentorship on everything from lesson plans to school culture.
June 6, 2012

Education Everywhere Video Series

This series takes a look at high-achieving education systems and model schools around the world to see what makes them successful. This series is a co-production with the Pearson Foundation.

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 hours of professional development within five years.

Watch more videos in the Education Everywhere series:

Or visit our global learning resource page for more resources.

Source: Shanghai and Hong Kong: Two Distinct Examples of Education Reform in China PDF report by the OECD.

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  • Personal Learning Network
  • Professional Development
  • Teacher Development
  • Global Education
  • 6-8 Middle School