The Law of the People's Republic of China on Education promulgated in 1995 stipulated that China shall implement adult education system.
The main functions of China's adult education are as follows:
1. to provide education and training of cultural knowledge, professional skills and practical ability for those who have become parts of the work force or those who may switch to new jobs and those job-seekers who have not met job requirements;
2. to provide literacy for the illiterates;
3. to continuously provide basic or higher education for those who have left formal schools, taking into consideration their cultural basis and actual needs. Graduation Certificates are issued to those who are qualified;
4. to provide continuous education for those professional technical or management personnel who have received higher education, with the purpose of renewing and enriching their knowledge and enhancing their ability;
5. to conduct diversified education of social culture or living, activities such as elementary knowledge of law, health of women and children, health of senior citizens, family life, fine art/calligraphy, beauty care, cooking/nutrition, flower-planting, etc.; to provide educational service of civilized, healthy, and scientific life-style for the elders, women and all citizens.
Adult schools usually consist of the following: education radio and television universities, institutions of higher learning for workers and peasants, colleges for management personnel, education institutes, independent correspondence colleges, adult education offered by regular institutions of higher education (correspondence departments, evening universities, advanced training for teachers), TV education via satellite as well as the system of examinations for self-taught students at higher level. Elementary intermediate adult education can also be conducted in places like secondary professional training schools, adult middle schools, technical schools for peasants, agricultural schools of radio and television as well as self-taught examination system at secondary level.
Statistics show that there are 962 independently established institutions of adult education with 200,390 faculty and staff members. 1,311 regular institutions of adult education organize correspondence programs and evening schools for academic education. There are over 400,000 secondary schools and 180,000 primary schools for adults.