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One of the main halls of the Guozijian in downtown Beijing
The Guozijian (Imperial College) of Beijing

The Guozijian (國子監 guózǐjiàn), the School of the Sons of State[1] sometimes called the Imperial Central School, Imperial Academy or Imperial College was the national central institute of learning in Chinese dynasties after the Sui. It was the highest institute of learning in China's traditional educational system.

The paifang or archway in Beijing's Guozijian street, where the imperial college is located.

Formerly it was called the Taixue, while Taixue for Gongsheng (tribute students) from the populace was still part of Guozijian, along with Guozixue for noble students. The central schools of taixue were established as far back as 3 CE, when a standard nationwide school system was established and funded during the reign of Emperor Ping of Han.[2] When disbanded during the 1898 reform of the Qing Dynasty, the Guozijian was replaced by the Imperial Capital Academy, later known as Peking University.

Guozijian were located in the national capital of each dynasty -- Chang'an, Luoyang, Kaifeng, and Nanjing. In Ming there were two capitals; thus there were two Guozijian, one in Nanjing and one in Beijing. The Guozijian, located in the Guozijian Street (or Chengxian street) in the Dongcheng District, Beijing, the imperial college during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (although most of its buildings were built during the Ming Dynasty)[3] was the last Guozijian in China and is an important national cultural asset.



  • Yuan, Zheng. "Local Government Schools in Sung China: A Reassessment," History of Education Quarterly (Volume 34, Number 2; Summer 1994): 193–213.


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