Until 1911, the Chinese Educational System followed the teachings of Confucian. It was a system of cultivating wisdom, starting from the elementary school.
The Confucian Educational System
There are four studies within Confucian teachings: virtue, speech, skills for earning a living and the arts. The teaching of virtue is the core of Confucianism; it is absolutely crucial, for without morality and proper conduct we become selfish and concerned only with ourselves at the expense of society. Such behavior can result in world chaos. Today, our education has lost that emphasis. Schools only teach skills that are superficial and not the root of education. When the root is rotten, it shakes the foundation of society and causes the chaos that we are experiencing today. Elementary schools are like the root of education: junior highs, high schools, and colleges are the flowers and leaves. Teachers can start teaching filial piety to our children as early as possible.
The Confucian Elementary School System
In this system, elementary students were well trained to guard against the uprising of desires. Schools emphasized training in student's concentration and wisdom. Students started school at the age of seven. They stayed with their teachers and only went home during holidays. They were taught the correct way to interact with everyday life and the proper manner to attend to their teachers and elder schoolmates. This was called the education of moral principles based on human relationships. When the children went home, they would then treat their parents and siblings with filial piety and respect.
From the ages of seven to twelve, students were required to memorize and recite fluently the ancient texts. The teacher would first select materials which contained the profound wisdom of sages and saints and then encouraged the students to read and recite the material up to one or two hundred times a day. Children would have scattered thoughts if they were not assigned any tasks to do. The purpose of reciting was to focus their mind so that they would eventually obtain a pure mind, concentration and wisdom; even though, they may not have understood the meanings. However, the current educational system, in existence since the Revolution of 1911, eliminated this two thousand-year-old tradition and adopted the western educational system. This change, upon close examination, leads one to the root of modern China's social problems.
source : http://www.buddhanet.net/budasedu.htm