- Learn about the definition of all keywords, concepts, and items -

Words matter, so here are some definitions of our keywords:

Terms for Industrial Concept

International School:

A school for students, ages 3-18, owning its own teaching facilities and/or campus, normally providing day time education under a given curriculum (refer to curriculum). In China, we often see 3 types of international schools: privately funded bilingual schools, schools only for foreign passport holders, and international programmes within a public school (often found in a public high school, or Pinyin "Guojibu", as an alternative to the Gaokao system).

Thus, in's "Job Search" and "School Search", we combine the 3 school types in the search results under the heading "International School". However, teachers can see the actual type by visiting each school page - school type.

Training Centre:

A private institution or company, holding a minimum 3-year lease on business premises, normally providing after-school courses (such as language training, overseas study preparation training, K-12 subject training, and the like) for students of all ages.


A school for students, ages 3-6, owning its own teaching facilities and/or campus, normally providing day-time care and education. In China, we often see 3 types of kindergarten: publicly funded and operated kindergartens, privately operated kindergartens for public interest, and privately funded and operated high-end kindergartens with an international curriculum. Of course, it is the later one that often hires foreign teachers.

Early-year Development Centre:

A private institution or company, holding a minimum 3-year lease on business premises, normally providing day-care services for students ages 2-5.

Thus, in's "Job Search" and "School Search", we combined kindergartens and all early-year centres in the search result as "Pre-School".

Educational Consulting Company:

A private company registered to provided education-related consulting services, such as U.S. college admission services; however, a consulting company alone is not a sufficient legal entity to operate or provide education or training services, or to provide foreign teachers a valid teacher-titled working visa.

School Permit:

A license, issued by the local education bureau, normally with a 10-year expiration period, as a legal permit for any person or company to own and operate an international school, training centre, or pre-school in China. Also, the school permit is the most necessary legal condition for an employer to provide a valid teacher-titled working visa to a foreign teacher.

Native English Speaking Country

In the most ESL-related job applications through TopTutorJob, these countries are usually: the U.S.A, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.

See the full list of the Native English Speaking Countries by

Ascension, Australia, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Canada, Falkland Islands (i.e. Malvinas Islands), Gibraltar, British Guernsey, Guyana (formerly British Guiana), Ireland, Isle of Man (British Irish Maritime Territory), Jersey, New Zealand, Pitcairn Islands, Singapore, South Africa, Cyprus' British Territory, South Georgia and South SanWich, Tristan da Cunha, United Kingdom, United States, United States Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, British Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Also, by the definition from GOV.UK, the Native English Speaking Countries are:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland (for citizenship only)
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA


A short term to describe grades kindergarten through 12.


English as a Second Language: Students whose first language is other than English are often designated ESL in order to receive support with their language acquisition goals.


English for Speakers of Other Languages: Individuals learning English often speak many other languages. Therefore, ESOL is sometimes preferred over ESL.


English Language Arts


English Language Learners: Students whose first language is other than English.


English as a Foreign Language


English for Academic Purposes

Terms for China's Provinces and Cities


A municipality is one of the administrative territorial entities of the PRC. It owns the same administrative status as a province, autonomous region or special administrative region. It is the province-level division of China and is an organized city directly under the jurisdiction of the Central People’s government.

China has 4 municipalities by now: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing.


The province, which is one of the administrative territorial entity of the PRC, has the same administrative status as autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government and special administrative regions, and is the province-level division of China.

China has 23 provinces. Here we list the names of the proviences and their major cities in the parentheses:

  • Anhui (Hefei)
  • Fujian (Fuzhou, Xiamen)
  • Gansu (Lanzhou)
  • Guangdong (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai)
  • Guizhou (Guiyang)
  • Hainan (Haikou)
  • Heibei (Shijiazhuang)
  • Heilongjiang (Harbin)
  • Henan (Zhengzhou)
  • Hubei (Wuhan)
  • Hunan (Changsha)
  • Liaoning (Shenyang, Dalian)
  • Jiangsu (Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuxi)
  • Jiangxi (Nanchang)
  • Jilin (Changchun)
  • Qinghai (Xining)
  • Shandong (Jinan, Qingdao)
  • Shanxi (Taiyuan)
  • Shaanxi (Xi'an)
  • Sichuan (Chengdu)
  • Taiwan (Taibei, Gaoxiong)
  • Yunnan (Kunming)
  • Zhejiang (Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Shaoxing)

Autonomous Region

An autonomous region is one of the administrative territorial entities of the PRC, with the same administrative territorial entity level as provinces, municipalities and special administrative regions, and is the province-level division of China. The autonomous region is for ethnic minorities established in areas inhabited by the Central People’s government.

In China, there are 5 autonomous regions: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Tibet Autonomous Region, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Tier 1 City

According to YiCai Magazine (Business Charm Ranking, 2019), there are 4 Tier-1-Cities: Beijing(184.83), Shanghai(178.73), Guangzhou(118.91), Shenzhen(116.45). Tier 1 City usually has a prosperious economy, a huge population, and frequent international economic and cultural interactions.

New Tier 1 City

15 New-Tier-1-Cities: Chengdu(100.00), Hangzhou(90.41), Chongqing(89.71), Wuhan(78.20), Xi'an(77.75), Suzhou(75.23), Tianjin(71.33), Nanjing(68.44), Changsha(60.59), Zhengzhou(60.06), Dongguan(56.97), Qingdao(54.25), Shenyang(54.07), Ningbo(53.76). Kunming(52.27).

Tier 2 City

30 Tier-2-Cities: Wuxi, Foshan, Hefei, Dalian, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Harbin, Jinan, Wenzhou, Nanning, Changchun, Quanzhou, Shijiazhuang, Guiyang, Nanchang, Jinhua, Changzhou, Nantong, Jiaxing, Taiyuan, Xuzhou, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Taizhou, Yantai, Lanzhou, Shaoxing, Haikou, Yangzhou.

To be mentioned: the Business Charm Ranking is not a government report, but highly recognised by the business world in China. The report gives each city a score, which is calculated by the following dimension&weight:

  • Business resources intensity: 0.23
  • Importance of its traffic location: 0.17
  • Urban population's activation: 0.21
  • Diversification of its lifestyle: 0.19
  • Future's possibility: 0.20
  • TOTAL: 1.00

Visa-related Terms:

Work Visa(Z-Visa):

Chinese work visa (Z-visa) is issued to non-Chinese citizens to enter and work in China for paid jobs.

Work Permit:

A work permit is a document issued by the China Immigration that allows a foreign individual to work for a limited time at a specific job for a specific employer in China. It must be obtained for foreign nationals by Chinese employers.

Residence Permit:

A residence permit is a document issued by China Immigration that allows a foreign national to reside in China within a valid term.

Invitation Letter:

An invitation letter is a document inviting a foreign individual applying for a visa (Chinese Tourist/L Visa or Business/M Visa) to visit China.


Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, no one authority issues this certificate.

A TESOL certificate is one of the requirements for foreign teachers to apply for Z-Visa in order to teach English in China. It is different from a teaching license (see Terms for Teacher Qualification/License below for more details).


Teaching English as a Foreign Language, no one authority issues this certificate. English language instruction for non-native speakers.

A TEFL certificate is one of the requirements for foreign teachers to apply for Z-Visa in order to teach English in China. It is different from a teaching license (see Terms for Teacher Qualification/License below for more details).

Terms for Accreditation Organization/Membership


The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers a continuum of international education. Their programmes encourage both personal and academic achievement, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal development.

In order to teach IB programmes, schools must be authorized. Every school authorized to offer IB programmes is known as an IB World School.

Read TTJ's IB School in China to get an impression abou IB programs in China, as well as find an IB school.

Find more about IBO here.


Cambridge schools are part of a global community working to prepare students for success in our changing world.

All schools offering Cambridge qualifications must demonstrate their eligibility to do so by successfully registering with us. Registered schools gain access to a unique range of teaching and learning resources, professional development opportunities – and a world-class curriculum and wide range of qualifications for 5 to 19 year olds.

Schools with Cambridge certification will be marked with the accredidation "CIE" in TTJ.

Read TTJ's Cambridge School in China to get an impression about Cambridge programs in China, as well as find a Cambridge school.

Find more about Cambridge here.

College Board:

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.

Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.

Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.

Curriculum adopted by schools with College Board certification will be marked as the "AP curriculum" in TTJ.

Read TTJ's AP Schools in China to get an impression about AP programs in China, as well as find an AP school.

Find more about College Board here.

Oxford AQA:

Oxford AQA qualifications are recognised by leading universities worldwide. Oxford work closely with Ministries of Education to ensure that equivalence to local qualifications is validated. The International GCSEs and A-levels have been independently evaluated by UK NARIC, the agency responsible for providing information and advice on academic qualifications from all over the world, as being to the same standard as the British GCSEs and A-levels accredited by the UK examinations regulator, Ofqual.

Find more information about WASC here.


Edexcel is a qualification brand for academic and generation qualifications from Pearson.

Edexcel began as an awarding organisation following the merger of London Examinations and BTEC in 1996. After Pearson became our awarding organisation in April 2013, Edexcel became a qualification brand, now standing as one of Pearson’s leading brands.

Find more information about WASC here.


Cognia accreditation represents the unified policies and procedures for accreditation and certification from its Accreditation Divisions:

  • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI)
  • Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)

NCA CASI, SACS CASI, and NWAC comprise three of the six regionally recognized K-12 accrediting bodies and together have been accrediting institutions for 125 years.

Find more information about WASC here.

*The following are School Memberships

CIS(Council of International Schools)

CIS is a membership community working collaboratively to shape international education through professional services to schools, higher education institutions, and individuals. The CIS vision is to inspire the development of global citizens through high quality international education: connecting ideas, cultures, and educators from every corner of the world.

Find more information about CIS here.

WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges)

The Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC), a world-renowned accrediting association and one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the United States, works closely with the Office of Overseas Schools under the U.S. Department of State. ACS WASC provides assistance to schools worldwide, primarily in California, Hawaii, Guam, Asia, the Pacific Region, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

Find more information about WASC here.

NEASC(New England Association of School and Colleges)

NEASC is an independent, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization which connects and serves over 1500 public, independent, and international schools in the US and worldwide. Founded in 1885, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) has been working to establish and maintain high standards for all levels of education longer than any other accreditation agency in the United States. NEASC is made up of three Commissions which work in close partnership to ensure quality education for all students.

Find more information about NEASC here.

COBIS(Council of British International Schools)

Representing over 500 member organisations, COBIS is a responsive organisation, open to current and future opportunities. The association has developed markedly since its foundation, changing to meet the needs and aspirations of its growing global school membership base.

Find more information about COBIS here.

Terms for Curriculum/Student Examination

Chinese National Curriculum

The Chinese National Curriculum is a set of G1-G12 curriculum system built by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China. It aims to meet the requirements of quality education and develop a new generation with ideals, morality, culture and discipline.

G1-G9 is the compulsory education stage, consisting of primary school (G1-G6) and junior middle school (G7-G9). G10- G12 is the high school education stage. NOTE that every Chinese student is required to finish the compulsory education, and be assessed by relevant exams. Therefore, every school with Chinese local students (Bilingual Schools in Chinaincluded) of G1-G9 must provide Chinese National Curriculum.

In primary schools, morality and society, Chinese, mathematics, science, foreign language, comprehensive practical activities, sports and art (or music and Art) are set up.

In junior middle schools, the curriculum of combination of subject division and integration is set up, which mainly includes ideological and moral education, Chinese, mathematics, foreign language, Science (or physics, chemistry, Biology), history and Society (or history and Geography), sports and health, art (or music, art) and comprehensive practical activities.

In high schools, curriculum is divided into subject courses to enable students to achieve personality development under the premise of generally reaching the basic requirements. Chinese, mathematics, English are the compulsory courses to be assessed through Gaokao (the National College Entrance Examination). Students can also choose to be assessed in the selective subjects, including physics, chemistry, biology, history, geography, politics. Selective courses are encouraged to be set up in high schools, such as art, sports, computer science, technology.

Advanced Placement (AP)

The American Advanced Placement (AP) program is a curriculum sponsored by the College Board which offers standardized courses to high school students that are generally recognized to be equivalent to undergraduate courses in college. Participating universities worldwide grant credit to students who obtained high enough scores on the exams to qualify.

AP schools are marked with an accreditation of "College Board" schools in TTJ.

See an introduction to AP schools here, and find more information about AP here.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an international educational foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1968, the IB offers three educational programs for children ages 3–19. IB can refer to the organization itself, any of the following three programs or the diploma or certificates awarded at the end of the diploma program.

  • The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) is a two-year program for students ages 16–19.
  • Middle Years Program (MYP) is designed for students ages 11-16.
  • Primary Years Program (PYP) is designed for students ages 3-11.

Find an authenticated IB school in China.

Montessori Education

Montessori education is a set of educational pedagogy in pre-schools for young children, created by Maria Montessori in early 1900s. Montessori pedagogy emphasises on the observation and support to the natural development of children. It aims to help children develop creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, time-management skills. Montessori programs focus on pre-school or kindergarten education.

Montessori education has not formed a fixed trademark like IBO, IELTS, or TOFEL. Therefore, there is no authentic certifying organization of Montessori institutions. However, there do exist societies who are thought of legitimate of issuing Montessori qualifications to teachers and institutions, including:

  • Association Montessori Internationale (AMI);
  • American Montessori Society (AMS);

These societies or organizations are widely believed to be trustworthy, for they apply strict Montessori criteria on teacher training, certification issuing, and institution assessment.

Find more about Montessori and find a Montessori school in China.

General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)

GCSEs are the main examinations taken by UK students (ages 14–16) to complete Key Stage Four of secondary education (the equivalent of the first two years of high school in North America). Once GCSEs have been completed, a student is ideally placed to progress to Advanced Level (A-Level), or equivalent programmes.

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)

The IGCSE is an internationally recognized qualification for school students, typically for ages 14–16 (first two years of high school). It is similar to the GCSE. The IGCSE prepares students for further academic work including progression to AS Level and A-Level study, Cambridge Pre-U and the IB Diploma Program. The Cambridge IGCSE is recognized as equivalent, grade-for-grade, to the UK GCSE.

Visit the official website of IGCSE here.

Advanced Levels (A-Levels)

Typically a two-year course for ages 16-18 that is the equivalent to the last two years of high school. A-levels are usually taken after successful completion of a previous level, such as GCSEs. A-levels are most familiar in the UK, but are also used in a wide range of international schools worldwide.

Visit the official website of A-Levels here.


Test of English as a Foreign Language (for students)

Visit the official website of TOEFL here.


International English Language Testing System

Visit the official website of IELTS here.


Data, reports, manuals and questions from the worldwide assessment of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics and science.

Visit the official website of PISA here.


The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is the certificate that the majority of students in Victoria (Australia) receive on satisfactory completion of their secondary education. The VCE provides diverse pathways to further study or training at university or TAFE and to employment.

Find more information about VCE.


The Academic Test for Junior High School Students

The Senior High School Entrance Examination, commonly known as Zhongkao (中考), is the academic examination held annually in the mainland of the People's Republic of China to distinguish junior high school graduates. This examination is a prerequisite for entrance into almost all education institutions at the senior high school level, such as common senior high schools, secondary skill schools, vocational high schools, and technical high schools. It is usually taken by students in their final year of junior high school.

Find more information about Zhongkao here.


National Unified Examination for Admissions to General Universities and Colleges

The National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), commonly known as Gaokao (高考; gāokǎo; 'High[er Education] Exam'), is an academic examination held annually in the People's Republic of China.[note 1] This standardized test is a prerequisite for entrance into almost all higher education institutions at the undergraduate level. It is usually taken by students in their last year of senior high school, though there has been no age restriction since 2001.

Find more information about Gaokao here.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE)

The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) is an examination organized by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA).The HKDSE examination is Hong Kong's university entrance examination, administered at the completion of a three-year senior secondary education, allowing students to gain admissions to undergraduate courses at local universities through JUPAS. Since the implementation of the New Senior Secondary academic structure in 2012,HKDSE replaced the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (O Level, equivalent of GCSE) and Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (A Level).

Under the NSS (New Senior Secondary) academic structure,pupils are required to study four compulsory“core subjects” (Chinese and English languages, mathematics and liberal studies) and choose between one to four elective subjects (the majority with two to three subjects) among the 20 available. However, on 31 March 2021, it has been announced that liberal studies will be renamed“citizenship and social development”, and the curriculum will be changed, starting from 2021-2022 academic year and 2024 DSE.

Terms for Teacher Qualification/License

Licensed Teacher

Licensed teacher refers to teachers who are holding valid certificate on their expertise in teaching. A teaching license will only be considered as valuable as the issue institution is widely recognized through the global (such as IB teacher certificate), or the license is issued by the government of the national level (such as the teaching license of Chinese National Curriculum).

Chinese Teacher Qualification Certificate

The teacher qualification certificate is a license for teachers to work in the education industry. According to the Teacher's Law in People's Republic of China, in China, it is necessary for Chinese citizens to pass the exams and obtain such a certificate in order to work as teachers.

The Chinese Teacher Qualification Certificates are divided according to the educational stage of the students. There are 7 types of certificates:

1. Kindergarten teacher qualification certificate;

2. Primary school teacher qualification certificate;

3. Junior middle school teacher qualification certificate;

4. Senior high school teacher qualification certificate;

5. Qualification certificates for teachers of cultural courses and professional courses in secondary vocational schools, technical schools and vocational senior middle schools;

6. Qualification certificates of practice guidance teachers in secondary vocational schools, technical schools and vocational high schools;

7. Teachers' qualification certificate of colleges and universities.

8. Teacher qualification certificate for adult / university education shall be classified according to the level of adult education and the above provisions.

IB Educator Certificate

The IB offers the certification in teaching. With IB certification, teachers are regared as equiped with a rich teaching experience, ongoing professional development and the flexibility to follow a teaching model that best fits the career path. Find more information about IB certificate here.

Cambridge Teacher Qualification

Cambridge Assessment International Education provides teachers with many different training and professional development opportunities according to their experience and needs. After enrolled and finishing the Cambridge teacher training programs, teachers will gain Cambridge Teacher Qualification that indicates a deep and overall understanding of Cambridge programs and rich experiences. Find more information about Cambridge Teacher Qualification here.


CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is a qualification for teaching English as a foreign language. It focuses on developing practical skills with face-to-face teaching practice, which will provide you with the techniques you need to begin teaching as soon as you finish the course.

Find more information about CELTA on Cambridge Assessment


The PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) is an initial teacher training qualification, usually a one or two-year academic qualification that individuals can achieve after they have completed their degree. In England, there are two paths to earning the PGCE: either in a traditional university-led teacher training course, or through a school-led teacher training.

Find more information about PGCE on Department for Education UK


The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is a form of initial teacher training. This qualification is the Scottish equivalent of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). It allows graduates to qualify as teachers.

Find more information about PGDE on the University of Edinburgh


The iPGCE is an innovative programme for experienced and beginning teachers that offers unique opportunities to study pedagogy in a diverse range of professional settings. It is led by world-class educational researchers, placing students at the forefront of the latest pedagogical developments.


Qualified teacher status (QTS or QTLS) is required in England and Wales to work as a teacher of children in state schools under local authority control, and in special education schools. A similar status exists under a different name in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Find more information about QTs/QTLs on GOV.UK


South African Council for Educators, known as SACE, is the professional council for educators, which aims to enhance the status of the teaching profession through appropriate Registration, management of Professional Development and inculcation of a Code of Ethics for all educators.

Find more information about SACE here.