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The oldest school in the world was founded between 143-141 BC during the rule of the Han Dynasty in Chengdu, China, and is still in use today

Alex .A

Chengdu Shishi High School  is a state secondary school inChengdu, Sichuan province, China. It stands on the site of the first Chinese public school, founded in the Han Dynasty between 143 BC and 141 BC by then-governor of the region Wén Wēng (文翁), whose name the school was originally named after.

In Chengdu between the years 143 and 141 BC, Wén Wēngestablished the first local Chinese public school, Shujun Junxue (literally local Sichuan Academy). During the Eastern Han Dynasty, Chengdu and the school were devastated by fire. The school was rebuilt in 194 AD, and continued through dynasties as Yizhou Zhouxue, Chengdu Fuxue (Chengdu Academy, ) and other names. Shu Shi Jing (a form of Thirteen Classics, literally Shu Carved Stone of Classics,  was completed in Chengdu Fuxue in Northern Song after more than 230 years intermittent carving. The wars in late Ming Dynasty destroyed the school and then only rubble remained in the campus.

Sir Run Run Shaw Hall for Arts By HOUYIMIN - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Sir Run Run Shaw Hall for Arts
By HOUYIMIN – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, 

In 1661, early in the Qing Dynasty, the government school Chengdu Fuxue was established on the site, and became a leading school in Sichuan. Jinjiang Shuyuan which later became Sichuan University was established at the school in 1740. Chengdu Fuxue became Chengdu Normal School under the new educational system introduced in 1902 and then became Chengdu Middle School in 1904. It was renamed again to Chengdu Shishi Middle School in February 1940, and in mid-1948 was identified as a model for secondary schools nationwide.

In September 1952, after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the school changed its name to Chengdu No. 4 Middle School. During the Cultural Revolution the school was devastated for the third time; none of the Qing Dynasty buildings still exist. It returned to its former name in April 1983.

Shishi High School, Chengdu By AlexHe34 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Shishi High School, Chengdu By AlexHe34 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, 


Shishi ranks among the top 100 high schools in China. Its admission is considered highly selective, and attracts applications each year from both local and neighboring middle schools. For many students, acceptance into Shishi is an honor rivaling university acceptance and provides an opportunity to receive above average instruction in core classes. Most Shishi students scored among the top 10% of their peers on the junior middle school exit exam.