Tag Archives: perestroika

Put Your Foot Down and Drive: Troubled Kingdom ‘Has Second Thoughts’!

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Higher education in China: authoritarian perestroika in action

The Chinese higher education system, as Ning Rong Liu highlights in his informative paper ‘Restructuring China’s adult higher education: an examination of the driving forces behind the reform’ (Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 13:1, 107-121), has been heavily influenced by two main models: that of the USA, starting in the nineteenth century and which is also the dominant model today, and during the mid-twentieth century, the paradigm prevalent in the Soviet Union.

Since 1985, higher education in China has been the subject of all kinds of reforms, changes inspired largely by the perception that China needed a comprehensive overhaul of its tertiary education system in order to prosper in a new globalised, marketisation-defined era.

In 2006, results of a survey conducted at the Cross-Strait Forum on Continuing Education ranked seven factors underpinning the restructuring of adult higher education in China in the following order:

1. The forces of economic reforms and development of the market economy in the country;

2. The rising demand for professional talent resulting from rapid economic development;

3. The impact of the increasing enrolment in China’s regular institutions of higher education;

4. The impact of the global trend of decentralisation and marketisation in higher education on China;

5. The acceptance of the concept of life-long learning and its significance in Chinese society;

6. An experiment in adult higher education for the purpose of gaining valuable experience for broader reforms in higher education;

7 A new way to raise funds for universities due to the insufficient financial support from the state.

From this, there appears to be little doubt that the values of ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ have permeated the Chinese higher education system.

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