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1 Higher Education in China: Tradition and contemporary Transformation Mei Li Institute of Higher Education East China Normal University 10 th International.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Higher Education in China: Tradition and contemporary Transformation Mei Li Institute of Higher Education East China Normal University 10 th International."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Higher Education in China: Tradition and contemporary Transformation Mei Li Institute of Higher Education East China Normal University 10 th International Workshop on HE Reform 4 Oct 2013 University of Ljubljana

2 Modern university (Yang 2013) Modern universities are uniquely European in origin and characteristics Spreading worldwide under the conditions of imperialism and colonialism The idea of the university is arguably the most successful Western export to the rest of the world.

3 Evolution in a non-western society The evolution of the university in a non-western society with long and strong traditions In China, the integration of the Chinese and Western ideas of a university remains unfinished, despite many efforts to indigenize the Western concept since the nineteenth century.

4 Tradition of higher learning in China Traditional higher education institutions can be traced back to the 4 th century B.C.E. when Confucius established a private academy The Tang Dynasty ( C.E.) there was a whole range of higher education institutions, headed by the Guo Zi Jian (school for the sons of the Emperors) and the Tai Xue, which took major classical texts of the Confucian school as their curricular content.

5 Imperial Civil Service Exam Lasted for 1300 years, from Sui Dynasty to Late Qing Dynasty( ) Far-reaching impacts politically, socially and psychologically in Pre-modern China and modern China Influence other countries as well, British civil service system, Vietnam had adopted Imperial Civil Service Exam ( ), Yi Dynasty in Korea ( )

6 History ( ) (Hayhoe and Zha) PeriodExternal Influences Characteristics The Late Qing Period ( ) JapanAbsorbing Western techniques while keeping intact the basic character of the Confucian empire The Republic Period ( ) European Countries, America Higher education legislation reflect a European model and open the way for American influences on its system The Nationalist Period ( ) Considerable maturity and independence of educational thought with eclectic foreign influences The Socialist Period ( ) Soviet Union Adopting the Soviet model; Self-reliance; Isolation; Intend to build an egalitarian system of education The Reform Period (1978-Present) Internation al community Ascertain the goal; change the management system; re-connect with an international milieu

7 Changing environments Transformation in the past decades From political-ideological-driven society to socio- economic-driven society From agriculture sector-dominated economy to industry and service sectors-dominated economy From planned-economy to socialist market economy From a closed to opening country Urbanization ICT Welfare state to development state

8 8 Changes in Higher Education Elite HE to Mass HE Single function (ivory tower) to multiple and complex (Dys)functions Differentiation of institution type (vertical and horizontal): from (state) public institution to public, joint-venture, private From state control model to state supervision model

9 9 From Elite to Mass HE GER increased from 3.4% in 1990 to 26% in 2011 Diversifying student population: SES, Gender, Age Diversification of financial sources: tuition fees From small size (hundred, thousand) to huge multi- campus institution (ten thousand)

10 Gross Enrolment Ratio and Enrolment,

11 Major Achievements A Large and Comprehensive system established, Largest system worldwide Enter the stage of Mass higher education Gradual improvement on governance and regulations Emerging market-oriented mechanism for management Multiple-channel of financial sources: governments, clients, enterprises etc

12 Challenges and Tensions Tensions between elite and mass HE Expansion and quality Relationship between State, Institution and Market Academic centralization, nationalization and corporatization (Zha, 2011) Tensions between Internationalization and nationalization/localization: glonacal? Integration of Chinese and Western Ideas of the University

13 Is there a Chinese model of University? Traditional form of higher learning: Imperial Civil Service Exam System ( ), Taixue and academy (shuyuan): indigenous traditions Influences from European countries, America, Soviet Union and Japan “Whether American branches could be effectively grafted onto a Soviet tree planted in a Chinese garden” (Pepper 1990)

14 Traditional legacy and Contemporary borrowing Traditional legacy Confucian and Confucianism: respect authority, value of education and scholarship Humanities hegemony and inward- looking Strong state, centralization, hierarchy Master and students, traditional way of production of knowledge and HR Self-mastery rather than autonomy and independence, responsibility and commitment to national/state development Contemporary borrowing- Western format and paradigm Respect of individual right and development Scientific hegemony and outward- looking Strong collegiate and market, stakeholder Industrial production of knowledge and training of human resource University independence of state and external agencies and actors Autonomy, freedom

15 Unity with diversity Only when a university model grows out of its own national spirit, can it avoid external manipulation, whether political or economic, and create a spiritual base for the nation’s pursuit of knowledge and for the formation of national character. (Zha, 2011)

16 Concluding Remark Common roots flourished in different soils (Altbach) From the medieval universities to the contemporary universities, universities underwent great changes——from convergence to divergence Development of higher education cannot escape history, no matter what kind of change, the universities in the world still share a common culture, reality and face similar challenges. There are significant national differences that will continue to affect the development of academic systems and institutions


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