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History of education in China

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History of education in China
« on: April 14, 2008, 07:28:19 PM »
History of education in China

The Chinese education system is based on legalism ideals. The teaching of Confucius has shaped the overall Chinese mindset for the past 2500 years. But, other outside forces have played a large role in the nation's educational development. The First Opium War of 1840, for example, opened China to the rest of the world. As a result, Chinese intellectuals discovered the numerous western advances in science and technology. This new information greatly impacted the higher education system and curriculum.

Soviet influence in the early 1950s brought all higher education under government leadership. Research was separated from teaching. The government also introduced a central plan for a nationally unified instruction system, i.e texts, syllabi, etc. The impact of this shift can still be seen today. Chinese higher education continues its struggle with excessive departmentalization, segmentation, and overspecialization in particular.

From 1967 to 1976, China’s Cultural Revolution took another toll on higher education, which was devastated more than any other sector of the country. The enrollment of postsecondary students can be used as example to illustrate the impacts. The number dropped from 674,400 to 47,800. This has had a major impact on education in the 21st century. The decline in educational quality was profound.

From the 1980s on, Chinese higher education has undergone a series of reforms that have slowly brought improvement.

The government found that schools lacked the flexibility and autonomy to provide education according to the needs of the society. Structural reform of higher education consists of five parts:

    * reforms of education provision
    * management
    * investment
    * recruitment and job-placement
    * inner-institute management.

Management reform is the most difficult.[3]

The reforms aim to provide higher education institutions more autonomy and the ability to better meet the needs of students. Instead of micromanagement, the state aims to provide general planning.

The Provisional Regulations Concerning the Management of Institutions of Higher Learning, promulgated by the State Council in 1986, led to a number of changes in administration and adjusted educational opportunity, direction and content. Reform allowed universities universities and colleges to:

    * choose their own teaching plans and curricula
    * to accept projects from or cooperate with other socialist establishments for scientific research and technical development in setting up "combines" involving teaching, scientific research, and production
    * to suggest appointments and removals of vice presidents and other staff members;
    * to take charge of the distribution of capital construction investment and funds allocated by the state
    * to be responsible for the development of international exchanges by using their own funds.[4]

Reforms picked up the pace in 2000, with the state aiming to complete the reform of 200 universities operating under China's ministries and start 15 university-based scientific technology parks.[5]