Document Details

Title The challenges facing Chinese higher education - And why they matter
Author Professor David Sadler - Queen Mary University of London


The paper presents some personal reflections on the challenges facing higher education in China today. It focuses on the international joint venture universities that have been established to date, and explores their impacts in terms of educational reform. I consider what lessons can be learned for ongoing processes of change in the wider higher education landscape in the country.

The relative under-performance of China’s universities – relative that is to the level of investment that has been seen over recent decades - can be explained by a number of factors. These include impediments to the recruitment of international staff and students; specific features of the learning and teaching environment; the nature and objectives of the national research funding system; and the constraints of the regulatory environment. These constitute a number of challenges which are only partially being addressed; yet these challenges matter, because educational reform is key to the future direction of Chinese society.

There are three immediate implications. The process of learning from international collaborative provision within China has only just begun and may need to be fostered. Greater transparency of internal decision-making processes will be key to reform; and the level and range of tuition fees may be one component of further debate.

Higher education in China is on the verge of a new era. How recent lessons of internationalisation are digested and incorporated will play a major part in its emergent shape and direction.

Date 16/03/2015
Region(s) Asia, Europe, All Regions
Countries China, United Kingdom, International
Theme(s) Transnational Education (TNE) Models
Topic(s) International Collaborative Programmes, Joint Provision

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