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The Higher Educational Transformation of China and its Global Implications

50 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2008 Last revised: 1 Apr 2008

Yao Amber Li

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology - School of Business and Management, Department of Economics; HKUST IEMS (Institute for Emerging Market Studies)

John Whalley

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI)

Shunming Zhang

Xiamen University - School of Economics

Zhao Xiliang

Xiamen University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

This paper documents the major transformation of higher education that has been underway in China since 1999 and evaluates its potential global impacts. Reflecting China's commitment to continued high growth through quality upgrading and the production of ideas and intellectual property as set out in both the 10th (2001-2005) and 11th (2006-2010) five-year plans, this transformation focuses on major new resource commitments to tertiary education and also embodies significant changes in organizational form. This focus on tertiary education differentiates the Chinese case from other countries who earlier at similar stages of development instead stressed primary and secondary education. The number of undergraduate and graduate students in China has been grown at approximately 30% per year since 1999, and the number of graduates at all levels of higher education in China has approximately quadrupled in the last 6 years. The size of entering classes of new students and total student enrollments have risen even faster, and have approximately quintupled. Prior to 1999 increases in these areas were much smaller. Much of the increased spending is focused on elite universities, and new academic contracts differ sharply from earlier ones with no tenure and annual publication quotas often used. All of these changes have already had large impacts on China's higher educational system and are beginning to be felt by the wider global educational structure. We suggest that even more major impacts will follow in the years to come and there are implications for global trade both directly in ideas, and in idea derived products. These changes, for now, seem relatively poorly documented in literature.

Suggested Citation

Li, Yao Amber and Whalley, John and Zhang, Shunming and Xiliang, Zhao, The Higher Educational Transformation of China and its Global Implications (March 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w13849. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1106576

Yao Amber Li

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology - School of Business and Management, Department of Economics; HKUST IEMS (Institute for Emerging Market Studies) ( email )

Econ Dept, HKUST,
Clear Water Bay
Hong Kong
China

HOME PAGE: http://ihome.ust.hk/~yaoli/

John Whalley (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics ( email )

London, Ontario N6A 5B8
Canada
519-661-3509, ext. 83509 (Phone)
519-661-3666 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/economics/faculty/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2
Canada

Shunming Zhang

Xiamen University - School of Economics ( email )

Xiamen, Fujian 361005
China

Zhao Xiliang

Xiamen University - Department of Economics ( email )

Xiamen, Fujian 361005
China

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