Literacy, Education and Economic Development in Contemporary China

Posted: 28 Jan 2013

See all articles by Emile Yeoh

Emile Yeoh

University of Malaya (UM)

Kah-Mun Chu

University of Malaya (UM)

Date Written: October 19, 2012

Abstract

Literacy has been conceptualized traditionally as having a major role in developing a nation. Literacy helps to spread awareness among the people of their rights. People with good literacy skills enjoy a higher standard of living, have better opportunities of finding jobs, and are able to continue to learn new skills that will help them in the workplace. A nation with high literacy rate is more likely to attract a large pool of investors and entrepreneurs as well as the inflow of money which in turn have a great impact on the nation’s economy. A society’s economic prosperity and literacy have great influence on each other as they jointly grow together. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of literacy in the economic development of contemporary China. Five variables, i.e. number of the illiterate and self-educated, primary school enrolment, secondary school enrolment, university and college enrolment and the education length were chosen based on empirical studies, especially the Solow model. Quantitative data were analyzed across China’s twenty-two provinces, five autonomous regions, and four municipalities which are under the direct control of the central government. On the other hand, qualitative data were generated by hypotheses or tested assumptions. The paper reveals that there is a significance relationship between the above-named variables and the economic development as well as the effect of structural changes on the education system, and that literacy is the key to move China forward. However, due to funding inequalities and certain aspects of government policies, some regions and provinces in China remain underdeveloped. Comparison of literacy rates between eastern, central and western regions were also made to further investigate their impact on the nation’s development.

Keywords: education, literacy, illiteracy, China, regions

JEL Classification: I22, I24, I25, I28

Suggested Citation

Yeoh, Emile and Chu, Kah-Mun, Literacy, Education and Economic Development in Contemporary China (October 19, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2207559 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2207559

Emile Yeoh (Contact Author)

University of Malaya (UM) ( email )

Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan 50603
University of Malaya (UM)
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan 50603
Malaysia

Kah-Mun Chu

University of Malaya (UM)

Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan 50603
University of Malaya (UM)
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan 50603
Malaysia

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