During the past 60 years of China’s socialist construction, its higher education policy has experienced dramatic paradigm shifts in line with the nation’s transformation from a planned to a market economy. During the 1950s-1970s, the paramount principle of education policy was political in nature and effect. While the fundamental values of education equity were based on the Chinese communist political ideology and education was treated as a public good, equal opportunities were not necessarily guaranteed. Since 1978, contribution to economic growth was prioritised on China’s education policy agenda. The political function of education was downgraded to favour a strategy that would accelerate China’s march toward economic modernisation. Priority has been shifted from equity to efficiency that is measured almost exclusively in financial terms. Within this process, new winners and losers have been created, with the former far outnumbered by the latter. By tracing current practices to their social and historical roots in order to grasp the essence of paradigm shifts in China’s higher education policy during the past six decades, this article argues that as a kind of social action, education policy requires to be observed within certain social, historical environment.
Paradigm Shifts in China’s Education Policy: 1950s-2000s
Yang R. (2012) "Paradigm Shifts in China’s Education Policy: 1950s-2000s " Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 4(1), 29-52. DOI: 10.14658/PUPJ-IJSE-2012-1-3
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Italian Journal of Sociology of Education
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