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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2011

Heidi Ross and Yimin Wang

This chapter begins with an examination of the complexities, challenges, and contradictions that are presented by policies and practices associated with the College…

Abstract

This chapter begins with an examination of the complexities, challenges, and contradictions that are presented by policies and practices associated with the College Entrance Examination (CEE) and higher education admissions during the three decades of China's reform era. It then focuses on recent reform polices as outlined in the national education 2020 Blueprint (National Educational Reform and Development Plan, 2010–2020), which deepens the debate about the role of the CEE in shaping the mission of education and distributing opportunities and “talents” affecting social mobility, university autonomy, and national development. The CEE stands at the epicenter of educational reform, criticized for hamstringing institutional autonomy and innovation; reducing schooling to a soulless competition; and unfairly advantaging urban children with greater educational opportunities. This chapter explains the staying power of the CEE and concludes that China's examination culture will intensify in the short term, as the CEE is clung to as a last bastion of meritocracy and is reinforced by the state's desire to cultivate what the 2020 Blueprint labels elite “selected innovative” and “pragmatic” talents. Content and policy analysis is used to explain CEE reform since 1978 and provide a backdrop for discussion of pedagogical, market, and compensatory reform strategies that tinker at the CEE's margins. To take into account micro-institutional processes involved in the CEE's creation, maintenance, and resistance to change, we examine stakeholders' frames of common perception through 2010 interviews with exam candidates and their parents, and faculty and administrators from four Gansu Province universities. These interviews illustrate what the CEE means to diverse families and reveal how admission policies impact students, teachers, and university faculty and administrators at both elite and non-elite higher education institutions. The slow change of CEE reform discourse and practice as China inches from examination-based selection criteria to ability-based selection criteria has begun to redefine the trajectories of recognized “elites,” whose actions are motivated by and reflect the changing needs of society and economic development. Friction and resistance on the ground, therefore, point to the ways in which the changing needs of the labor market, the policy mandates of the national agenda, the meritocratic ideal and the educational desires of China's citizenry intertwine to shape, and be shaped by, CEE policies.

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The Impact and Transformation of Education Policy in China
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-186-2

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Book part
Publication date: 21 September 2006

Heidi Ross and Jing Lin

We investigate how communities in China use schools to create and reproduce the values, knowledge, and social expectations that engender social capital. We focus on…

Abstract

We investigate how communities in China use schools to create and reproduce the values, knowledge, and social expectations that engender social capital. We focus on private and girls’ education, and report on the experiences of four schools between 1995 and 2005. We argue that, beyond schools’ contribution to the skills acquired by individual students, whether they promote the formation of social capital within communities should be a part of our assessment of their effectiveness. Schools as centers of activism can provide communities a forum for formulating their social demands and identities. In this context, social capital formation provides a useful heuristic for reclaiming the language of social justice and considering the human ends of education.

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Children's Lives and Schooling across Societies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-400-3

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Book part
Publication date: 13 December 2010

Heidi Ross, Ran Zhang and Wanxia Zhao

This chapter examines the changing state–university–student relationships in post/socialist China since the late 1980s. We begin with an introduction to four salient…

Abstract

This chapter examines the changing state–university–student relationships in post/socialist China since the late 1980s. We begin with an introduction to four salient themes in scholarship on Chinese post/socialism that are highly relevant to higher education: globalization, gradualism, civic society, and a critique of holism. These themes help us explain interrelated educational trends that affect the state–university–student relationship: the globalization, “massification,” and stratification of higher education; the redefined role of the state in university governance and management; higher education marketization and privatization; and the quest for meaning and (e)quality in and through higher education. Our general argument is that during the “socialist” period the main relationship central to higher learning was between the state and students. Universities were agents of the state; from a legal point of view, indeed, universities did not have an independent status from the state. In the “post-socialist” era the university–student relationship has become more significant. We examine this reconfiguration through two case studies, one on the development of college student grievance and rights consciousness, and the other on reforms in higher education student services administration. When looked at from the point of view of the state, we see that appropriation and implementation of policies and regulations shaping student rights and services are in partial contradiction with state policies to accelerate economic growth and bolster party authority. From the point of view of universities, we see institutions grappling with how to deliver on forward-looking structures and actions while navigating between the state's policy mandates and growing expectations and demands of its student and business stakeholders. From the point of view of students, we see how constrained agency, uncertainty, and the power of the credential motivates social praxis. At all levels of the state–institution–student relationship actors are employing a kind of pragmatic improvisation (one of the salient features of post/socialism) captured by the well-known Chinese proverb “groping for stones to cross the river.” This saying is an apt metaphor for the tentative searching by state, institution, and individual for a safe foothold in the post/socialist world.

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Post-Socialism is not Dead: (Re)Reading the Global in Comparative Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-418-5

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Book part
Publication date: 11 May 2007

Vilma Seeberg, Heidi Ross, Jinghuan Liu and Guangyu Tan

This chapter reviews the status of Education For All (EFA) in China and identifies four gaps: between rural and urban residents, between residents of geographic regions…

Abstract

This chapter reviews the status of Education For All (EFA) in China and identifies four gaps: between rural and urban residents, between residents of geographic regions, between ethnicity groups, and between the genders. It turns to examine the educational situation and interests of girls weighed down by the crushing burden of multiple disadvantages in “left-behind” Western China. Based on analysis of macro-level socio-economic and educational conditions, along with rich micro-level data on girls’ vigorous pursuit of education, the authors argue that the changing conditions of rural girls’ lives and their education can best be understood from a critical empowerment perspective. Summarizing the global discourse and cross national evidence on the benefits of girls’ education, the chapter and looks beyond a utilitarian perspective and argues for the cogency of a critical empowerment framework. Filled with telling stories and case studies of Han Chinese, Tibetan, and Muslim girls, this chapter proposes that prioritizing girls’ education in Western China is crucial and required for achieving the MDG of gender parity. Even though girls are often stranded by family financial conditions, their actions and ideas seeing education as their future reflect a changing gender identity and role in the family and society. The fieldwork suggests that educating girls promotes localized development, reduces dangerous levels of economic gaps and social instability, but also advances hard to measure effects: personal and civil empowerment, and sustainable, harmonious cultural change – as well as MDG.

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Education for All
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1441-6

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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2011

Chentong Chen is an undergraduate at Nanjing Normal University studying law and English. She has research interests in education policy, education assessment and…

Abstract

Chentong Chen is an undergraduate at Nanjing Normal University studying law and English. She has research interests in education policy, education assessment and evaluation, and child development. She is currently working on two research projects: policy issues related to the college entrance exam in China, and theories and practice of preschool assessment in the U.S.

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The Impact and Transformation of Education Policy in China
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-186-2

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Book part
Publication date: 21 September 2006

Emily Hannum

As Jennifer Adams notes in her paper, a number of studies within the U.S., as well as some studies in China and other low- and middle-income countries, have begun to…

Abstract

As Jennifer Adams notes in her paper, a number of studies within the U.S., as well as some studies in China and other low- and middle-income countries, have begun to address the ways that communities impact schooling outcomes. The potential role played by communities in local education has strengthened with the shift toward administrative and fiscal decentralization in many developed and developing countries. Often, fiscal decentralization results in a greater reliance on community financing of schooling, which, in turn, strengthens the association between where students live and the quality of educational services they receive (Bray, 1996a, 1996b).

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Children's Lives and Schooling across Societies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-400-3

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Book part
Publication date: 21 September 2006

Emily Hannum is Assistant Professor of Sociology and (by courtesy) Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on education, poverty, and social…

Abstract

Emily Hannum is Assistant Professor of Sociology and (by courtesy) Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on education, poverty, and social inequality, particularly in China. Recent publications include “Market Transition, Educational Disparities, and Family Strategies in Rural China: New Evidence on Gender Stratification and Development” (Demography, 2005) and “Global Educational Expansion and Socio-Economic Development: An Assessment of Findings from the Social Sciences” (with Claudia Buchmann, World Development, 2005). With Albert Park, she co-directs the Gansu Survey of Children and Families, a longitudinal study that investigates family, school, and community factors that support children's education and healthy development in rural Northwest China.

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Children's Lives and Schooling across Societies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-400-3

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Book part
Publication date: 21 September 2006

Emily Hannum and Bruce Fuller

A key tenet of the modern nation-state – embedded in the notion of progress – is the belief that our children can lead better lives than our own. Trust in the possibility…

Abstract

A key tenet of the modern nation-state – embedded in the notion of progress – is the belief that our children can lead better lives than our own. Trust in the possibility of upward mobility for future generations drives movements of families around the world, and, indeed, drives the spirit of capitalism. In today's world, the notion of mass access to educational opportunity is a key element of the dream of upward mobility. This ideal is manifest in the huge public investment in schools that all nations must make, no matter how rich or poor, to signify membership in modern society.

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Children's Lives and Schooling across Societies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-400-3

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Book part
Publication date: 13 December 2010

Olga Bain teaches at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Her research interests include educational…

Abstract

Olga Bain teaches at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Her research interests include educational policies in post-socialist countries, internationalization and globalization of higher education, faculty productivity and women's advancement in academia, and higher education financing. Olga Bain has consulted for the American Council on Education, the Academy of Educational Development, the International Research and Exchanges Board, the Council of Europe, the Salzburg Seminar, and others. She authored the book University Autonomy in the Russian Federation since Perestroika (2003, RoutledgeFalmer) as well as book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. She holds a Ph.D. degree in social foundations of education, comparative and higher education from the University at Buffalo, NY, and a candidate of sciences degree in sociolinguistics from St. Petersburg University, Russia.

Details

Post-Socialism is not Dead: (Re)Reading the Global in Comparative Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-418-5

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Book part
Publication date: 11 May 2007

Abstract

Details

Education for All
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1441-6

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