W. John Morgan explains how policy has impacted higher education in China.
China is a country marked by sharp differences in regional development and by social inequalities, especially between rural and urban areas. Given the economic and social development strategy of the Chinese Communist Party, education will continue to be a fundamental aspect of public policy aimed at managing this. The access to higher education opportunities is an excellent example of the process. Since 1998, Chinese higher education reform has replaced a state monopoly on investment and in the direction of graduates to employment by a system in which students – or their parents – share the cost of tertiary education and find a job in an open labour market. These market reforms saw higher education expand from one million new students each year to seven million by 2015.