An internal report co-authored by Cui Fang of the Population and Development Department of the Chinese Academy of Sciences suggests moving to a 2-child policy by 2015 and no birth limits after 2020. China never had limits for non-Han Chinese minorities and had great difficulty enforcing the one-child policy in rural areas. In addition, with the burgeoning responsibility of a one child to support 2 parents and four grandparents, the only-child-of-an-only-child who marries a similar only child (therefore doubling the burden) can have 2 children already. The one-child policy was absolutely critical to allow economic advancement and avoid food shortages and an environmental disaster. According to Cui Fang: “In the past, family planning was important for our national development, but now the country has changed and the decision about how many children to have should be given back to families.” If the one-child policy continued, the elderly would make up one-third the population by 2050.
Western China-bashers point to pressure from the internet and China’s 400 million bloggers as a cause for forcing change. However, had China not had a one-child policy, it is likely it would be similar to or worse than India in poverty. This decision has been some time coming and is based on an intellectual study of the situation, not any fear of pubic opinion which in the developed zone is strongly pro-one-child. Unnoticed is the fact that as the younger educated students marry, they are less desirous of a family and may follow the Singapore model where a higher level of education has resulted in a dramatic fall in childbearing, way below ZPG.
China is projected to have 200 cities with populations over a million by 2025; the United States has nine.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE ALTERS VISA REGULATIONS ON CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE TEACHERS, THEN BACKS DOWN
In late May, in an unbelievably clueless move, the U.S. State Department issued a directive requiring all Chinese-language schoolteachers affiliated with university-based Confucius Institutes who hold J-1 visas to leave the country within weeks. Although the US State Department lacks any authority over K-12 and university education, the State Department directive, in a memorandum sent to the 80 American universities that host Confucius Institutes, said that foreign professors, academics, and students at the university level are prohibited from teaching in elementary and secondary schools and would have to leave the U.S. immediately and e-apply for the correct visa, despite such teachers being allowed for decades. Since this policy change is in contradiction to an Obama-administration pledge to double the number of Americans studying in China. The U.S. lacks teachers of Chinese language and relies heavily on the Confucius Institute personnel to teach what little Chinese is taught to students. A large number of academics (including me) as well as the PRC protested this about-face in policy. Within two weeks, the directive was withdrawn with little comment beyond stating that the policy “was not well thought out."
CHINA UNIVERSITY LEADERS SENT ABROAD
According to the University World News, China is stepping up its overseas training programme for presidents and vice presidents of public universities as it looks to upgrade higher education to compete with world-class systems and top universities internationally.
SENATE DEMOCRATS KILL VISA BILL FOR FOREIGN STUDENT GRADUATES IN STEM
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill to reallocate up to 55,000 green cards to foreign graduates of American research universities who receive advanced degrees in STEM areas, according to Michael Stratford for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Unfortunately, this bill failed in our U.S. Senate with objections from Democrats that it replaced a random lottery visa program; this opposition was led by NY Democrat Senator Schumer, a longtime China-basher.
AUSTRALIA AND CHINA PARTNERSHIP
According to UWN, in “what Australian policy-makers are now calling the Asian Century, China has become Australia's chief partner in higher education cooperation, writes Joseph Xiaojun Zhang for Xinhua. The number of university agreements between the two countries has leapt almost 75% in less than 10 years, rising from 514 to 885.”
According to the Pew Research Center, there are currently 18.2 million Asian Americans living in the United States (approximately 5.8% of the U.S. population) and are the fastest-growing ethnic group, surpassing Mexicans. 5.6 million live in California and 1.6 million live in New York State. This is an increase of 46% between 2000 and 2010, the highest increase of all racial groups. The continued projected growth for Asian Americans in the U.S. between 2008 and 2050 is 161% compared to 44% growth for the whole nation. 2.6 million age 5 and older speak Chinese at home. After Spanish, Chinese is now the most widely spoken non-English language in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the current U.S. breakdown is:
3.8 million Chinese
3.2 million Filipino
2.8 million Asian Indian
1.7 million Vietnamese
1.6 million Korean
1.3 million Japanese
The U.S. Census Bureau predicts Asian Americans will increase to 40.6 million or 9% of the U.S. population by 2050. According to the Bureau’s Reported Usage for Households survey in 2009, 80% of Asian Americans live in a household with internet use, the highest rate among all groups and well above the ~60% broadband household usage nationwide.
Portraits of 21st Century Chinese Universities: In the Move to Mass higher Education by Ruth Hayhoe, Jun Li, Jing Lin and Qiang Zha is ISBN 9789881785237, published April 2011, 490 pages is available for HK$300 from www.hku.hk/cerc/Publications/
THE CREATION OF BELIEF: Cultural Influences on Beliefs about the Origin of Species by Erin I. Smith of California Baptist University and Rebekah A. Richert of University of California, Riverside. Abstract: Two studies examine the development of children’s beliefs about the origins of natural kinds. Study 1 explored 8- to 12-year-old religious and secular American children’s beliefs about origins with closed-ended responses. Half of the questions used a creation option that directly referenced God; half did not have an explicit reference to God. Religious children endorsed creationist explanations for origins whether there was or was not an explicit reference to God. However, the secular children were significantly less likely to endorse a creationist response when the direct reference to God was removed. Study 2 examined 8- to 12-year-old Chinese children’s beliefs about origins using questions from Study 1 that did not directly reference God. Across all ages these children endorsed evolutionary explanations for animates and non-supernatural, non-evolutionary explanations for other natural kinds. Together, these studies suggest the importance of understanding culture in shaping the development of children’s beliefs and religious cognition.
RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES AS LEADERS OR FOLLOWERS? From University World News, Dec. 16, 2012, Issue No. 252 by John Aubrey Douglass.
Since , tertiary enrolment has more than tripled and produced some 6.3 million graduates and some 3,000 institutions. With more than 29 million students, China has the largest higher education enrolment in the world. In 2010, approximately 24% of the traditional age cohort of 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in higher education….
This desire has generated a series of national government policies, beginning with the 985 Project (launched in 1998), intended to develop a group of globally competitive institutions, and more recently expressed in the National Outline for Medium and Long-term Educational Reform and Development 2010-2020 (otherwise known as the 2020 Blueprint….
…Chinese universities are the canary in the coalmine – the benchmark to gauge the nation’s progress towards a more open and, in the end, much more productive society.
Many university leaders and faculty know that the excessive controls by the national government are
a hindrance; with the benefit of experience or knowledge of other great universities, they know of the problems of ‘hierarchy fatigue’, the need to develop internal cultures of self-improvement, and the key role of academic autonomy.
These are the crucial issues for developing truly world-class universities and, more importantly, universities as
agents of social change.
Are Chinese universities and, in particular, the 985 institutions, to be leaders or followers in the coming decades? The maturation, achievement and status of Chinese universities, and their influence on Chinese society and the economy, will grow considerably, if allowed.
* John Aubrey Douglass is a senior research fellow in the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. This is an edited extract from his article, “China Futurisms: Research universities as leaders or followers?”, published in the current edition of the journal Social Research: An International Quarterly of the Social Sciences.
HONG KONG STUDENTS STUDY IN CHINA from University World News, Dec. 16, 2012, Issue No. 252 by Yojana Sharma.
A scheme to allow Hong Kong students to attend universities in mainland China without taking part in the competitive national entrance examination, the gaokao, is to be extended to more Chinese institutions despite criticisms that their degrees are not recognised for many jobs in Hong Kong’s public sector. Almost 1,000 Hong Kong students were able to attend any of 63 universities in mainland China this year under a scheme announced in August 2011 during a visit to Hong Kong by China’s Vice-premier Li Keqiang as part of his ‘basket of gifts’ to boost ties between Beijing and Hong Kong.
The scheme will now be expanded to a total of 70 mainland institutions, after China’s Ministry of Education this week announced that seven prestigious universities – including Tsinghua, Remin, Nanjing, Zhejiang, Xi’an Jiaotong and Shanghai Jiaotong – would be allowed to recruit a proportion of their students independently of the gaokao. They join others including the universities of Peking, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Yunnan, and a number of medical schools, fine arts institutions and music conservatoires, that participated under last year’s scheme.
Mainland universities accepting Hong Kong students are entitled to a government subsidy of around
8,000 yuan (US$1,250) per student per year, according to the official Xinhua news agency....
Degrees from mainland China do not qualify holders to apply for jobs in Hong Kong’s public
administration, and may also be a disadvantage in some private sector jobs.
Hong Kong Undersecretary for Education Kevin Yeung was quoted in the South China Morning Post
as saying that mainland degrees were assessed “on a case by case basis”. But he confirmed that degrees obtained through the mainland scheme would require “additional verification” before being recognised for local government job applications. Many Hong Kong public administration jobs are well paid and sought after....
Legislators insisted during a panel meeting this week that the Hong Kong authorities were responsible for ensuring students had fair chance for such jobs, otherwise it would be like luring students “into a trap” where they obtained a sub-standard degree.
The scheme has been welcomed by the Hong Kong authorities as a way of relieving pressure on Hong Kong’s universities at a time when the higher education system is changing from a three-year degree system – a legacy of British colonial rule, which ended in 1997 – to a four-year degree system, leading to a double cohort on many Hong Kong campuses this academic year.
TAIWAN MERGES SIX UNIVERSITIES INTO THREE
According to The China Post, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is merging six major universities into three due to the nation's declining birth rate. “The decreasing number of students led the MOE to downsize the number of universities and polytechnic institutes. The ministry has been reviewing the university enrollment system and has decided on the new admission policy targeting university amalgamation given the dramatic drop in college applicants... The top six universities to undergo mergers are: National Taiwan University and National Taipei University of Education; National Tsing Hua University and National Hsinchu University of Education and National Pingtung University of Education and National Pingtung Institute of Commerce. The MOE is prioritizing local national universities that have less than 10,000 registered students. There are 53 national universities and polytechnics that currently have under 10,000 registered students. Legislators of the Education and Culture Committee of the Legislative Yuan announced the possibility that the annual education budget may be frozen.”
Chiang said he anticipates that the process will be concluded during the 2013 academic year and that the mergers of university administrative networks and general knowledge courses can maximize the limited educational resources.
CHINESE STUDENTS (MOSTLY UNDERGRADUATES) INCREASE IN U.S. UNIVERSITIES
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “In all, 764,495 international students studied in the United States in 2011-12, making up 3.7 percent of the total [U.S. college] student population. They and their dependents are estimated to have contributed more than $21.8-billion to the U.S. economy in that year in the form of tuition and living expenses.” While student number from other countries are leveling off or declining, Chinese students increased 5.8% over last year, continuing a climb since a brief dip due to the 9/11 restrictions. A graph showing the increases from China is at:
AMERICAN STUDENTS STUDYING OVERSEAS SLOWS TO A HALT
According to a November 12, 2012 Chronicle of Higher Education report, the number of American students “...who study abroad grew an anemic 1.3 percent in 2010-11, according to the latest ‘Open Doors’ report by the Institute of International Education.... According to the report, 273,996 students went abroad in the 2010 academic year. Europe remains the preferred region of study, drawing 55 percent of all students. But China has steadily inched up over the years and is now the fifth most popular destination, reflecting a growing interest in Asia's leading economy. According to a separate survey by the institute, if those students traveling to China for service-learning projects, research, and other non-credit-bearing work were added in, the total number of students who traveled to China in 2011 climbed to 26,000.” [Unfortunately, the vast majority of U.S. students study in China for only a few weeks and do not learn the language; this is in stark contrast to the Chinese students who are fluent enough in English to study here for years. -JRS]
BUYING U.S. CITIZENSHIP
According to the Nov. 1 New York Times, "...508,000 Chinese left for the 34 developed countries that make up the OECD" in 2010. In 2011, 87,000 Chinese became permanent residents of the U.S., up from 70,000 in 2010 and a 45% increase over 2000, using investment-based green cards to attain citizenship in 4 years. To secure this, they must invest at least US$500,000. Although the NY Times article attributes this to negative factors in China, it overlooks the fact that there were very few younger Chinese with $500,000 until recently. This has more to do with new Chinese affluence than anything political. The NY Times has a consistent record of being a nationalistic paper. Graph attached in jpg.
CHINA DRAFT BUDGET INCREASES RESEARCH BY 10%, ELITE UNIVERSITIES BY 24%
According to nan interview in University World News, in a draft budget released at the annual session of the National People's Congress in March, Beijing earmarked 32.45 billion renminbi (US$5.15 billion) for basic science research in 2012, an increase of more than 10% on 2011.
Funding for projects 985 and 211, which both funnel money to elite universities for top-end research, will jump 24% over last year’s funding. Globally, China’s overall spending on research and development is second only to the U.S.
CONTEXT FOR THE INCREASE IN SOME CHINESE STUDENTS’ STUDY ABROAD
A summary of Qiang Zha’s “The Study-abroad Fever among Chinese Students” appeared in the University World News on October 7, 2012 (Issue No: 242). Highlights include:
“It is estimated that high-school students now account for half or even more of Chinese students who choose to study abroad. Understandably, these high-school students make this choice so that their access and transition to Western universities will be easier and smoother.
The other notable phenomenon is the growing call to improve and assure the quality of higher education in China, evident in the emphasis laid in such milestone policy documents as the National Outline for Medium and Long Term Educational Reform and Development (2010-2020) – or the "2020 Blueprint" – and most recently a national working conference on higher education quality control and assurance, held from 22-23 March in Beijing….
In 2011, among participants in the national higher education entrance examination or gaokao (mostly new high-school leavers), some 78% on average across the country had the chance to go to a university or college…. Overall, Chinese higher education enrolment grew at an annual rate of 17% between 1998 and 2010, while the volume of Chinese students studying abroad increased by over 25% annually in the same time span. The number of Chinese students studying in the United States increased by 80% from 1999-2009.
In 2011 the number of Chinese students who went to study abroad hit a record 339,700. This figure is expected to rise to between 550,000 and 600,000 by 2014.
This group is also getting younger. In the past five years, the number of Chinese students attending private high schools in the US grew by over 100 times, from 65 in 2006 to 6,725 in 2011.
If this tendency continues, it may threaten student supply in Chinese higher education in the long run, combined with China’s demographic change – a projected reduction of 40 million in the 18-22 age group in the population over the next decade. Since 2008, the population of gaokao entrants has shrunk by 1.4 million, for which these two factors are cited as being directly responsible.
As a more immediate consequence, Chinese students are now estimated to contribute more than US$15 billion a year to the economies of their host countries – with US$4.6 billion going to the US alone – equivalent to almost a half of China’s total higher education appropriations in 2008.
The fact that more and more Chinese households are becoming well-off could be a factor behind the trend, yet this single factor wouldn’t be sufficient to explain the reasons behind ever growing study-abroad fever among Chinese students and parents. Indeed, there are few cases like China, where the domestic higher education supply and the study-abroad volume are growing dramatically, side by side.
In the rapid massification process, Chinese higher education suffered a serious decline in quality. This might be another fundamental reason responsible for the rising study-abroad fever.
Ever since the huge expansion of Chinese higher education enrolment started in 1999, concerns over and criticism of deteriorating quality in teaching and learning have been heard. After 2005, the enrolment expansion was slowed considerably, while attention and resources were gradually shifted to addressing problems associated with quality and equity. This process was fueled by the famous question raised by influential scientist Qian Xuesen (or Hsue-Shen Tsien): why have Chinese universities failed to engender innovative minds?
Thus, with respect to higher education, the 2020 Blueprint, officially unveiled in July 2010, placed a focus on improving and assuring quality, aiming to nurture creativity among Chinese students and create a batch of ‘world-class’ universities.
The working conference on higher education quality explicitly announced a policy of stabilising enrolment in Chinese universities – with future increases targeted at vocational education programmes, professional graduate programmes and private institutions – while pressing for immediate actions to address higher education quality issues.
Just before the working conference, the Chinese government unveiled two other important policy documents signalling concrete efforts and more resources to be brought in for this endeavour. One is the Higher Education Strategic Plan promulgated by the Ministry of Education, as an implementation plan for the parts of the 2020 Blueprint relating to higher education, which ranks assuring higher education quality as the top priority.
The plan includes a number of large-scale projects organised around such tasks as university teacher and curricular development, gifted student creativity education, innovative professional programme development, graduate programme transformation, and the furtherance of Projects 985 and 211 that aim to create a batch of universities and disciplinary areas on Chinese soil that are globally competitive.
The other policy document, Opinions on Implementing the Programme of Upgrading Innovative Capacity of Higher Education Institutions, released jointly by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance, launched the Project 2011 – coded perhaps after Chinese leader Hu Jintao’s remark at Tsinghua University’s centennial ceremony in Spring 2011. These policies may serve, to a certain extent, to retain some Chinese students. Yet the policies and programmes are largely derived from a human capital vision, which sees higher education as the deliberate (and utilitarian in the sense of state instrumentalism) investment in exchange for global competitiveness (on the part of the state) and social status (on the part of individuals).
This vision envisages Chinese universities as the state’s educational and research arm for national development, and articulates knowledge production and transmission closely with a national development agenda.
With massification of the Chinese system, this articulation demonstrates a vertical differentiation. Now on a steep hierarchical structure, the top echelon universities are handsomely supported by the state, in exchange for their knowledge and student output to secure China’s continuing success in a knowledge-based economy, while a majority of low-tier institutions are left to survive by relying on market forces.
This approach, in turn, intensifies the tensions and competitions existing in contemporary Chinese society, where a kind of social Darwinism that stresses struggling for existence and the survival of the fittest has taken over and tends to dominate social life. University credentials are crucial to individuals in terms of gaining a competitive edge, and the perpetuating meritocratic tradition certainly has a big role in it. If one fails to get access to an upper-tier university, one may risk losing the competition at the starting point.
Naturally, when financial conditions permit, one would turn to the opportunity of studying abroad as an alternative strategy, believing an international degree would help raise one’s competitiveness….
…Brain drain remains an issue for China, despite its economic success. Since China opened its door to the world in 1978, close to 2.3 million Chinese students and scholars have studied abroad. At the end of 2011, more than 1.4 million remained abroad.
* Qiang Zha is an associate professor in the faculty of education at York University in Canada. Email: email@example.com. This is an edited version of Qiang Zha's article, “The Study-abroad Fever among Chinese Students”, published in the Fall 2012 edition of International Higher Education, Number 69
CHINESE UNIVERSITY SITUATION
...IS WELL-DESCRIBED BY Lan Xue, Dean of Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management in China and published in the Chronicle of Higher Education in August 2, 2012 as “China’s Challenges.”
“To be a Chinese academic at the moment is to appear privileged to the rest of the world. When I speak to counterparts at universities outside China, I hear of pressures to cut, squeeze, and do more with less. In contrast, Chinese higher-education’s recent history is one of growth, reflected in rising numbers of students, scientific output that has increased in both quality and quantity, and a greater number of overseas staff employed by our universities.
In the last few months the Chinese government has announced that we are on the verge of attaining a 30-year objective of spending 4 percent of GDP on education....”
CHINA AFFIRMATIVE ACTION RECRUITS STUDENTS FROM COUNTRYSIDE TO UNIVERSITY
According to Xinhua News via University World News, July 25, 2012, “According to this year's college admission plan, 12,100 vacancies are allocated for students from 680 poverty-stricken counties in 21 provincial areas. Residents in these counties had an annual per capita income of 2,676 yuan (418.37 U.S. dollars) last year, about half the national average. High school graduates from the impoverished counties are given preferential treatment, a move interpreted by many to counterbalance the country's regional discrepancy in education quality. More than 10,000 graduates from the counties will benefit from the policy this year.
Statistics from the Ministry of Education show that the national average admission rate in some leading universities last year was 8.5 percent, while the number in the 680 impoverished counties was 5.7 percent....
Statistics from the ministry showed that about 9.15 million people this year sat the college entrance exam to vie for 6.85 million vacancies in the country's universities and colleges, while the number of applicants from poverty-striken regions stood at 1.3 million. It is estimated that this year's admission rate is 75 percent, which is up nearly 3 percent year on year, and the number of exam takers is down 2 percent....
Rural education, which often lags behind that of the city, reduces the the chances of countryside students attending good universities. "I have never traveled out of my county since I was born, now, I have the opportunity to see what the outside world looks like," Zeng said, adding that she is planning to find a part-time job in the southern city of Guangzhou during the three-month summer vacation.
Wu Yongming, vice chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, said that those who have been enrolled by prestigious universities through the program should be encouraged to go back to their birthplaces to find employment or start a business after graduation, which could bridge the country's east-west gap.”
[I give this same pitch many times when I speak at normal universities. At Yunnan Normal University, in a crowd of 200+ biology student teachers, only six had taken the governmental fellowship that required they return to the countryside to teach for ten years. When I asked the 50+ others who came from the countryside what they would do if there was not a teaching job for them in Kunming, they said they would take any other job in the city rather than return to the countryside where pay and living conditions were poor, and that their parents agreed with this. I was obviously more “into” sacrifice and idealism than the new generation of China’s students are. -JRS]
INTERNET PROVIDES INFLUENCE BUT NOT REVOLUTION
The July 22, 2012 Chronicle of Higher Education ran the article: “Students in China Find a Voice Through Social Media” by Lara Farrar out of Shanghai: “Wang Yuemin and her roommates were tired of being hot. For too long they had endured Shanghai's sweltering summer heat with nothing but ceiling fans in their dormitories at Fudan University, one of China's top institutions, and finally decided that they could endure no more.
So, last year, they decided to protest on the Internet, specifically on Renren.com, a Chinese social-networking site similar to Facebook, and used almost exclusively by college students. They were not alone. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Fudan students took part, posting complaints, poems, songs, and letters to university officials calling for air-conditioners. The campaign grew so big that the local media began to cover their cause. During graduation last summer, the university's president apologized for the students' discomfort. A few weeks ago, air-conditioners were installed....”
This may give the impression that the Internet will bring Western-style democracy (with all its social turbulence and financial costs) to China. This will not, and should not occur. I will recommend two books to Western readers: an overly optimistic “The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online” by Guobin Yang in 2009 and the superior “Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China” by Zhou Yong Ming in 2006. While I will not provide book reviews here, I will simply indicate that China is not politically monolithic. I personally do not get into politics while working with my comrades at normal universities, although as you can detect from my comments in the preceding note on modern students having less idealism, and sacrifice, that I am more to-the-left than many of them are. China does have just over a dozen non-Communist parties at the local level, none of which have large memberships or succeed in electing officials above local election level. (Amazingly, one of these parties is the Kuomintang.) However, much discussion does go on within the Chinese Communist Party, at provincial and national levels, including the standing Committee of the Peoples National Congress, and contrary to Western Press “reporting,” there is disagreement and dissent both behind-the-scenes and in meeting debates. It is possible to generalize two opposed political persuasions: the New Left and the Liberals. This may seem like a redundancy in U.S. politics since “left” and “liberal” are considered synonyms. But in China, these are the ends of a political spectrum.
One major distinction involves attitudes toward benefits of the Internet. Liberals believe that, in a process similar to the Fudan University situation described above, the Internet will eventually lead to an “opening up” and Westernization of China’s political system with a possible movement toward multi-party elections at a national level. The New Left is also for change, but is skeptical of any positive effects of a wide-open Internet. The New Left can point to the many abuses of human dignity that the West ignores or tolerates under our absolutist “freedom of speech.” The New Left includes more political figures from the lineage from the Long March, and the Western press only sees this “princeling” factor, ignoring the complexities we have not discussed here.
Finally, to clarify, “renren” is a Facebook-like system mentioned above. “QQ” is a messaging system with subgroups, heavily used by Chinese students in the U.S. These both provide rapid and convenient communication in the Chinese communities.
INDIA UNIVERSITIES TRAIL CHINESE IN RESEARCH from Deccan Herald April 2012
“Chinese higher education institutions are three times ahead of their Indian counterparts in research performance, a new comparative study has shown, exposing the deep chasm between the centres of higher learning in two Asian giants, reports the Deccan Herald. The top 20 Indian institutes producing doctoral students are way behind Chinese universities and institutes producing PhDs, according to an analysis by India’s CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources.
The comparison is made on the basis of three quality parameters and quantity of research output. Peking University, which tops the list from the Chinese side, is almost three times ahead of India’s best performing institute – the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.
“As China is three times ahead of us, we will have to spend three times more in higher education to catch up,” Gangan Prathap, NISCAIR director who did the analysis, told Deccan Herald. The study has been published in the 25 March issue of the journal Current Science.”
40% OF COLLEGE GRADUATES WILL BE FROM CHINA AND INDIA BY 2020—OECD
According to a UWN summary in July 12, 2012, “...four out of every 10 university graduates will come from just two countries – China and India – by 2020, based on a new report from the OECD. China alone will account for 29% of graduates aged 25-34, with the United States and Europe stagnating at just over a quarter. The report says that if current trends continue, the number of 25- to 34-year-olds from Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa with a higher education degree will be almost 40% higher than the number from all OECD countries in 2020....”
CHINESE STUDENT COLLEGE APPLICATIONS GROW
According to Karin Fischer reporting in the Chronicle of Higher Education, April 3, a report from the Council of Graduate Schools shows that for “…the seventh consecutive year, Chinese applications experienced double-digit growth. Applications from prospective Chinese students accounted for nearly half of all international applicants to graduate programs. Over all, foreign graduate-student applications for fall 2012 increased 9 percent. That follows an 11-percent gain in applications in fall 2011 and matches the 9-percent growth in 2010. China, which saw an 18-percent uptick in applications. The growth in applications from China outpaced that of all other countries. Forty-seven percent of all applications for fall 2012 graduate spots are from China…. Chinese students are overrepresented in application figures, as compared with their share of actual enrollments. Just 29 percent of first-time graduate students last fall were of Chinese origin…. The discrepancy could be because individual Chinese students are applying to multiple American programs or because they are opting to study in other countries or at home.”
CHINA VERSUS INDIA: DIFFERENT HIGHER EDUCATION MODELS, DIFFERENT SUCCESS by Ranjit Goswami, excerpted from July 29 UWN excerpted fro Economic Growth and Higher Education in India and China, first published by the East Asia Forum.
“In the early 1980s, India had quantitatively and qualitatively more infrastructure than China. Until the last decade, India’s higher education outperformed its Chinese counterpart–both quantitatively and qualitatively–and China retained its long-term lead in primary education. But the situation is altogether different today, as China now dominates in ‘soft infrastructure’ areas too, which include higher education.
Higher education development in India and China closely parallels their economic growth over the past couple of decades. Higher education in India struggles with moderate reactive growth, whereas China achieves higher growth and is proactive in its goals; in no small measure, this derives from the fact that the Chinese system is more directly focused on quality than India’s.
China is a unique case in higher education development. In 2010 China achieved a gross enrolment ratio of 30% in higher education, up from an abysmally low 3% to 4% in 1990. India barely improved its enrolment ratio in the same 20-year period, moving from less than 10% to 15% enrolment. But these figures are somewhat misleading because they do not clearly show the effects of India’s population, which is younger than China’s. Fifty percent of India’s population is under 25 years of age and thus has not yet entered the tertiary sector. This is reflected in UNESCO figures for 2010, which show primary level enrolment in India and China at 160 million and 100 million respectively, and tertiary level enrolment in India and China at 15 million and 30 million respectively.
These projections do match with current figures, barring primary enrolment in India, which is a little less. Effectively, India has nearly 60% higher enrolment at primary school level than China, whereas at tertiary level India has almost half the number of enrolments that China has. The implications of a low gross enrolment ratio at tertiary level for a nation as young as India can be significant. The possibility of stalled economic growth is particularly worrying. The gross enrolment ratio for higher education in India is the lowest among BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, and significantly lower than the world average.
The Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-17) of the statutory body responsible for governing higher education in India opens with the comment: “Higher education in India is passing through a phase of unprecedented expansion, marked by an explosion in the volume of students, a substantial expansion in the number of institutions and a quantum jump in the level of public funding.” There is no mention of quality of education here, nor of the fact that this expansion is far outstripped by concurrent expansions in the Chinese higher education sector. This is odd, considering that China is increasingly seen both as a key economic rival, and at best as a benchmark, for India.
Quantity versus quality? Should India sacrifice the quality of its higher education to increase its quantity? Judging from the 2006 report of the National Knowledge Commission, it appears that higher education is being geared towards producing a large number of graduates rather than high-quality graduates. This report suggested that accountability indicators designed to ensure quantity were inhibiting the quality of graduates, particularly in relation to their creative and entrepreneurial skills.
The report stated that “the existing framework, rather than fostering accountability, constrains the supply of good quality institutions whilst excessively regulating the existing institutions in the wrong places and is not conducive to innovation or creativity".
These findings are backed up by another report, which describes the Indian higher education sector as: “over-regulated and under-governed”. At the same time, quantity expansion has been grossly inadequate, making the challenges daunting on the dual fronts of quantity and quality. Quality was compromised in China’s massive expansion of higher education as well. But today there are many more Chinese than Indian universities among the world’s top 200. Chinese secondary school students are exemplary performers in PISA tests, while India fares poorly, coming second to last among 73 participating nations.
The Indian state is absent. The salient reason for the discrepancy between Chinese and Indian educational performance is the absence of the state from higher education in India. During 2005-06, around 52% of Indian students accessed higher education in private colleges, compared to less than 10% in China. In China, the government spends more than 1.5% of its gross domestic product on higher education while India spends less than 0.5%.
China has grown its higher education sector primarily with the help of universities, which number more than 2,300. India has around 600 universities, but they have more than 33,000 affiliated colleges. This is the largest number of affiliated colleges in the world, and is 10 times more than that of China. The majority of these universities and colleges in India are private and do not receive financial support from the Indian government.
The trend is even more disturbing. In 2000-01, enrolment in private, unaided higher education institutions was barely 33%, which became 52% in 2005-06. The share of private, unaided institutions among all higher education institutions in India was 33% in 2000-01; in 2005-06 it had increased to 63%, and according to a recent report, it now stands at 80%.
These numbers show that quantity expansion in India has been achieved by self-financing colleges alone. It effectively means that almost all government support for higher education is for the 20% of students studying in government colleges.
It is not necessarily the case that these 20% of students studying higher education in state-aided colleges come from poorer backgrounds, or are more worthy of support than the other 80% pursuing higher education in self-financed colleges.
Where China emphasised government-controlled reform and liberalisation, India opted for liberalisation with less government oversight. China continues to see unprecedented expansion in economic capacity at a time when inadequate capacity remains a major economic bottleneck for India. Many scholars and commentators continue to draw comparisons between India and China. But it is increasingly clear that reforms in China and India are drastically different in character and impact. The higher education performance in the countries speaks just as loudly as the overall economic picture.”
* Ranjit Goswami is professor and director of the school of management at RK University. This is an edited version of the article, “Economic Growth and Higher Education in India and China”, first published by the East Asia Forum.
GAOKAO CONTINUES ON; NECESSARY FOR EQUITY, A DRAG ON CREATIVE SCIENCE TEACHING IN CHINA, VIETNAM, KOREA
In 2010, 10 million Chinese HS graduates took the gaokao and the top 6 million were admitted to universities.
In 2011, 9.5 million+ took the gaokao. This June I was in China the second week of June when 9.15 million took their all-important college-entrance exam. China's student population is shrinking due to population polices but overall population remains stable due to longer life expectancy, and university capacity sets the cut-off score.
In China, the low scorers do not go to college. And HS teachers are not blamed for students’ low scores.
The July 1 issue of University World News summarizes the state of such high-stakes leaving exams in Asia:
“For millions of young people in China it has been a make-or-break month. Results of the national college entrance exam, the gaokao, are now being released and the scramble for the best university places has begun – and in many cases, for any place at all. But while the annual hysteria over the gaokao, which took place over three days in early June, is beginning to wind down, the debate over reforms of the high-stakes exam continues.
Several countries in Asia have a similar admissions system that depends on a national selection exam.
University entrance examinations in Japan and Taiwan take place over two days, while South Korea allows only one day for six subjects, a system thought to increase the pressure on students. Vietnam’s university entrance exam takes place countrywide on 7 July.
Countries like South Korea have in recent years introduced reforms to the highly stressful college entrance system. Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training said earlier this year it plans to change the one-size-fits-all exams from 2020, hoping to align them more closely to intended subject majors. With university entrance based on total marks, Vietnam has seen a severe mismatch between students and potential careers.
Some changes have already been introduced in Vietnam in time for this year’s exam. For example, students who have obtained first, second and third prizes in national exams can be recruited directly by universities without sitting the entrance exams. And medical and pharmacology universities are now allowed to admit ethnic minority students and those with official residency permits for 62 disadvantaged districts without the entrance exam, which the health ministry’s science and training department described as an “important development” in this year’s admissions process.
But the 600,000 students taking the Vietnamese exam pale beside China’s 9.15 million school students who sat the gaokao last month. Around three-quarters will qualify for a university place. There has been criticism that those who score well and go to top universities are doing so partly because they are the best rote learners rather than the innovative thinkers the country needs.
From 2000 onwards, China’s authorities tried to counter some of the criticisms, introducing an essay to gauge creativity and imagination, and more problem-solving and logical thinking. But centralised university entrance examinations in Asia have also been criticised for determining young people’s future through one test. The Chinese government has said it will make further changes to the system.
In a recent 10-year education reform and development plan, education ministry officials acknowledged the unfairness of “a single examination that defines a student's destiny”. And in November the ministry promised “multiple measures” to spot talented young people.
The ministry wants to encourage top universities to use an independent exam to test students hoping to enter universities in 2012. “Encouraging universities to select students based on independent criteria is an important supplement to the country's system of college entrance exams,” said a ministry notice in November.
“It's unhelpful to talk of the complete abolition of the gaokao system, but there needs to be a re-evaluation of its importance,” said Xiong Bingqi, vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Centre in Beijing. Xiong suggested: “The responsibility for admissions [should be] shifted to universities themselves and [there should be a] focus on building up their independent recruitment abilities. The idea that students can only choose one university instead of receiving offers from different universities is not right.”
China is not alone in questioning the value of its higher education entrance tests. In 2008 South Korea bit the bullet and revamped its entrance system, based at that time entirely on the College Scholastic Ability Test or Su Neung. Under the reform, universities got admissions officers to evaluate applications based on potential. Criteria include recommendations from schools and consideration of extra-curricular activities in addition to test scores. The South Korean government was particularly concerned about the hours of after-school cramming over many years and the quality of private cram schools that prepared students for the eight-hour test marathon, normally held in November. The new admissions system was adopted by just 10 Korean universities in 2008. Now 120 universities use it, with the help of increased government subsidies for introducing the system. The latest government statistics show that just over one in 10 students are now selected outside the national test system.
According to universities, selecting students who are more interested in, and display more specific aptitude for, the field they are applying in, rather than relying on the highest overall test scores, has meant students perform better during subsequent years at university compared to those with high scores. There have also been reduced drop-out rates in particular subjects. But the university-administered admissions system comes with a price tag. The government subsidy for university-led admissions was 15.7 billion won (US$13.6 million) in 2008, and more than double that last year. It is expected to reach almost 40 billion won this year.
The cost for China, with a much larger university system, would be huge, although no official estimates have been released publicly. “These kind of services in China will require tremendous amounts of funding,” said Heidi Ross, professor of education policy studies and director of the East Asian Study Centre at Indiana University in the United States. “It will require development and resources at all the institutions in China. Institutions will have to have admissions officers, data and research. Admissions officers are expensive and it carries financial risks when admissions officers don’t get the classifications right.” And, says Yimin Wang, a doctoral student at Indiana University who has studied reform of the gaokao, there are huge differences between mostly urban South Korea and China, which would need to ensure fair admissions from rural areas.
Former high-school teacher Li Guangxue, writing in Shanghai Education News, argued that given China's large population, the gaokao is the most just and efficient way of assessing students in the country. It would be almost impossible for Chinese admission officers to read the personal statements, recommendation letters and additional information of 10 million applicants within a limited amount of time, Li said.
And the government’s idea of special admissions offers for students with exceptional talents in certain fields that permit lower gaokao scores would pose a problem, Li argued. “Most of these opportunities are given to well-known high schools in the city. The poor rural population, which is the most desperate, does not receive such benefits.”
Corruption might be another problem if universities were to be given more autonomy to select students. “Since no standard test or requirement is in place for testing a student, there might be more room for students to bribe admissions officers,” Li added. Many critics say the time and money required to travel to university interviews would also discriminate against poorer students. The ministry has begun to allow some universities the right of ‘autonomous recruitment’ using exams designed by the university itself, sometimes supplemented by an academic interview with an admissions committee. But with so few universities granted this autonomy, it hardly amounts to a change in the system. The few exceptions are touted in official media – Peking University used the system introduced in 2009 of using a high-school head’s recommendation as a basis for an onsite interview, while accepting a lower gaokao score. But it used this system to admit just 3% of its students. “Shanghai has held spring university entrance exams in addition to the gaokao for years, but few students opt for this method,” Li pointed out.
The South University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, in the news for having more autonomy than other public universities, has selected students using its own tests – but these are in addition to the gaokao, which will still account for 60% of overall marks, while the university’s test and school performance will account for 40%. “It is not a huge reform in the way the students are evaluated,” noted Heidi Ross. “Allocating 40% [outside the gaokao] is a long way off from 100%.” An additional concern is that students will have to take more than one highly stressful exam, or even that learning for university tests interferes with gaokao preparation.
Top universities have formed admissions alliances, where one exam can be taken to try for admission to any one of a group of universities. Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology of China, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Xi'an Jiaotong University and Nanjing University formed China's first alliance, named the Hua League, in 2010. A similar alliance was formed later the same year and includes the universities of Peking, Beijing Beihang, Beijing Normal, Nankai, Fudan, Xiamen and Hong Kong.
“China needs to manage to have an equitable system and a quality system. There won’t be one without the other,” said Ross. “It is usually elite institutions that set the stage for reform, but the vast majority of students are not going to those institutions." She believes that with demographic decline in China “the tier three and four universities are the ones that need to find their niche and seek out students. That’s where the impetus for reform will come from.”
But real root-and-branch reform of the system is still a long way off. “No one knows how to get rid the exam because it is a last bastion of meritocracy,” she told University World News. “The gaokao has tremendous staying power.”