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Decentralisation and the development of vocational education in China.

Facing the increasing challenges that have arisen from greater global competition, China has undergone a series of educational reforms aimed at increasing its competitiveness on the international stage. (1) Since 1985, the Chinese Government has emphasised the importance of delegating authority over basic education to the local governments. "Responsibility of the local government and management by different ranks of local government" became the major tenet of educational reform. Under the policy of decentralisation in basic education, the roles and relationships of the central and local governments were strongly affected. Looking at the situation at the school level, what authority and autonomy over school administration, finances, curriculum and personnel have local governments gained? Did the major stakeholders, such as principals and teachers, gain more opportunities to participate in policymaking? Have they gained greater authority and responsibility, as the advocates of decentralisation policy expected?

This paper represents an attempt to investigate the roles of both the central and local governments under the decentralisation policy, as well as the autonomy of schools in China. Through examining how decentralisation policy was implemented, our intention is to understand the nature of decentralisation in China, as well as to provide some suggestions for related policies on educational reform.

Decentralisation in Education

Decentralisation refers to the delegation of authority and responsibility from high rank institutions to lower rank institutions. (2) Academic discourse distinguishes three levels of decentralisation: deconcentration, delegation and devolution. Deconcentration refers to the central government's delegating responsibility but not authority to local institutions. In contrast, delegation refers to the central government's granting considerable policy-making rights to local institutions, while maintaining the power to withdraw these rights at any time. Devolution refers to the issuance of full authority to local institutions, rendering them highly autonomous and without the need to ask for higher-level approval at any time. Furthermore, under devolution, the central government does not have the right to re-assume the authority which was delegated to local institutions. (3)

Advocates of decentralisation argue that it helps to mobilise local resources, offers more opportunities for local stakeholders to participate and improves the overall efficiency of the school. They also argue that implementing a policy of decentralisation allows schools to better respond to local needs and generally improves the quality of education. (4)

Over the past few decades, decentralisation has become the main focus of educational reform in many countries. Government officials in several countries have hoped that decentralisation policy would allow for more autonomy for schools, thus encouraging new ideas for the reform of teaching and learning. Their overall hope was that the policy would foster the talents needed to face the challenge of globalisation and the new knowledge economy. (5) Reform was also expected to generate innovative ideas in teaching and learning that would meet specific local needs. It was hoped that new education reforms would have the dual effect of raising both the general performance level of students and the national level of competitiveness.

In the Chinese context, a review of the discussion on decentralisation shows a focus on the changing role of the central and local governments. While Mok's research reveals a retreat on the part of the state during the 1990s, (6) Lin and Robinson have put forth a different view, believing that the central government still uses direct or indirect ways to macro-monitor the local governments under decentralisation. (7) Yip contends that the only time the local governments possessed autonomy was during the process of implementing state policies. (8) Mok argues that the state's role as a regulator was actually strengthened rather than weakened under the policy of decentralisation. (9)

Besides providing more autonomy for schools, decentralisation is also considered by its advocates in China to be a way to increase local community participation. Cheng argues that a partnership developed between the state and community stakeholders after the implementation of decentralisation policies in the mid-1980s. (10) However, Wong's research, conducted in Shenzhen, found that even though employees and teachers had opportunities to participate in the running of vocational schools, the administration was still controlled by the senior school administrators. (11)

There is clearly still an ongoing debate about the effects of the implementation of decentralisation in China. Through investigation of the execution of decentralisation policy in Shanghai and Shenzhen, this article aims to shed light on the characteristics of decentralisation as carried out in these two cities.


A qualitative research approach for investigating stakeholders' views of their own roles in the development of vocational education is used here. Semi- structured and informal interviews were conducted from 1997-2001. Two vocational secondary schools and two higher vocational institutes in Shanghai and Shenzhen were selected as the investigation sites. A total of 37 teachers, four principals and vice-principals and two governmental officials in a local education bureau were interviewed. A tape recorder was used to record the interviews and verbatim transcripts of the conversations were made regularly.

Shanghai and Shenzhen are considered the most affluent cities in China. Due to the country's fast paced development, both have faced great economic and societal change in recent years. These changes have led to calls for greater educational innovation and reform.

For its part, Shanghai has typically been perceived as the showcase city of China, a site for the introduction of the latest innovative ideas in education. The Shanghai Education Bureau has devoted great effort and resources to promoting innovation in its education system, with the goal of raising the proficiency of the labour force and raising its competitiveness in the global market.

Shenzhen is also considered a rapidly changing city, one which has undergone the third wave of technological change following the development of the information technology industry. In recent years, a large number of national and international advanced technology enterprises have developed in the area. To match these developments, the city has found itself in need of individuals with adequate skills to deal with such rapid growth. In order to raise its economic competitiveness, the Shenzhen Education Bureau has spent tremendous resources on improving the quality of education.

Unlike other localities in China, these two well-off cities were able to obtain sufficient resources from the city-level governments to support their innovative attempts at improving education. As these two cities undergo rapidly changing conditions, their educational systems should be equally adaptive to changing local needs. Thus, it was for these reasons that these two cities were selected due to their importance in China and their focus on education innovation.

The authors found that vocational secondary schools seemed to have more autonomy compared to general secondary schools. This was especially the case in terms of course offerings and curriculum development. With this greater control, the vocational secondary schools are able to offer vocational programmes which are better suited to the changing needs of the local market. Thus, it is for these reasons that vocational secondary schools were selected as the investigation sites.

The two major questions posed were: (1) "What are the roles of the central and local government?", and (2) "What autonomy did the school and stakeholders receive during the implementation of decentralisation policy?"

Decentralisation of Education in China

Through analysing China's major policy papers on education, it was found that the major direction of education development came from the central government. Second, the major purpose of decentralisation was to place the financial burden of education onto local governments. Third, through developing a supervision system, the central government was able to monitor the local governments, consistently checking to see that its policy directives were implemented efficiently.

Analysis of the policy papers showed that the major principles of educational development were to be directed by the central government. The 1985 "Decision on the Reform of the Education System" delineated the main direction of education reform in post-Cultural Revolution China. It emphasised "an insistence on simplifying the administration and decentralising authority to local governments". (12) "Emphasising the responsibility of local governments and administration by different ranks of government" thus became the main principle of decentralisation policy in basic education. The major national policies quite explicitly spell out the relationship between the central and local governments. One early policy paper stated clearly and simply that "the major policy directions are to be decided by the state". For their part, local governments were held responsible for implementing government policies, but did not gain much autonomy. They instead had to follow the major principles prescribed in the policies, with their progress being monitored by the central government. However, in an effort to simplify administration, the "Decision" also stated: (13)
 The administrative aspects of basic education are to be the
 responsibility of the local governments. With the exception
 of the major principles and monitoring from a distance with
 macro perspectives, which shall be controlled by the central
 government, the decision making and implementation of
 operational procedures and planning, as well as the leading,
 administration and supervision of schools, should be entirely
 delegated to the local governments.

Concurrently, the national policy also emphasises that, "The different ranks of local government should follow the 'Laws of Basic Education in the PRC' and its operational details." (14) The common theme throughout the policy papers is the emphasis on local governments' key responsibility in implementing the state-formulated policies.

The second finding that can be drawn from an analysis of policy papers is that the financial responsibility for education was to be placed on local governments. "Besides the central government's expenditure on education, local governments should allot a certain portion of their budget to education." (15) According to research conducted by the Development Research Centre of the CCP, 78 per cent of the expenditure for basic education was shouldered by rural town governments, 9 per cent by county governments and 11 per cent by city/provincial governments. Only a small remaining proportion was the responsibility of the central government. (16) These statistics are a reflection of the national policy of delegating educational expenditure responsibility to the localities.

Third, the policy papers consistently emphasise the importance of developing various checks to supervise local governments in order to ensure that national policy is being correctly implemented at the local level. A reform paper published in 1999 stated the importance of "developing assessment systems to ensure quality education from the top down, supervising the province, city, county and village government ... when implementing quality education". (17) Two years later, the 2001 "Decision on Reform and Development in Basic Education" clearly indicated that the role of such a supervision system was to "supervise both the successful implementation of national policies and the quality of schools ... the major role of supervisory work in basic education is to ensure the local government has fulfilled its responsibilities". (18) It is clear that supervising "policy implementation" and "the quality of schools" were the two major areas of focus for the supervision system. A new policy paper issued in 2004 restated the importance of having the supervisory system in place in basic education, emphasising that the report produced by the supervisory unit of the Ministry of Education would be the major reference tool when later assessing the performance of local governments. (19)

Looking at the major national policies in education, it is clear that the central government often stressed its directive role in educational development. Besides shifting financial responsibilities to local governments the central government also regularly kept a close eye on the performance of local governments during its implementation of the national directives.

Autonomy of the Schools Under the Policy of Decentralisation

What kind of autonomy did schools receive under the decentralisation policy and supervision system? There are five points to make regarding schools' levels of autonomy. First, local governments ran schools in a centralised way and closely monitored school quality in order to fulfil supervisory requirements from the central government. Second, local governments and schools were mainly responsible for educational expenses, particularly for the extra subsidies given on top of teachers' salaries. Third, by following the state's teacher quota system, local governments could administer school personnel in a centralised way. Fourth, teachers seldom had authority over deciding course offerings and textbook selection. Fifth, principals and teachers, as the major local stakeholders in education, had restricted autonomy, as they could follow and implement only those directives issued from the central government. These five points are considered in further detail below.

Looking first at school administration, it is clear that local governments were delegated some administrative authority. Given this authority, they tended to run the schools in a centralised way, closely supervising and directing their development. The school "integration" project in Shenzhen, in which the government attempted to merge two or more schools into one, serves as one example of centralised administration. The merging of schools, which was undertaken in an effort to use resources more efficiently, was another major measure initiated by the central government. One informant, a former principal in a vocational school in Shenzhen, explained that the local government arranged for an adult secondary school and her vocational school to merge. Before the integration, there was no consultation with the local Education Bureau. As the adult school was not able to draw academically strong students, it had a very low status. Integration would thus be a great burden for the higher status vocational school. However, the principal could only accept the arrangement without objection. (20)

In order to help local governments supervise school quality more closely, the national policies also often emphasise the importance of "developing quality assurance indicators and an assessment system ... enhancing the assessment of, and instruction on educational quality in primary and secondary schools ...." (21) Based on the instructions listed in the national policies, local governments have been expected to develop an assessment system to evaluate the quality of each school.

The Shanghai-published paper, "A Guideline for Developing Supervisory Assessment for Primary and Secondary Schools in Shanghai", examined the condition and quality of education in local schools. Government officials developed quantitative indicators to measure the quality of education. These indicators were then used to guide each school's developmental direction. (22) For example, for an elementary school to meet standards, the graduation rate had to reach 90 per cent or above, and the delinquency rate of students could not exceed 3/10,000. (23)

A similarly themed paper published in Shenzhen, "Policy on Assessing Educational Efficiency of Primary and Secondary Schools", stated that the Bureau of Education in Shenzhen should assess the quality of each school annually, and that these results would then be used as the criteria for classifying which schools were the most advanced in the city. At the city level, these results would also be used for selecting the best principal and would affect his/her promotion and career.

The amount of annual funding given to each school by the local government would also be determined by these results. According to the assessment results, the Bureau of Education in Shenzhen would present an award to the highest performing school. The best secondary school would be given an award worth RMB 800,000 while the best primary school would receive an award of RMB 500,000 and the best kindergarten an award of RMB 200,000. If any school was evaluated as the worst school for three consecutive years, the policy stated that the local government should force the principal to resign or transfer him/her to another position. If any school received the best or most efficient school award, it would receive an additional two per cent of quota for recruiting middle and upper rank teachers. The two schools which received the lowest scores would have their quota for recruiting middle and upper rank teachers reduced by three per cent. (24)

By developing assessment mechanisms and setting standards which were so closely tied to the amount of local government funding given to schools, local governments could more tightly and thoroughly evaluate the quality of the schools. Through quantitative indicators, local governments could monitor and control their schools' direction of development.

Second, from the financial perspective, some autonomy for the schools was gained with respect to teacher salaries. Under decentralisation, school expenses were made the responsibility of the local government in Shanghai and Shenzhen. In order to maintain teachers' standards of living, teachers were eligible to receive subsidies from the school in addition to their basic state-regulated salaries, also paid by the school. Usually, schools needed to run a school business to generate the extra money for teachers' subsidies. As the schools shared responsibility for educational expenditures with the local government, the central government offered a certain amount of autonomy for the schools to decide upon the policy for subsidising teachers' salaries. The 1993 paper, "Guidelines on Educational Reform and Development in China" stated:
 As a change to the standardised salary system under the macro
 control of the central government, the local government,
 institution and school will have the autonomy to decide upon
 teacher subsidies. While the central government shall decide
 the basic principles and standards for the salary system in the
 educational field, the government of the province, city or
 self-administrative area should decide on the actual incomes.
 This includes the standard basic salary and teacher subsidies,
 which should not be less than the national standard. Schools can
 have autonomy to decide their own teachers' salaries, their raises
 and the distribution of school resources. (25)

The policy offered autonomy for schools to decide on the actual incomes of teachers, which helped to ensure that teachers would have adequate incomes and thus stay at the school.

Third, with respect to school autonomy over appointing personnel, the authority to appoint the position of principal remained in the hands of local governments. "The principals of the upper secondary schools shall be initially considered, investigated, and employed all according to the official regulations set by the government above the county level. The principals of the ordinary primary and secondary schools shall be appointed by the county government." (26)

The schools were also required to follow a quota, determined by the central and local governments, for the employment of teachers. The process was illustrated in policy reports: "The teacher quota committee of the central government has decided on a scientific and reasonable quota standard for staff in primary and secondary schools. The provincial government should follow these regulations and standards, also taking into account their local conditions, to help the implementation process." (27) "The employment of teachers in primary and secondary schools should be a process of open recruitment, followed by the submission of the information to the government above county level for its approval." (28) Overall, the policy requires that the process of teacher employment follow the central government-initiated teacher employment system and its guidelines.

At the time when the authors conducted the fieldwork in the two cities, Shanghai followed the state policy of allowing schools to have open recruitment, while Shenzhen employed a more centralised approach in the recruitment of vocational school teachers. The educational administrative institute at the city level was in charge of teacher recruitment in Shenzhen. Following recruitment, they were also in charge of distributing the teachers to various schools. Evidently, the authority over appointing personnel was retained by the Shenzhen Education Bureau. The only authority over personnel that the principal had was over the adjustment of the ratio of long term, contract and temporary teachers.

Fourth, in regard to school autonomy over curriculum, the vocational secondary schools initially expected to receive more autonomy over the offering of specialised subjects. Unlike general education, vocational schools did not have a national textbook and thus expected more freedom over deciding their subject matter. The schools also expected to gain greater control over the curriculum because they could match it to the specific economic needs of the locality. The vocational schools were allowed to decide which courses to offer based on the needs of the local labour market. However, the courses they offered first had to be authorised by the Education Bureau of the local government. In Shenzhen, a "Committee on Specialisation in Vocational Education" was established. This Committee had to approve all courses before they were offered by the vocational secondary schools, basing their decisions on the needs of the local market at that time. The major role of the Committee was to avoid course replication among the different vocational secondary schools.

As there was no standardised curriculum in place for several vocational subjects, the vocational schools seemed to have a large degree of autonomy for selecting textbooks and developing curriculum. However, a teacher in the secondary school felt that the reason for their autonomy over textbook selection and development of curriculum was that: "[the government officials] don't know much about vocational education. It is still a new area for them".

This statement reflects the belief that teacher autonomy was due not to the Government's lack of intention to control the curriculum in vocational education, but rather its lack of sufficient expertise in this area. In addition, even though the vocational schools received greater autonomy over the selection of textbooks, the decision-making power within the school was mainly retained by the principal or head of the specialisation. The selection of textbooks was seldom discussed with the teachers. However, once assigned the curriculum, the teachers had some control over developing the specific schedule and course details.

Fifth, the principals and teachers, as the major stakeholders in local education, had limited autonomy. Their roles most often consisted of following state directives. National policy stated clearly that "the schools at the secondary level or below should operate under a 'principal accountability system'. The principal should fully follow and implement the educational principles and policies of the state." (29) "Teachers and students should gather together to support the principal and his/her work, to ensure and examine the full implementation of the major principles and plans as outlined by the Party and the state." (30) According to the principal interviewed in Shanghai, the major role of the principal was to implement the national policies. A governmental official in Shanghai stated:
 In general, when the city issued new policies, the local
 government would then deliver the documents to the district
 bureau and schools. Sometimes they would ask the school
 principals to come for meetings. In general, the principals did
 not have a voice. At the meetings, we explained the major points
 and their duties, which the principals had to carry out.

In addition to implementing policy, the principal was also required to find ways to generate external financial resources for maintaining school operations, especially funds for teacher subsidisation. The most important task for him/her, besides maintaining academic standards, was to find ways for generating such external funding, which would raise teachers' incomes and keep outstanding teachers in the schools.

As for the roles of the teachers, the national policy stated that "a school in good condition should establish a school committee, which should be chaired by the principal. It should also establish a Staff Representatives Assembly to enhance democratic management and supervision." (31) However, according to observations from our study, the administrative authority was controlled mainly by the principal. A teacher from a vocational secondary school in Shanghai stated: "The whole school administration is dealt with by the principal and the senior teachers. They make the decisions together."

Conversations with school teachers revealed that the function of the Staff Representatives Assembly was merely to present and legitimise the decisions of the senior staff members. Teachers seldom expressed their opinions in the Staff Representatives Assembly. Most often, they would voice their opinions through informal ways, for example, by talking to the Vice Principal or heads of functional groups when they met in the school corridor.

Through examination of school operations, the authors discovered that the main role of the teachers was to implement the teaching and learning tasks, as assigned by the principal and head teachers. For example, at the vocational secondary school in Shanghai, language classes were required to follow a standardised curriculum. One of the language teachers noted:
 The textbook we used was the national edition ... we had standardised
 textbook requirements. Based on this, we edited our own teaching
 schedule and the titles we were going to use each term, according to
 the standard requirements and national textbooks.

Overall, teachers did not have any autonomy in choosing a textbook. They could only exercise limited autonomy while actually teaching the class.

Unfortunately, the approach used for teaching and learning in schools--the one area where teachers could exercise limited autonomy--has been affected by some of the main points emphasised in policy papers. National policy stated that teachers in vocational schools should focus on the fostering of "practical skills". This was the key point in the state's discourse on the development of vocational education. (32) The process of developing "practical skills" was closely supervised and monitored by local government officials. Under supervision, the main task of teachers was to receive state information and implement it. Accordingly, their professional autonomy was highly constrained.


In reviewing China's major reform policies, it is obvious that under the decentralisation policy in education, local governments and schools were still directed by the central government. It is true that certain responsibilities and authorities were delegated to local governments. They took on shared responsibility for financial expenses and implementing national policies, roles strongly emphasised in the policy papers. However, local governments and schools were also consistently supervised. This constrained their autonomy. The performance levels of local governments in implementing education policy were chiefly evaluated through the supervision system put in place by the central government. Various strategies to monitor the work of local governments were employed, so as to ensure that instructions given by the central government had been implemented. In the end, local governments were able to enjoy only a limited level of autonomy during the implementation of national policies.

At the school level, as soon as the authority was delegated to the local government, education was governed in a centralised way within the locality. This further constrained schools' autonomy. As for the major stakeholders in the schools, the local government held the principal responsible for closely following the central government's directions. The school had only limited autonomy in the areas of personnel administration and curriculum design. Due to the fact that a democratic participation system was under-developed, teachers had little involvement in the schools' administrative decision making. They were allotted more autonomy over how they taught their class, but the approach used for teaching and learning had to follow the points set out in the national policy. Therefore, teachers could implement only state-determined approaches and guidelines, even during the teaching process.

This study indicates that the major role of decentralisation policy was to delegate financial responsibility to the localities. Local governments were delegated partial authority as encouragement to implement the national policies efficiently. They were also granted greater authority to more closely examine the performances of the schools, so as to keep a watchful eye.

With reference to the academic discussion pertaining to the continuum of the three levels of decentralisation (deconcentration, delegation and devolution), decentralisation in the development of vocational education in Shanghai and Shenzhen was situated somewhere between deconcentration and delegation. The autonomy of local governments and schools was highly constrained. The roles of the principals and teachers were passive.

Educational reform was introduced by the central government as part of an effort to make China a stronger international competitor. However, according to Lo's findings, without the participation and consensus of teachers, educational reform cannot be successful. (33) The tenets of educational reform should be agreed upon and supported by the individuals working in the educational field. New ways of teaching and learning should be developed to foster the talents required to raise China's international competitiveness. It is only when teachers receive true professional autonomy and are allowed to participate fully in policy decision-making that new approaches for implementing educational reform can become possible.

(1) "China" here refers to Mainland China only.

(2) Mark Hanson, "Strategies of Educational Decentralisation: Key Questions and Core Issues", Journal of Educational Administration 36, no. 2 (1998): 111-28.

(3) John Hawkins, "Centralization, Decentralisation, Recentralization: Educational Reform in China", Journal of Educational Administration 38, no. 5 (2000): 442-54; and Mark Hanson, "Strategies of Educational Decentralisation: Key Questions and Core Issues", Journal of Educational Administration 36, no. 2 (1998): 111-28.

(4) Fernanda Astiz, Alexander Wiseman and David Baker, "Slouching Towards Decentralisation: Consequences of Globalization for Curricular Control in National Education Systems", Comparative Education Review 46, no. 1 (2002): 66-88.

(5) Hans Weiler, "Comparative Perspectives on Educational Decentralisation: An Exercise in Contradiction?", Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 1, no. 12 (1990): 433-48; and Jane Hannaway and Martin Carnoy, eds., "Control Versus Legitimation: The Politics of Ambivalence" in Decentralisation and School Improve- ment: Can We Fulfil the Promise? (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993), pp. 58-83.

(6) K.H. Mok, "Retreat of the State: Marketisation of Education in the Pearl River Delta", Comparative Education 41, no. 3 (1997): 260-76.

(7) J. Lin, Education in Post-Mao China (Westport: Praeger, 1993); and J.C. Robinson, "Decentralisation, Money and Power: the Case of People-run Schools in China", Comparative Education Review 30, no. 1 (1986): 75-88.

(8) M.T. Yip, Dalu renmin de zhengzhi qiangyu (The Political Participation of People in the Chinese Mainland) (Taipei: Shiying Publisher, 1994).

(9) K.H. Mok, Centralization and Decentralisation: Educational Reforms and Changing Governance in Chinese Societies (Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, University of Hong Kong, 2003).

(10) K.M. Cheng, "The Changing Legitimacy in a Decentralisation System: The State and Education Development in China", International Journal of Educational Development 14, no. 3 (1994): 265-9.

(11) Wong Lai Ngok, Decentralisation in Chinese Education: A Case Study in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, M. Phil thesis (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1997).

(12) Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Zhonggong zhongyang guanyu jiaoyu tizhi gaige de jueding (Decision on the Reform of the Educational System), 1985.

(13) Ibid.

(14) CCP, Zhongguo jiaoyu gaige he fazhan gangyiao (Guidelines for Reform and Development in Chinese Education), 1993.

(15) CCP, Zhonggong zhongyang guanyu jiaoyu tizhi gaige de jueding (Decision on the Reform of the Educational System), 1985.

(16) Chinese Education News, Guanyu jiaoshi gongji chaizheng tongyi fafang de diaocha (2) Jiaojaio jaioshi gongji tuoqian de gen (Investigation into Unified Payment of Teachers' Salaries (2) Looking into the Reasons for Defaulting on Teachers' Salaries) [27 Oct. 2000].

(17) CCP, Guanyu shenhua jiaoyu gaige qunmian tuijin suzhi jiaoyu de jueding (Decision on Deepening Educational Reform and Facilitating Quality Education), 1996.

(18) CCP, Guanyu jichu jiaoyu gaige yu fazhan de jueding (Decision on the Reform and Development of Basic Education), 2001.

(19) China Ministry of Education, 2003-2007 Nian jiaoyu zhenxing xingdong jihua 2003-2007 (Plan for Vigorously Developing Education in 2003-2007), 2004.

(20) Lai Manhong, Decentralisation and the Development of Vocational Education: A Comparative Study on the Developmental Experiences of Shenzhen and Shanghai in China, PhD dissertation (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2002).

(21) CCP, Zhongguo jiaoyu gaige he fazhan gangyiao (Guidelines for Reform and Development in Chinese Education), 1993.

(22) In this system, they developed performance indicators for two aspects. Regarding schooling conditions, it included school administration, teaching administration, moral education administration, teacher administration and logistics administration. For educational quality, it included the admission rate, retention rate, moral education, cognitive rate, physical education, art and technology, labour and social comments.

(23) Education Commission in Shanghai, Shanghaishi zhongxiaoxue fazhanxing dudao pigu gangyiao (Guidelines for Developmental Supervision for Primary and Secondary Schools in Shanghai), 2003.

(24) Chinese Education News, Shenzhenshi gaozhiliang gaoshuiping pujiu xilie baodao zhiyi junhengfazhan yiwujiaoyu xinjinjie (Report on the High Quality and High Level of Popularisation of Basic Education in Shenzhen: Series 1. Balance Development: The New Stage of Basic Education), 24 Apr. 2001.

(25) CCP, Zhongguo jiaoyu gaige he fazhan gangyiao (Guidelines for Reform and Development in Chinese Education), 1993.

(26) CCP, Guanyu jichu jiaoyu gaige yu fazhan de jueding (Decision on Reform and Development in Basic Education), 2001.

(27) Ibid.

(28) CCP, Guanyu shenhua jiaoyu gaige qunmian tuijin suzhi jiaoyu de jueding (Decision on Deepening Educational Reform and Facilitating Quality Education), 1999.

(29) CCP, Zhongguo jiaoyu gaige he fazhan gangyiao (Guidelines for Reform and Development in Chinese Education), 1993.

(30) CCP, Zhonggong zhongyang guanyu jiaoyu tizhi gaige de jueding (Decision on the Reform of the Educational System), 1985.

(31) Ibid.

(32) CCP, Guanyu dali fazhan zhiyejaioyu de jueding (Decision on the Development of Vocational Education), 2005.

(33) N.K. Leslie Lo, "Globalisation, Educational Reform and the Dilemmas of Chinese Teachers", Keynote Speech presented at HKERA 2002 International Conference entitled Globalization: New Horizons for Educational Change, held in Hong Kong, 20-21 Dec. 2002.

Manhong Lai ( is a senior instructor in the Department of Educational Administration and Policy (where she did her PhD) and a member of the Educational Development in Chinese Societies Research Programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include educational development in Chinese Societies, decentralisation in education, teacher development and teacher professionalism, academic profession in higher education and vocational education.

Leslie N.K. Lo ( is Chair Professor of Educational Administration and Policy, Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, and Director of the Educational Development in Chinese Societies Research Programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He earned his EdD from Columbia University. His research interests include educational development in contemporary China and Asia, teacher development and education and the role of intellectuals in modern China.
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Author:Lai, Manhong; Lo, Leslie N.K.
Publication:China: An International Journal
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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