China regards higher education as a crucial factor in its inclusive national potency and a key to global competitiveness. The entrenchment of internationalization into the Chinese’s institutions of higher learning has absolutely overthrown the traditional model for higher education, which had for long been entangled in conservative outdated styles of research and development. The current educational system plays a decisive role in China’s national wisdom and personnel reserve, which has made tremendous modifications in the concept of education, cultivation of talents, instilling of discipline, curriculum design and implementation, faculty training and research. Since its inception, there has been notable growth in the universities enrolment and intensified participation in intercontinental conferences and cross national research. This essay discusses the efforts employed by the Chinese government to promote higher education by looking at the existing concepts and theories as well as a detailed discussion of strategies that are formulated for that matter. Finally, the paper will give conclusive remarks clarifying the position of the writer on this very topic.
China’s strategic plan for higher education is embedded in the following theories and concepts: these are deemed the guiding principles towards its set educational goals that ensure the quality that matches international standards. The first one is the theory of higher education development. This was proposed by Professor Martin Trow at the University of California. Trow (2005) sought to describe the higher education from elite to mass to universal student access by pointing out the significant change from elite to mass, which denotes a considerable rise in the enrollment of the institutions. The change goes hand in hand with a change in value, which plays an imperative role in transition from elite to mass. This theory ensures change in education concept, extension of education’s functions, variety of teaching rationale, change of the set up of curriculum among others.
Secondly, the government considered the theory of the inner and outer law of education, which insists on adherence to law while facilitating educational activities. The first is the law relating to the relationship between education and social development, also known as the inner law of education, and the other one is about the relation between education and human beings Trow (2005). The former describes education as a subsystem in the whole social system, which is inevitably related to other subsystems including culture, politics, and economy, whose development is based solely on education. The latter, which is also known as the outer law of education, supposes learners are often affected by various factors in the process of acquiring education. The two laws are interrelated in the sense that the inner one is limited by the outer law, whereas the outer law can only be effected through inner law. Therefore, it means that in comprehending the quality of graduate education, social backgrounds ought to be taken into consideration and the wider scale of developing graduate education must meet the need of high level personnel from the society, economy, technology, and education.
Besides, the theory of social functions in the institutions of higher education is another one that is highly esteemed by the Chinese government. This highlights the dependency of the relationship between society and universities on the advancement in social development (Veblen, 2012). The institutions of higher learning render crucial services to the society, such as cultivation of high level expertise, development of science and service to the community. To ensure these goals are achieved, the top priority of the government becomes training specialists with impeccable proficiency and developing a framework through which they will fully render services to the society. The theory emphasizes the quality of personnel training as the most pertinent of the standards of the quality of graduate education and should be treated with the seriousness it deserves (Veblen, 2012).
Finally, the government of China considers the theory of all round educational quality, which literally means application of holistic quality management in the field of education that has great emphasis on improvement of quality. The government of China is categorical about the transition of forms of management and is shifting from a one dimensional traditional view of performance to the complete range of observations on quality. It acknowledges the fact that education is not only about equipping learners with knowledge but also helping them to acquire other vital attributes such as attitude, sense of cooperation and competitiveness, professionalism, abilities of mental endurance, and environmental adaptability.
In order to exhaustively attain the national goals of higher education, the Chinese government has devised concrete policy designs and strategies as a road map to guide the implementation of the curriculum that is in place. In 2010, the Chinese government launched the Outline for Medium and Long-term Reform and Development agenda for education, human resource training, and science and technology. These were strategies regarded as necessary to innovate China through science, education, and development of personnel.
In fact, chapter 16 of the National Outline for Medium and Long-term Educational Reform and Development focuses on upholding educational exchange and collaboration (Ministry or Education of the People’s Republic of China, 2010). It emphasizes the essence of enhancing advanced education internationalization and coaching of talented learners, imbued with universal vision, well-versed in international laws, and competent in international affairs and fair participation.
To ensure this achievement, the government has set up the following measures: first, it has fostered internationalization of education via person to person exchange both from within the country and outside. This measure aims at initiating and maintaining international interaction. Following this strategy, numerous interactive activities have taken place between the citizens of China and the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, European Union among others.
Besides, the government formulates and facilitates programs of studies abroad as a way of harmonizing the country’s system of education and the international systems. Therefore, Chinese students are encouraged to pursue studies overseas and return home to use the knowledge acquired there for national development. For instance, in 2011 alone, the number of scholars pursuing various courses abroad reached 33,970,000. Out of this figure, 500,000 were sponsored by the government through the government’s scholarship scheme (Geiger, 2014).
Furthermore, it also encourages the majority of its citizens to take studies within the country for promotion of nationalism and preservation of their inherent culture. Also, it welcomes immigrants to take up studies in China. A special scheme for extending scholarships to external students was set up in 2010 and it is envisaged that by 2020, the number of international student studying in China would have risen to five hundred thousand (Geiger, 2014). International students in China continue benefiting from the government’s continuous reforms, policy support, and increasing input ,which has made learning and living environment quite friendly to them.
In addition, the Chinese Ministry of Education has come up with programs for supporting the Chinese-foreign cooperative education, which is incorporated in the systems of education both within the country and overseas. This aims at integrating the system of education with other systems in order to develop an all inclusive system that ensures optimal benefits to its students for the general good of China as a state. Relevant examples are the University of Nottingham Ningbo China and the New York University in Shanghai (Wang & Liu, 2011).
Apart from that, all universities within China and overseas enjoy the support provided by the government in nurturing and facilitating all students with talents to cultivate and exploit their inherent talents, both for their individual and national development. With the help of the plan dubbed ‘Thousand Talent Plan’, the government has managed to train celebrated professors, researchers, and academic teams that are translating this noble dream into reality (Wang & Liu, 2011).
Finally, the government is keen on ensuring that its citizens embrace Chinese language. They have gone a long way towards fostering their sense of belonging, nationalism, and solidarity. Due to this effort, Chinese language has hitherto been a lingua-franca. Besides, the government advances aid for joint research work between the domestic higher learning institutions and the overseas ones. This positive gesture has strengthened bilateral ties between China and other partnering countries (Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, 2010).
Education remains the key factor to sustainable development of any country whose prime goal is to realize better living standards for its people. China has portrayed a good example by being particular about the education of its citizens, particularly the higher education, which is the pillar on which its development leans. Consequently, the relations between university and the market, university and government, together with the society have been reshaped. These transformations in higher education have placed China in a strategic global position economically. Since internationalization of higher education has born fabulous opportunities for China’s development, the government is committed to its constitutional mandate to ensure optimal support of institutions in terms of policy design, financial input, and project construction, all with the aim of attracting more benefits of economic globalization. Though categorized as a middle income country, China, the country with the largest population in the world, has demonstrated the aptitude and attitude to compete favorably and even in certain circumstances better that the developed countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. It is hoped that sustenance of this upward trend in development will soon elevate China to the status of ‘developed nations’, especially if it would attain the objectives enshrined in the vision 2020 on education. Other countries, notably from third world category, have no excuse and must toe the line.