chapter  12
22 Pages

Educational policies: From expansion and equity to quality

In the 1990s, at a time of rapid economic globalization, China had entered a new critical period of reform and opening up. China adapted its education policies to refl ect the new era, in line with the Education for All (EFA) initiative promoted by international organizations.1 A new enthusiasm for educational development arose in China. The 1997 Asian fi nancial crisis had only an indirect effect on Chinese educational policies. China understood that to remain internationally competitive and nationally strong, human resources had to be developed through the development of the education sector. The fi nancial crisis served to bolster the government’s confi dence in accelerating educational development. In the past 10 years, China pursued educational development, mobilized resources, and leaped forward, achieving remarkable results. Educational policies in the current century are different than those of the last: the government used to have unclear responsibilities in some aspects of the education sector but today has clear public service responsibilities. It moved away from its earlier emphasis on expanding the scale of educational services toward a new emphasis on equity and quality. China is marching toward the equalization of basic public education and toward the construction of a learning society that conforms to China’s current situation. Educational development will provide strong support for sustainable development of the economy, politics, culture and society.