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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The diversification of China's higher education funding 1996-2003 Shen, Chen

Abstract

China has adopted diversified funding mechanisms for its HEIs. This observation becomes the point of departure of the present research: the mismatch between the socialist state ideology and the diversified funding structure of higher education in China, which grants a greater share to non-govemment resources in financing HEIs. The research sets out to analyze the funding of China's higher education and the process of its diversification. The first chapter is a brief introduction to China's higher education. The second chapter describes China's higher education reforms since later 1970s and presents the problem statement regarding the mismatch between State ideology and the funding patterns of HEIs. In Chapter 3, four theoretical hypotheses are formulated to explain the above the mismatch. Human Capital Theory: by channeling money back into public institutions from non-government sectors, the State reduces its burden to finance higher education. Resource Dependence Theory: inadequate funding for institutions and competition formed an environment in which institutions' need to seek diverse resources from non- State actors. Mass Higher Education Theory: with mass higher education, only a diversified funding scheme can sustain the expanded higher education system because public finance alone is no longer sufficient. Social Constructivism: in the current global economy, China's diversified funding scheme for higher education is shaped by global norms reflecting broader patterns of higher education restructuring despite its political ideology. Chapter 4 introduces the research methods and data of the study. The data used in this study covers the time period 1996-2003. It includes government policies and information about sources of funding for various types of HEIs. Chapter 5 reviewed China's tuition policy, Action Plans 21 for the Rejuvenation of Education, Project 211 and Project 985. The Action Plans emphasizes invigorating state economy by strengthening education. Project 211 and Project 985 are focused on building a few elite HEIs. Chapter 6 shows that non-government expenditure became the largest funding source for HEIs replacing government budget expenditure in 1999, when the Action Plans was implemented. Data also shows that national regular HEIs are given funding priority as reflected in Project 211 and Project 985. In contradiction, local regular HEIs and their students remain underfunded. In conclusion, Chapter 7 examines the four hypotheses over the backdrop of the findings. The first three theories dwell on domestic factors and fail to properly explain the mismatch between funding diversification and China's socialist ideology. Social Constructivism, with a focus on international factors, is able to account for the mismatch by claiming that global norms shape China's domestic policies and redefine the identity of the Chinese society. Chapter 8 provides insights regarding the implications of the study and reflections on future researches.

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