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Qiang Liu, David Turner and Xiaoli Jing

The construction of world-class universities and first-class disciplines (Double First-Class Initiative) is a major commitment made by the Chinese government to adapt to changes in the educational environment at home and abroad. It is also an innovative strategy for the development and practice of international higher education. As part of the Double First-Class Initiative, China’s higher education institutions have formulated plans for their development and for developing their disciplinary specializations. They have instituted special measures for developing subject areas, staff development, building teams of teachers and researchers, and enhancing their disciplinary characteristics. However, there are some potential problems with the implementation of the Double First-Class Initiative, not least of which are the imprecision in the definition of “world-class”, the narrow focus on the range of institutions, and the lack of future-oriented development methods. These problems have attracted the attention of the government and the universities, and stimulated some discussion in society more widely.

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Jun Li and Jian Li

Recently China has miraculously transformed itself from a learner in the 20th century to a re-rising leader of educational excellence. The enduring policy endeavors over the past few decades have largely enabled China as the largest educational system in the world move to a recently emerging status as a global leader of educational improvement, recognized and appreciated with admiration by many traditionally advanced countries. The two authors intend to offer a snapshot of the China miracle of educational development in terms of public policies since the turn of the 21st century. With a Multi-Flows Approach constructed from Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of “flow”, this paper investigates the complexity and dynamism of three policy streams, i.e., basic education, teacher education and higher education. It is concluded from the literature review that central to China’s key policy actions in recent decades are four core themes, i.e., equality in terms of a democratic mission of education for every citizen, quality in terms of individual and social productivity, efficiency as a national priority based on practicality, and rejuvenation of the state for nation-building and global status. Educational policy development in China since the new century is thus examined with economic, political, cultural and international flows, each presenting a colorful jigsaw puzzle that is not easily tessellated by other flows. The authors argue that the different focus of flows and beyond can benefit policy communities in the world with varied directions for educational change resulting in significant improvement while none of them should be seen as a single force in solely shaping educational policy development without the convergence of other forces. This implies that for any public policy in education policymakers, implementers and other stakeholders must ensure a comprehensive consideration of the interdependent, converging effects of these forces to prioritize and maximize their outcomes, which may be easily missed by any single force of them. The implications from this paper sheds new light on policy studies in education in China and globally, and the learner-provider dynamism of educational development in a post-colonial context.

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Jane Melvin

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Dana Fusco and Michael Baizerman

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Trudi Cooper and Rod Baxter

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Higher Education Reforms in Finland

From a Ponderous to a More Agile System?

Jani Ursin

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Higher Education Reforms in Lithuania

Two Decades after Bologna

Liudvika Leišytė, Anna-Lena Rose and Rimantas Želvys

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The Higher Education System in the Netherlands

Overview and Analysis of Changes Induced by the Bologna Process

Christine Teelken

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Kurt De Wit, Jef C. Verhoeven and Bruno Broucker