One country, diverse systems : politics of educational decentralization and challenges for the regulatory state in post-Mao China

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

The China Review

Publication Date

Fall 1-1-2008





First Page


Last Page



The Chinese University Press


The economic transition in China since the late 1970s has led not only to drastic social transformations but also rapid advancements in science and technology, as well as a revolution in information and communications technology. In order to enhance the global competence of the Chinese population in coping with the challenges of the knowledge-based economy, the higher education sector has been going through restructuring along the lines of marketization, privatization and decentralization. Responding to the challenges of globalization, the Chinese government has opened up the education market by allowing private/minban higher education institutions and even overseas universities to offer academic programmes in the mainland. Hence, we have witnessed a proliferation of education providers, a diversification of education financing, and an increase in private-public partnerships in education provision since the policy of educational decentralization was introduced in the mid-1980s. This article sets out to examine the politics of educational decentralization in this wider policy context by critically analysing the tensions between the central education ministry, conventional minban higher education institutions and the newly emerging state-endorsed independent minban colleges (second-tier colleges or independent colleges). It also reflects critically upon the policy implications for the evolving "governed market" in education, and analyses the challenges for the new regulatory regime now that the higher education sector has become highly diversified in post-Mao China.

Print ISSN


Additional Information



Recommended Citation

Mok, K. H., & Ngok, K. L. (2008). One country, diverse systems: Politics of educational decentralization and challenges for the regulatory state in post-Mao China. China Review, 8(2), 169-199.

This document is currently not available here.