Higher Education in China: Internationalization in Turbulent Times
The rapid growth in quantity and quality of universities in China since 1978 is the most recent evolution in a long history of higher education. From as early as the Tang Dynasty, academies existed to prepare scholars for the civil service examination, but by the Republican period, higher learning was dominated by a host of well-regarded, cosmopolitan, comprehensive universities. In 1952, these institutions were reorganized according to the Soviet model, and remained highly specialized until the resurgence of comprehensive institutions after 1978. This background note describes this history and then elaborates on the system of higher education since 2000, focusing on university governance, funding, faculty policy, admissions systems, and internationalization. It concludes by looking at the tightening of ideological control in universities in 2013 and 2014, and reflects on the potential for China to establish "world-class" universities.