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Some Analyses on Privatization of Higher Education in China <Articles>
Recently Chinese government's power and function to control institutions of higher education as well as provide them with necessary funds and resources have been fading. Responsibilities born by the State and public sector in the past have been gradually sifted to the private or non-public sector. This paper focusing on so-called "minban" or people-founded institutions of higher education which have emerged in recent years tries to make some analyses on the trend of privatization in Chinese higher education.
There used to be quite a number of private institutions of higher education in China. They accounted for 38.2% of total number of institutions and 37.6% of total enrollment in 1947. However, all of these private institutions were taken-over by the government soon after the establishment of the People's Republic and completely disappeared. Reasons for their extinction can be analyzed from a couple of aspects. First, they were obstructive to implement a new higher education under the planned economy. Second, their educational structure and curriculum didn't coincide with the new nation's educational goals. Third, their financial situation collapsed due to the cessation of supports from outside. Also, antagonism against the imperialistic "cultural invasion" forced them to disappear, which was particularly the case for the institutions supported by foreign missionaries. Thereafter no private institutions existed in China over a long period of time.
In the early 1980s Chinese higher education has undergone a period of tremendous development and reform. Along with quantitative increase, major principles of higher education since the establishment of the PRC have been reconsidered. As the biggest change the principle of free higher education via the state plan has been challenged by the admission of students based on contracts with their future employers as well as by students paying their own tuition. Later all students came to require to pay their tuition fees. Higher education institutions began to open up other routes for funding than the national budget and began preparations for generating a portion of their operating funds at their own initiative.
In addition to such privatizing changes, non-governmental or people-founded institutions have appeared after nearly 30 years of virtual extinction. The number of such institutions have increased rapidly and amounted to 1,238 early in 1997. Out of the total number, only 22 including both regular full-time institutions and adult higher education institutions, are formally recognized by the central government to directly grant a higher education diploma to their graduates, 89 are permitted to execute an examination to obtain the higher education diploma, and the remainder are not recognized to administer the qualifying examination.
The details of the developing process of these institutions composed of four periods, i.e. the stages of germination, inauguration, reconsideration and expansion are described respectively. In the following part of this paper the factors to promote and realize the expansion of these institutions are explored, taking the above-mentioned reasons for extinguishing their forerunners into consideration. It looks the situation surrounding the people-founded institutions makes a sharp contrast against that of earlier days in the PRC.