University Landscape in China

By | July 15, 2021

The Chinese university landscape in its present form is still quite young. Although there have been training centers for civil servants and scholars for a long time, the focus was on teaching ethics and morals and not on scientific or technical content. These found their way into higher education in China when the first universities were founded at the end of the 19th century, based on Western universities. A national higher education system only came into being after the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. However, its development was initially severely dampened in the so-called Cultural Revolution initiated by Chinese President Mao Zedong: many universities had to close. In the late 1970s, after Mao passed away,In the course of reforms, the development of today’s higher education in China began.

Since around the mid-1990s, the number of universities and the number of students in China have increased rapidly through targeted investments. If you take the number of students as a benchmark, the higher education system in China is the largest in the world.

Overview of types of universities in China

According to usprivateschoolsfinder, there are both state and private universities in China. However, since the entry requirements at private universities are quite low, they are not very highly regarded. In total there are around 3,000 state-recognized universities in China, the majority of which are state-owned. In addition, the university landscape in China also includes private universities that are not officially recognized. Most of the Chinese colleges are universities or colleges, whereby the terms are sometimes used synonymously. However, less prestigious educational institutions are usually referred to as colleges. The Chinese universities and colleges also include so-called independent institutes. These are private offshoots of state-owned Chinese universities or universities from abroad. In addition, there are also institutions for adult education and other institutions in the tertiary education sector in the higher education landscape. In addition to universities with a wide range of subjects, there are also universities in China that specialize in certain subject areas.

The Chinese system of study, like the German one, has the degrees of Bachelor, Master and Doctor. Which academic degrees the universities are allowed to award differs depending on the university. For example, you cannot do a master’s degree at every educational institution that awards bachelor’s degrees. In China, a distinction is made between general and vocational universities. The latter do not award degrees recognized in Germany, but rather train specialists for the Chinese labor market.

Many universities in China cooperate with commercial enterprises. In this way, students can make contacts at an early stage, complete internships and hope for job offers.

Quality of Chinese educational institutions

The quality of the Chinese universities varies widely. In addition to very good universities, which are also excellently placed in international university rankings, there are also universities that do not meet the quality standards for academic education customary in Germany. The Ministry of Education sets the higher education policies that the provinces implement. The quality assurance in higher education in China is the same as the accreditation of Chinese universities task of the Chinese Ministry of Education. In China, the top universities receive special financial support. The 211 and 985 projects were last used for this purpose. The downside: As higher quality universities receive fewer government grants, they lack the necessary financial resources for significant improvements.

Responsibilities in the higher education landscape in China

Most universities in China are responsible for the individual provinces or cities. Either the Ministry of Education or other institutions of the Chinese government are responsible for the top universities in the country. The state universities are mainly financed by state funds. Among other things, tuition fees serve as a source of income.

Since the executives at the Chinese universities are usually also officials of the Chinese Communist Party, the educational institutions are under not inconsiderable state influence.

Internationalization of the universities of China

The universities in China have become more and more international in recent years. On the one hand, the proportion of international students in China has grown; on the other hand, the universities are entering into cooperation with universities from abroad. This can also create completely new universities. An example of such an international cooperation university is Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. In addition, international students are supported by various scholarships such as the Chinese Government Scholarships. You can also study in English at some Chinese universities. However, not all universities in China accept students from abroad.

University Landscape in China

Special features of the universities of China

The higher education landscape in China stands out due to its size, nowhere in the world are there more students. Due to the large number of universities and the different financial resources, the difference in quality is very high. Compared to western universities, the universities in China are usually not really autonomous, the state influence is quite large. Unlike in some other countries such as the USA, private universities in China are generally less well regarded than state universities.