Social Transformation and Private Education in China

Social Transformation and Private Education in China

Social Transformation and Private Education in China

Social Transformation and Private Education in China


Private schools resurfaced in China after 1978 when the Chinese government embarked on an economic reform for modernization. This book offers a comprehensive review of the development, characteristics, issues, and problems of these private schools and examines the economic, social and educational context for private school development. It also analyzes the characteristics of various types of private schools, and critically discusses issues and problems facing them.


Until the early 20th century, virtually all schooling in China was private. However, since 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party took power, up to the early 1980s, private schools disappeared throughout the country. Under the communist government, educational policy-making, curriculum design and teaching, school finance, and personnel management were all centrally controlled. While the state provided over 85 percent of funding for urban schools, the rural schools, called "minban" schools or "people-run" schools, received little to no financial support from the state and had to rely on local governments and fees charged to students.

Private schools resurfaced in China after 1978, when the Chinese government led by Deng Xiaoping embarked on economic reform for modernization. Reform has thrust private ownership and competition into the state-planned economy, and consequently profound changes have taken place in culture and values in the society. Private education has developed in the changing social, cultural, and economic context of the reform era, catching national and international attention and raising hopes but also many new questions.


My interest in doing research on private education in China was aroused during the summer of 1993, when I met a former university president from a province in northern China. He and a few other former university administrators had just set up a private university in the northeastern city of Shengyang. He and his co-founders were planning to enroll more than 700 students during the . . .

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