Innovations in Education Concepts

From Correction to Creation

by Zhenguo Yuan (Author)
©2020 Edited Collection XXIV, 314 Pages


China's Path to Education Modernization, Vol. 1: Innovations in Education Concepts: From Correction to Creation summarizes a set of socialist education development systems with Chinese characteristics from scratch in the past 40 years of reform and opening up in China. From the change of educational concept, the development of educational undertakings, the gradual improvement of educational legal system to the prosperity of educational science, China’s Path to Education Modernization involves the reform and development of all kinds of education at all levels. It can be called the encyclopedia of educational development in China for decades and covers the macro-analysis and practical guidance of China's educational development. It is a suitable supplement for educational theory experts, frontline workers, and general readers worldwide.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Foreword
  • CHAPTER 1 Nurturing talent—returning to the nature of education (HOU HAOXIANG)
  • Section 1. discussion of major problems concerning the nature of education during the initial stages of china’s economic reform and opening
  • 1. Correcting the misconception that education is only for the superstructure
  • 2. Education as a requirement for the existence and development of society
  • 3. Education functions to unite social and human development
  • Section 2. shifting from an instrumental view of education to education service theory
  • 1. Consolidating historical experience and criticizing the argument that education is a tool for class struggle
  • 2. Education must serve socialist construction, which in turn must rely on education
  • 3. “Four services” as an advanced requirement in science education development
  • Section 3. cultivation of talent as the fundamental task of schools
  • 1. Schools are places for the cultivation of talent for socialist construction
  • 2. Education as the core mission of schools
  • 3. Teachers play a decisive role in education development
  • CHAPTER 2 Education is an essential pathway for comprehensive human development (HOU HAOXIANG)
  • Section 1. all-round human development is the starting point and final goal of marxist thought on education
  • 1. All-round human development is the ultimate objective of Marxist educational thought
  • 2. The “four requisite qualities” new generation cultivation objective represents all-round human development in China
  • Section 2. education is an essential requirement and approach to achieve all-round human development
  • 1. Promoting all-round human development is an intrinsic requirement in socialist education
  • 2. Liberal education is a core component of all-round human development
  • Section 3. incorporating education and productive labor into social practices is the fundamental approach for achieving all-round human development
  • 1. Incorporating education and productive labor into social practices is the basic outline for education in China
  • 2. Combining education and productive labor is the only means to achieve all-round human development
  • CHAPTER 3 Education is the cornerstone of national rejuvenation and social progress (HOU HAOXIANG)
  • Section 1. the strength of a nation depends on the quality of its workers and the quality and quantity of its intellectuals
  • 1. Science and technology are a primary productive force
  • 2. Talent is the primary resource for promoting economic and social development
  • Section 2. the fundamental, guiding, and overall strategic roles of education in national modernization
  • 1. Education lays the foundation for long-term national development
  • 2. Realizing the dream of rejuvenating the Chinese nation fundamentally relies on talents and education
  • Section 3. education is a decisive component of the great rejuvenation of the chinese nation
  • 1. Education is the most fundamental component of a nation
  • 2. Strengthening China’s workforce guarantees the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation
  • 3. Building a powerful nation through education is the fundamental mission of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation
  • CHAPTER 4 Promoting the all-around development of socialist builders and custodians (YU XIAOCHANG)
  • Section 1. development and evolution of the party’s guiding principle for education
  • 1. Our guiding principle for education is that it should provide moral, intellectual, and physical education to students
  • 2. To nurture new socialists that are idealistic, morally inclined, culturally sensitive, and disciplined
  • 3. Including the guiding principle for education into law
  • 4. Promoting the all-around development (morality, intellect, fitness, and virtue) of socialist builders and custodians
  • Section 2. extensively and intensively implementing the party’s guiding principle for education
  • CHAPTER 5 Fostering virtues and nurturing talent are the fundamental objectives of education (YU XIAOCHANG)
  • Section 1. schools should set a strong and correct political orientation
  • 1. Political orientation is the essence of school works
  • 2. Politics must take precedence, and a correct political orientation must be established
  • 3. Fostering students’ ideological and political qualities are equally as important as fostering their scientific and cultural qualities
  • 4. A correct political orientation must be maintained, and ideological and political works must be consistent throughout the entire education system
  • Section 2. moral education takes precedence in people-oriented education
  • 1. People-oriented education epitomizes people-oriented education works
  • 2. The core of prioritizing moral education is to teach students moral integrity
  • 3. The core values of socialism should be fully incorporated into national education
  • Section 3. skill-based all-round development
  • 1. Skill-based development is a requirement for overcoming challenges in national development
  • 2. All-round development is a key Marxist theory, an important component of education policies, and the objective of liberal education
  • CHAPTER 6 Education must orientate to modernization, the world and the future (YAN LINGYAN)
  • Section 1. the “three orientations” are the objective requirements of socialist modernization and development
  • 1. There is no hope of achieving the “Four Modernizations” without science and education
  • 2. Being modernization-oriented is the core of the “Three Orientations”
  • (1) Being modernization-oriented is the core concept
  • (2) Being world-oriented is a natural requirement of modernization
  • (3) Being future-oriented is the objective
  • Section 2. relying on education modernization to support national modernization
  • 1. The Three Orientations have become the guidelines for education reform and development in China
  • 2. Establishing a socialist education system to realize the modernization of education
  • (1) The establishment of education modernization strategies
  • (2) Develop a modern education system with Chinese characteristics and comparable to those of other countries
  • CHAPTER 7 Providing education that meets public expectations (YAN LINGYAN)
  • Section 1. providing education that meets public expectations is our mission
  • 1. Providing education that meets public expectations is the manifestation of the CPC’s full commitment to serve the people
  • 2. Adopting improvement of people’s education levels as the starting point and evaluation criterion of education undertakings
  • 3. Resolving the most relevant, direct, and realistic education problems
  • Section 2. fulfilling historical duties and the correct outlook to the provision of education that meets public expectations
  • 1. Education is not just a matter for education departments
  • 2. Clearly establishing people-centered concepts for education development
  • CHAPTER 8 The pursuit for educational equity (YAN LINGYAN)
  • Section 1. educational equity is an important foundation for social equity
  • 1. Education is for the public good
  • 2. Educational equity is an objective requirement for all-round human development and social equity and justice
  • 3. Educational equity is a tangible manifestation of education serving the people
  • Section 2. ensuring the legal right to education is a basic requirement of educational equity
  • 1. The Constitution and laws clearly regulate people’s right to education
  • (1) The Constitution and various educational laws stipulate people’s right to education
  • (2) Managing education by law can protect the rights of educatees
  • 2. Fair opportunity is key to educational equity
  • Section 3. promoting the balanced development of compulsory education and helping disadvantaged groups are critical to educational equity
  • 1. Balanced development is a strategic task of compulsory education
  • 2. Protecting the right to education of children of migrant workers, left-behind children in rural areas, and children with disabilities
  • (1) Ensuring fair right to compulsory education in public schools for children who move to cities with migrant worker parents
  • (2) Guaranteeing fair education to children left-behind in rural areas
  • (3) Ensuring the right to education of children with disabilities
  • 3. Preventing children from dropping out of school due to financial difficulties
  • Section 4. rationally allocating educational resources is a fundamental measure of educational equity
  • 1. Optimizing the allocation of educational resources
  • 2. Gradually reducing the gaps in regional, urban–rural, and interschool education development
  • 3. Promoting the sharing of high-quality educational resources through education informatization
  • Section 5. the government is largely responsible for educational equity
  • 1. Promoting educational equity is an important public service of the modern Chinese government
  • 2. Promoting educational equity is a common responsibility of society
  • CHAPTER 9 Aiming for higher quality education (YAN LINGYAN)
  • Section 1. adopting improvement of quality as the core objective for education reform and development
  • 1. Adopting the promotion of all-round human development and the adaptation to social development needs as fundamental standards for measuring education quality
  • 2. Establishing education development ideologies centered on improving quality
  • 3. Establishing management systems and work mechanisms centered on improving education quality
  • Section 2. establishing national education quality standards and education quality guarantee system
  • 1. Establishing national education quality standards
  • 2. Forming education quality guarantee systems
  • Section 3. strengthening the establishment of the teacher profession and improving teachers’ overall quality
  • 1. The hope of rejuvenating the nation lies in education, and the hope of rejuvenating education lies in teachers
  • 2. Cultivating an energetic and professional teachers staff with noble morality, high-quality, skills and structured
  • 3. Creating an atmosphere of respect for teachers and education and effectively improving the status of teachers
  • Section 4. promoting the establishment of world-class universities and first-class disciplines and enhancing core competencies
  • 1. The “Double First-Class University Plan” is a strategic decision for enhancing national core competencies
  • 2. Improving talent-nurturing capacity is key to optimal school management
  • 3. First-class disciplines are the foundation for first-class universities and provide the essential content for the development of the first-class universities
  • 4. The insistence on Chinese characteristics is the “soul” of establishing first-class universities and disciplines
  • CHAPTER 10 Adherence to CPC leadership is the fundamental guarantee for education development (CUI HAILI)
  • Section 1. upholding party leadership over educational works
  • 1. Education is an important component of the CPC’s understaking
  • 2. Educational affairs must perpetually reinforce the CPC leadership
  • Section 2. continual reinforcement and improvement of cpc leadership over education
  • 1. Reinforcing CPC leadership over ideological and political works in schools
  • (1) Continually reinforcing ideological and political works for students in schools of all levels and types
  • (2) Adhering to the orientation of socialist education and fully implementing ideological and political works
  • 2. Reinforcing Primary-level Party organizations and Party membership development
  • (1) Steadily promoting the development of Party organizations in education
  • (2) Reinforcing school leadership and the development of cadre leaders
  • (3) Fulfilling the Party’s primary responsibility of strict supervision and governance of the education system
  • 3. Strengthening efforts improving Party conduct and clean establishing integrity within the education system
  • CHAPTER 11 Education must be placed on our development agenda as a strategic priority (CUI HAILI)
  • Section 1. education should be a priority
  • 1. Education is a national undertaking, and we should be committed to resolving the problems of education
  • 2. The key to socialist modernization is talent cultivation and education
  • (1) Prioritized education development is an important experience of contemporary social development
  • (2) Strategic prioritization of education has continually developed with trial and error
  • 3. Education development should be prioritized, and human capital accumulation accelerated in order to lay the foundation for the future of the country
  • (1) Implementing the strategy of strengthening the nation through human resource development
  • (2) Establishing a nation of powerful human resources
  • Section 2. effectively guaranteeing the prioritization of education development
  • 1. Prioritizing education development in social and economic development plans
  • 2. Granting education investments priority in financial resources
  • (1) Establishing a financial commitment of 4% GDP for education
  • (2) Striving to achieve the development goal of 4% GDP
  • 3. Granting education and human resource development priority in public resources
  • (1) Always prioritizing the development of teachers
  • (2) Directing resources to education with preferential policies
  • CHAPTER 12 Reform and innovation are strong driving forces for education development (CUI HAILI)
  • Section 1. systematically carrying out reforms, starting with the education system
  • 1. Education problems stem from the education system
  • 2. Gradually overcoming the institutional “bottleneck” of education development
  • (1) The core concept of reforming education management systems was to decentralize management and encourage pro-activeness at all levels of government and schools
  • (2) The core of reforming education management systems was to promote pluralistic school management and encourage proactive management of schools by the whole of society
  • (3) The core of reforming education investment systems was to expand investment channels and establish multi-channel investment systems for fundraising
  • (4) Establishing student enrollment and vocational guidance systems that combine national-level planning, regulatory planning, and allow self-determined job selection after graduation
  • Section 2. establishing an educational system suitable to a socialist market economy
  • 1. Education reform that meets the demands of the economic system
  • 2. Implementing comprehensive support measures and progress stages to accelerate the pace of education system reform
  • (1) Further reform and improvement of the education management system
  • (2) Major progress in school management systems reform via gradual combination of government management and social participation
  • (3) Building an education investment system based on fiscal appropriations of the government and supplemented by multi-channel investment
  • 1. Legislation and implementation of indicators for government investment in education
  • 2. Establishment and improvement of the multi-channel education financing system
  • Section 3. deepening overall education reform and accelerating the reform of essential fields and key areas
  • 1. Establishing an education system that was compatible with the market economy system
  • 2. Expanding the breakthroughs for overall education reform
  • (1) Updating education concepts as a fundamental approach for the reform of talent cultivation systems
  • (2) Satisfying people’s diverse educational needs as the objective for promoting the reform of school management systems
  • (3) Improving education macro-management systems as the focus for the reform of education management systems.
  • CHAPTER 13 Managing education by law is a sound strategy for education reform and development (CUI HAILI)
  • Section 1. managing education by law is the nation’s basic strategy for education management
  • 1. Managing education by law is an essential requirement for the basic policy of nomocracy
  • 2. Managing education by law is the only way to implement educational policies lawfully
  • 3. Managing education by law is an objective requirement for promoting education reform and development
  • (1) Defining the properties of education and its education’s prioritized strategic position via law
  • (2) Establishing a series of important education systems and standards to maintain order and stability in education
  • (3) Incorporating the major achievements of education reform into policy and legal systems to ensure and direct further education reform and development
  • Section 2. managing education by law requires a sound system to implement
  • 1. Education legislation is the basis for managing education by law
  • 2. Administration by law is the key to managing education by law
  • 3. Law enforcement supervision is a guarantee for the implementation of managing education by law
  • 4. Lawful management of education is fostered via an environment of promulgation and education of law.
  • Contributors


zhenguo yuan

The ideological principles of emancipating the mind, seeking the truth, and reforming the economy were introduced by the Communist Party of China during the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee in December 1978. Since the implementation of these reforms, China’s economy has continuously grown for four decades. The global ranking of China’s per capita GDP rose from 171st to 70th1 and total GDP rose from 9th to 2nd.2 As China’s contribution to the global economy increased from 3.05% in 1978 to 31.53% in 2016.3 This explosive growth was more than a miracle in China’s history—it was a miracle in world history.

China’s promotion of education has been the driving force and a crucial component to this miracle. In China, the gross preschool enrollment rate increased from 12.62% in 1981 to 77.4% in 2016, exceeding the average of middle-to-high-income countries by 5%. Furthermore, the number of children attending nine-year compulsory education reached 93.4% in 2016, surpassing the average of high-income countries. The gross high school enrollment rate rose from 39.56% in 1981 to 87.5% in 2016, exceeding the average of middle-to-high-income countries by 5%. The gross enrollment rate for higher education rose from 1.6% in 1981 to 42.6% in 2016, exceeding the average of middle-to-high-income countries by 6%. Additionally, significant advancements have been made in the performance of Chinese students as per the Programme for International Student Assessment, and the quality of Chinese universities has improved considerably.

The development of a more highly educated population has fueled a drastic change in the composition of Chinese human resource structures. The average number of years of education attained by people between the ages of 16 and 59 increased from fewer than five years in 1981 to 10.35 years in 2016. The proportion of the population in possession of a college education or higher increased from 0.58% in 1982 to 12.44% in 2015.4 The expected number of years of education for a student to attain in China was 8.8 years in 1990, which ranked 119th in the world; in 2015, that number had risen to 13.5 years, ranking 83rd in the world.5 China had transformed one of the most populated nations on earth into a nation with one of the world’s largest educated workforces.

Identifying the key factors behind the success of China’s economic reforms is of considerable interest to scholars; it is also the responsibility of Chinese scholars. Renowned American scholar John King Fairbank (1907–1991) published The United States and China some 70 years ago, which was the first publication in the West to compare China and the United States. In the book, Fairbank asserted that China was in the midst of a movement to modernize that was fundamentally characterized by the forfeiture of existing national traditions and systems and the adoption of the culture and systems (including the languages) of the West. Therefore, the modernization of China was, in actuality, China’s response to the ongoing influence of the West. Over time, this “impact–response model” became the consensus among Western scholars when discussing the process of China’s modernization.6 However, Fairbank later revised his opinion and contended in his book, China: A New History, which was released two days prior to his death, that “[after] 50 years of review and observation, I discovered that the modernization of China might be more than the product of impact and response, but rather is intrinsic genetic propensity for transformation and an intrinsic compulsion toward development outcomes.”7 Nobel Prize winner Ronald H. Coase (1910–2013) co-authored How China Became Capitalist with his assistant Ning Wang at the age of 102. The book contended, “China is extremely successful, and her development will continue. However, China’s economic development cannot be interpreted using conventional western economics. China’s economic reform is a fortuitous consequence of human behavior.”8

The nations of the world are diverse, and no universal path exists for modernization. China’s successful modernization of education supports the proposition that there are many channels to modernization, as evidenced by China’s novel path.

education modernization as a consistent theme in china’s economic reform

Occurring amid China’s reform and opening of its economy, a historic struggle, the reform and development of China’s educational system is similarly reflected in its efforts and struggles for modernization and is representative of the nation’s unique socialist system.

In 1983, Deng Xiaoping provided the following dedication to the Beijing Jingshan School: “Education must shift towards modernization, to the world, and to the future.” These words fully reflected Chinese society’s expectations and goals for education development and expressed an ideological basis and strategic direction for the reform and development of education in China.

In 1985, the Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Educational System Reform was released and the following grand objective of modernizing socialist education was highlighted: “We must improve not only existing talent but also the entire party’s understanding of education, shifting education towards modernization, to the world, and to the future; we must promote economic and social development in the 1990s and the beginning of the next century; and nurture talents in various industries that are able to uphold socialism on a large scale.”

In 1993, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) released the Outline for Education Reform and Development in China, which further clarified the objectives of education reform and development in China: “After decades of hard work, a mature and comprehensive socialist education system had been established, fully realizing the modernization of education.”

In July 2010, the Outline of China’s National Plan for Medium- and Long-Term Education Reform and Development (2010–2020) was released and expressed goals “to fundamentally realize education modernization, fundamentally create a learning society, and become a leading human resource country by 2020.” This outline urged the preparation of human resources for the fundamental modernization of China.

In 2017, the 19th National Congress of the CPC reemphasized that “building a strong education-based country as the primary mission of China’s grand rejuvenation. We must prioritize education, accelerate education modernization, and establish an education system that people will accept.” The Report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC reiterated the urgency of achieving education modernization.

Modernizing education has consistently been the focus and theme of China’s educational reforms and development. It has become the idealistic pursuit and spiritual motivation for consolidating national strength to prioritize the development of education. Education modernization provides the intellectual framework that underpins the modernization of industry, agriculture, national defense, and technological infrastructure and is also a key factor for building a strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious, and beautiful socialist nation.

continued economic reform is the driving force for the modernization of education in china

China’s education modernization is interlinked with its economic reforms. Education modernization establishes the overall goal of education reform and development in China. China’s economic reforms have consequently fueled education modernization and have provided a basic roadmap for the acceleration of education modernization in China.

In 1977, the higher education entrance examination was reinstated and students were permitted to study abroad, marking the beginning of China’s economic reform that in turn gradually prompted later education reforms. The initiative of “bringing order out of chaos” that took place between 1977 and 1985, the comprehensive initiatives undertaken in 1985–1993, the comprehensive deepening of aforementioned reforms between 1993 and 2010, and the promotion of general education reform from 2010 to the present, have shaped a modern educational system with socialist characteristics that is unique to China.

Emancipation of the mind and bringing order out of chaos (1977–1985): Starting in the late 1950s, the lack of focus given by the CPC to economic and infrastructure development and the influence of leftist “[class struggle] ideologies caused [the misappropriation of resources to education] or [the targeting of education] by various political movements.” The Cultural Revolution took leftist mistakes to the extreme, denying knowledge and terminating education altogether, which severely damaged the educational system and devastated the majority of education workers. The Cultural Revolution prevented the development of an entire generation of young people, which created a chasm between China’s educational system and those of developed countries. After recommendations were proposed for bringing order out of chaos during the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC, the Central Committee of the CPC initiated a series of decisions and strategies concerning education, which revitalized and improved education in China.

Initiation of education reform (1985–1993): Misconceptions such as the contempt for education, knowledge, and human resources were common during the early stages of China’s economic reform. The influences of leftist ideologies on education had yet to be completely eradicated, and the incapacity of education work to meet the needs of socialist modernization had not been entirely addressed within such a short period of time. The backwardness and flaws of China’s educational system were magnified by its opening up to other countries, internal restructuring, commencement of full economic reform, and beginning of the worldwide technological revolution. The division of administrative authority for education was a particularly acute problem. Various governmental departments exercised rigid control over schools, colleges and universities in particular, resulting in poor management and schools lacking in vitality. Structurally, basic education was weak, the number of schools was insufficient, the quality of schools was low, and qualified teachers and essential equipment and supplies were lacking. The vocational and technical education urgently required for economic construction was not being developed. The disciplines, professional structures, and levels of schooling in the higher education system were imbalanced. Concurrently, schools at all levels were applying standardized and outdated curricula and teaching methods. Most schools overlooked the importance of educational practices, strayed from focusing on economic and social needs, and lagged behind with respect to providing instruction concerning the latest developments in contemporary sciences and cultural studies. In response to these problems, the Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Educational System Reform was released and declared: “We must revise the situation at the base level, the systematic reform of the education system.” This decision underscored the basic guideline of “using education to serve the development of socialism and using socialism to promote education.” These objectives could be realized by reforming the educational system, decentralizing power, and expanding the autonomy of schools. Concurrently, reforming the labor and personnel systems could significantly heighten awareness of the needs of economic and social development and promote the ability to adapt to satisfy these needs.

Deepening of education reform (1993–2010): Amidst the gradual unfolding of the “bringing order out of chaos” movement and various education reform projects in this period, plans to promote nine-year compulsory education were formed and implemented in a phased manner, leading to significant improvements in vocational and technical education. The development of higher education accelerated, manifesting as the introduction of various degree levels and types and disciplines. The diverse adult and ethnic education system also improved considerably. Basic education in rural areas was subjected to a hierarchical management system, which produced favorable outcomes via the delegation of responsibilities to local governments. However, the overall education system in China lagged behind other countries and could not meet the demands of accelerated economic reform and modernizing infrastructure. In practice, the strategic positioning of education was not fully implemented. Investment in education remained inadequate, teachers were underpaid, and school conditions were poor. To varying degrees, educational ideologies, curricular content, and the quality of teaching instruction failed to meet real-world needs. Obvious weak links existed between school ideologies and political efforts, and the education management systems and implementation mechanisms were inflexible. In response, the 14th National Congress of the CPC declared the need to “place education in a strategic position for development and center efforts in improving the ideological, moral, and scientific competencies of the entire nation. These are the core approaches to realizing modernization in China.” To achieve these goals, the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council of the PRC jointly prepared the Outline of Education Reform and Development in China, which proposed for the first time that “the national fiscal education expenditure (including financial allocations at all levels to education, urban and rural education surcharge, corporate financing for elementary and middle schools, and tax exemptions for school run businesses) should account for 4% of the gross national product by the turn of the century.” The outline also proposed that “comprehensive measures should be implemented in a step-by-step approach for the reform of the education system to accelerate development and reform overly centralized systems, thereby creating a preliminary education system that promotes the reform of the socialist market and economic systems, political system, and technological system in China.” The introduction of the outline internationalized China’s education system while shifting the scope of education toward lifelong learning and diversified school management.

A new stage of comprehensive education reform (2010 to present): Three decades of hard work yielded gradual improvements to China’s education system and quality of school management. In the first decade of the 21st century, free compulsory urban and rural education was implemented, vocational education developed rapidly, and higher education was universalized. These achievements marked China’s progression toward educational equity. However, ceaseless global economic development and technological advancements have intensified the competition for human resources, and economic improvements whereby social transformation has placed new demands on the education system. Therefore, China’s education system continues to face new challenges, yet the system remains flawed in various ways. The key problems are outdated pedagogical concepts and curricular content, overburdened students at the elementary and middle school levels, and persistent difficulty in improving education quality. Students are unable to adapt to society and employment and demonstrate poor entrepreneurial skills, resulting in the lack of proficiency, innovativeness, and practical talents. The educational system is imperfect and schools lack school management competency. Unreasonable configuration of education structures lead to imbalanced rural and urban education development, with education development in poor or ethnic regions lagging behind the rest of the country. Investment in education is insufficient and the appropriate strategic positioning of education development has yet to be achieved. Thus, comprehensive education reform is necessary, particularly with respect to the key areas and links. Implementing ethical and moral education should be a core mission, reform and innovation should be the driving forces, and promoting fairness and improving quality should be the main strategic targets for efforts to reform the entrance examination system, separate management and evaluation, and foster innovativeness, multidisciplinary specialization, acquisition of practical skills, and internationally competitive talent. Announced in 2010, the Central Committee of the CPC and State Council of the PRC proposed a comprehensive solution in the Outline of China’s National Plan for Medium- and Long-Term Education Reform and Development (2010–2020). The outline was the starting point for shifting China’s education system from the largest in the world to one of the best in the world and pushed China to embark on a journey of intensive development.

broad prospects for educational modernization in the new era

The 19th National Congress of the CPC was held in 2017 and initiated a new era of socialism in China. Major challenges were highlighted during the event, including the contradiction between the people’s growing needs for improved living conditions and unequal and insufficient overall development. Recognizing these challenges, the CPC proposed a two-stage solution: (1) Modernize socialism during a 15-year period extending from 2020 to 2035 to build a prosperous society, and (2) transform China into a strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious, beautiful, and modern socialist power in the 15-year period from 2035 to 2050.

The rejuvenation and development of China depend on human resources and education; a powerful nation must first establish a powerful education system. The Report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC clearly indicated that building a strong educational system is the foundation for achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Education development must be prioritized, education modernization must be accelerated, and education must meet public expectations. The report provided clear direction for education reform and development, proposed new objectives, and highlighted new approaches for China in the new era. Between 2035 and 2050, the comprehensive reform of education must continue and outdated ideologies and institutional impediments must be discarded in order to overcome the stagnation of progress, to promote and reap the fruit of social achievements, to respect the laws of education, and to cultivate talent. More effort should be expended to optimize educational structures and layouts and improve education equality and quality. More effective measures for revitalizing education and promoting innovativeness must be implemented to increase the capacity of the system to deliver personalized, diverse, and high-quality education. We must insist on developing a socialist education system with Chinese characteristics and continue promoting the modernization of educational governance systems and competency.

draw from experience, face the future, and embrace the world

China’s educational system has undergone drastic changes during the four decades in which implementation of reform and opening policies improved national standards, enhanced overall national strength, and benefited billions of people. It is essential to review the historical progression of China’s economic reforms, analyze the solutions to complex problems implemented at each stage, and summarize the successes that fueled the development of China’s education system. Such measures can highlight the underlying patterns of various phenomena, the discovery of which can help design and develop a theoretical education system with Chinese characteristics and bolster confidence for implementing a socialist education system with Chinese characteristics. With this impetus our organization published the China’s Path to Education Modernization—Commemorating the 40th Year of Education Reform series. This series has been listed as a key element in the “40 Years of Reform and Opening Up” research project of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. The series focuses on the creation and modernization of a uniquely Chinese socialist education system. It is divided into ten volumes according to historical processes and major events, summarizes educational theory innovations, system innovations, policy innovations, and catalogs the achievements and experiences of the rapid development of China’s education system. This series helps facilitate the ongoing development of educational, theoretical, and language systems specific to China.

The objective of theoretical research is not only to understand the world but also to change the world. The ultimate goal of understanding laws is to put them in practice. China’s educational system has successfully transitioned from a weak system to a prominent system, and the transition from a prominent system to a strong system is an even grander, more difficult undertaking.

Only by expanding our understanding of the rules of education development and talent cultivation and the rules of success can China’s educational system continue to develop and modernize in an era of unprecedented access to information enabled by the Internet and digital technologies. Ceaseless progress can help the educational system modernize to prepare students for a future of uncertainty. The system’s goals should be to achieve fairer, higher quality, and more dynamic education and continue down the correct path toward a uniquely Chinese model of socialist education.

The achievements of China’s educational system not only benefit Chinese people but also contribute to global efforts to achieve educational innovations. There is no model path or single model for education modernization. In the past four decades of reform and opening of China’s education system, we have insisted upon learning about and drawing from the advanced concepts and successful experiences of other countries, respecting the patterns of education, and centering education on Chinese ideologies. China’s education has successfully achieved the rapid development and modernization of an overpopulated, imbalanced, and low-quality educational system. In this summary of 40 years of education reform and opening up, we are able to share our experiences and knowledge to help other countries modernize their educational systems as well as accelerate modernization our own educational system. We are gradually moving toward the center of the global stage, a position from which we will continue to contribute to and support all of humanity.


XXIV, 314
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (March)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. XXIV, 314 pp.

Biographical notes

Zhenguo Yuan (Author)

Zhenguo Yuan is a tenured professor of East China Normal University and currently the director of the Faculty of Education. He is also the vice president of China Education Association. He developed the theory of innovative education and pioneered the study of China’s educational policy.


Title: Innovations in Education Concepts
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
book preview page numper 38
book preview page numper 39
book preview page numper 40
340 pages