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The CGHE annual conference returns for its sixth edition in 2021, taking place online as a virtual conference.

The conference sessions will take place over two half-days, starting on the afternoon of Tuesday 11 May 2021 from midday (GMT) until close, then on Wednesday 12 May 2021 from 9am to 2pm. The conference will open on the morning of Tuesday 11 May to allow for networking opportunities ahead of the formal sessions starting.

Details of speakers, keynotes and parallel sessions will be announced soon.

The Yidan Prize Logo with Text in English and Chinese

The Yidan Prize Conference Series: Europe 2021 will be held virtually in partnership with the Department of Education, University of Oxford.

This year’s conference will focus on the overarching theme:

‘What is innovation in education?’

The conference will honour the achievements of the Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2020, Professor Carl Wieman, and the Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureates 2020, Ms Lucy Lake and Ms Angeline Murimirwa from CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education).


Registration is now CLOSED; we have reached full capacity for this event.

We are sorry you missed out, but please do check back at the Yidan Prize Foundation and the Department of Education, University of Oxford’s websites in two weeks. All the videos and fantastic content from our speakers will be made available through our website and social media channels.

If you have any questions, please do email us at

Download the Attendee Guide.


2:00 PM  Welcome
Dr. Charles CHEN Yidan, Founder of Yidan Prize

2:05PM   Opening Address
Prof. Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford

2:25PM   Keynote
Dr. Sobhi Tawil, Director Future of Learning and Innovation, UNESCO

2:50PM   Break

3:00PM   Panel Discussion: How motivation affects behaviour – a human-centric approach

• Ms. Lucy Lake, CAMFED
• Ms. Angeline Murimirwa, CAMFED
• Ms. Vicky Colbert, FEN
• Prof. Harry Daniels, University of Oxford
• Dr. Susan James Relly, University of Oxford (moderator)

3:45PM   Q&A

4:00PM   Break

4:15PM    Panel Discussion: Innovating methods & systems, a scientific approach to improve teaching

  • Prof. Carl Wieman, Stanford University
  • Prof. Larry Hedges, Northwestern University
  • Prof. Thomas Kane, Harvard University
  • Prof. Sibel Erduran, University of Oxford
  • Dr. Susan James Relly, University of Oxford (moderator)

5:00PM  Q&A

5:15PM   Summary + Conclusions
Prof. Jo-Anne Baird, Director of the Department of Education, University of Oxford


To download a PDF of the Conference Agenda click on this link: Yidan Prize Agenda (PDF)

For Speakers’ Bios, please click here

Please mark your calendars for this fantastic conference in 2021.


Please note that all times listed above are in BST. For local times please visit the following website: 

2:00PM – 5:30PM (BST)

9:00PM-12:30AM (China)

9:00AM – 12.30PM (EDT)

Yidan Prize Text, in English and Chinese


Call for papers – now extended!
All proposals should be submitted by 5th March, 2021 . Proposals should be no more than 500 words. Accepted proposals will be notified by the end of March 2021.

This virtual conference is hosted by the Yidan Prize Foundation in partnership with the Department of Education, University of Oxford. It forms part of the Yidan Prize Conference Series. It aims to be forward-looking in its emphasis, focusing on what education will/can look like in the future. The conference themes are:

  • How will education be delivered in the future?
  • What are the skills young people need [in order] to pursue challenges they have?

The conference themes are intentionally broad to focus on the changing knowledge and skills needed for rapidly shifting global structures and how best education can deliver these for young people. Attention will also focus on how ideas and innovations could be used to support young people as part of the response to the global pandemic.

Five students with the strongest papers will be invited to join our Yidan Prize Summit and awards ceremony in Hong Kong this December, including flights and accommodation. They will also be invited to an exclusive meeting with the 2021 Yidan Prize laureates (to be announced in September).

Selected conference papers will be printed in an inaugural volume of a series of annual proceedings from the Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference.


Enquiries and Submissions:

Please ensure that your proposals are submitted to the e-mail above by the 5th March, 2021.

Please note that times are in BST.



This event has sadly been cancelled due to COVID. 

Are you a secondary school teacher in your first few years of teaching?  Come along to a day full of fresh ideas and research-informed CPD.

The programme will feature a choice of hands-on workshops and a poster session where practicing teachers will discuss their cutting-edge, subject-specific, classroom-based research.

The choice of workshops to update your knowledge of the latest educational research and its applicability in practice will include:

  • Preventing and de-escalating challenging behaviour
  • Developing students’ questioning
  • Reducing workload through whole-class marking and feedback strategies
  • Teaching with objects
  • Embedding metacognition-enhancing strategies in classroom practice
  • Planning the next steps in your career

With a keynote speech from Dr Jason Todd: Using students’ perspectives to inform pedagogy and curriculum design



Tickets: £30 (including lunch, refreshments and attendance certificate)


Come along and discover what our DPhil students and research staff have been working on around the Department in this year’s Annual Poster Conference.



Language, Cognition and Development

Applied Linguistics

English Medium Instruction

Child Development and Learning

Rees Centre

Centre for Educational Assessment



Policy, Economy and Society

Comparative and International Education


Centre for Global Higher Education

Philosophy, Religion and Education

Qualitative Methods Hub

Quantitative Methods Hub



Knowledge, Pedagogy and Development

Learning and New Technologies

Subject Pedagogy

Sociocultural and Activity Theory

Teacher Education and Professional Learning

The Education Deanery

This conference is part of the EARLI and Johan Jacobs Foundation Emerging Fields Group (EFG) seminar series “The potential of biophysiology for understanding learning and teaching experiences” (BioL&T) organised by Lars-Erik Malmberg (Department of Education, University of Oxford, UK), Tim Mainhard (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), Eija Pakarinen (Univeristy of Jyväskylä, Finland), Lucia Mason, Sara Scrimin (Univeristy of Padova, Italy), Andrew Martin, and Joel Pearson (University of New South Wales, Australia).

The group welcome all to attend its second annual conference, which will held in Oxford and hosted by the Department of Education.

Register by 29 May to attend. Download the registration form here.

Preliminary Programme

09.30 Arrival and registration (tea/coffee)
10.00 Welcome
10.15 – 11.00 Keynote: Vincent van Hees (Measurement of physical activity and rest using R-package GGIR)
11.00 – 12.00 Keynote: Visajaani Salonen and Elina Ketonen (From raw biosignal data to user friendly data for experience sampling studies)
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch and poster presentations
13.00 – 14.30 Breakout groups around poster themes
14.30 – 15.00 Coffee/tea break
15.00 – 15.45 Keynote: Helen Dawes and Patrick Esser (Objective measurements of physical activity in adolesecnts – a recent UK example in ~10K students)
16.00 – 17.00 Discussions/additional commentary/short talks
17.00 – 18.00 Drinks & nibbles

For further information please get in touch with or


Vincent van Hees: Measurement of physical activity and rest using R-package GGIR
The emergence of raw data accelerometry in research has provided the opportunity to collaborate more easily across research disciplines. However, the raw data collection also introduced a need for effective tools to process this kind of data. In this talk I will present R package GGIR and present an overview of how it works and motivate the main decisions that were made. I will cover: error reduction, decisions on how to aggregate the data, meaningful segmentation of the time series, and the sustainability of open source software tools like GGIR.

Elina Ketonen & Visajaani Salonen: From raw biosignal data to user friendly data for experience sampling studies
Data processing is an important part of studies dealing with biophysiological sensors (e.g., activity/gravity, heart rate). Depending on the set frequency (Hz) of the sensors, we accumulate large amounts of raw data (e.g., 100 Hz gives 100 reports per second). For commercial products the raw data contains little or no information about how to process the data, as such algorithms can be protected by business secrecy. Visajaani Salonen’s task as a methodology specialist is to manipulate raw-signals or company manipulated data into an aggregated format to preserve as much information as possible about the participant and his or her activity or heart rate. In this presentation we describe how we collect, manage and process biosignal data to link with experience sampling method (ESM) data in the “Bridging the GAPS “study carried out at the University of Helsinki. In total 139 Finnish secondary school students participated in the study, for two weeks.

We processed biophysiological data from Polar activity bracelets and FirstBeat health-monitoring sensors (two sensors applied to the chest). The Polar bracelet produces aggregated activity/sleep data in the form of Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) values for 30 second intervals. The FirstBeat health-monitoring device produces one-second interval data for heart rate and many additional variables pre-calculated from heart rate variability. FirstBeat also produces a list of RR intervals (intervals between successive heartbeats), serving information about participants’ level of stress and recovery. Data from both devices need to be aggregated into longer epochs in order to achieve a more reliable description of states of heart rate or activity.

An interesting, and largely unknown challenge is within which time-window we can merge self-reports from experience sampling with aggregated biophysiological measure. Would it be the experience (e.g., positive emotions at Time T) associated with a certain level of activity within a time-window that is five minutes wider (± 5 min) than the self-report, or would ± 10 min or ± 15 min be reasonable? In addition, what is the most efficient data analytic method to do this? We compare several data processing methods, for example time interval mean, standard deviation, Gaussian meaning [Costa, 2012], nonlinear dynamics [Voss, 2009] and continuous time-modeling [Voelke, 2012]) for aggregating physiological data to match the ESM time points. These procedures are possible to carry out using the R-statistical programming language. The testing of the different data-processing options as well as some preliminary empirical findings regarding biophysiological correlates of students’ self-reported experiences are presented in the seminar.

Helen Dawes & Patrick Esser Objective measurements of Physical Activity in adolescents – a recent UK example in ~10K students
Current society is moving less and less, resulting in reduced fitness levels leading to detrimental health status as visible from increased obesity rates.  Recent reports have shown that 1 in 5 pupils in reception are overweight or obese. By year six, this has increased to ~35% of pupils making the UK one of the most obese and least fit countries in the world. The Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan for Action (2016) calls for the education and encouragement of healthy living and promotes the minimum of an hour of physical activity (PA) per day. However, children and adolescents are meeting these recommendations only in 18-27%.

Within this session, we highlight subjective and objective measurements of PA ranging from self-report diaries to the emerging trend of using wrist-worn accelerometers. We will discuss a novel analysis pipeline of PA, in addition to providing examples of applications within studies assessing (the lack of) PA in physical education classes in 100+ schools (~10,000 students) within the UK.

About the Speakers

Professor Vincent van Hees, Netherlands eScience Center
The central theme of Vincent’s work has been the development of algorithms to process data from wearable movement sensors as used for population research on human behaviour, including sleep and physical activity.  Vincent holds a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Cambridge after which he did a post-doc at Newcastle University. At the Netherlands eScience Center, Vincent’s current focus is on novel approaches for time series and sensor data analysis. Vincent translated his expertise in an open source R package GGIR (vignettegithub), which has so far been used in over 60 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr Elina Ketonen & Visajaani Salonen, University of Helsinki, Finland
Elina Ketonen is postdoctoral researcher in Educational Psychology at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. Currently, Elina Ketonen is a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. She has used both cross-sectional, longitudinal and experience sampling datasets in her research and a wide variety of statistical methods, such as variable- and person-oriented approaches, multilevel modelling and intraindividual analyses. Most recently, she has started to examine the biophysiological correlates of students’ self-reported experiences by combining biosignal data with experience sampling data.

Visajaani is as a mathematics teacher in a comprehensive school and a vocational school. He is currently working as a project planner (methodology specialist) in the Centre for Education Assessment as part of the Faculty of Educational Sciences in the University of Helsinki. His focus in the Mathrack-project is to assist in data collection and handle technical equipment. The third project, mainly concerning physiological data analysis, is Bridging the GAPS-study lead by Katariina Salmela-Aro and Kirsti Lonka. His other specialities are also general data processing, item response modelling and statistical analysis. Visajaani is a PhD student supervised by Markku Hannula. The PhD research is concerning modelling problems for nationally large datasets from different decades.

Professor Helen Dawes and Dr Patrick Esser, University of Oxford Brookes
Helen Dawes and Patrick Esser are active researchers in the centre for Movement, Occupation and Rehabilitation Sciences (MORES) at Oxford Brookes University. Dr Esser is a data scientist with a background in engineering, specifically looking at measurements of movement quality and quantity. He and his team are developing measures of Physical Activity based on accelerometry measurements, which can be used in both adults and paediatric populations. Prof Dawes, director and physiotherapist, is internationally renowned for running clinical exercise trials in both adult and paediatric populations with and without underlying conditions. She has recently conducted a study investigating physical activity, or lack thereof, in adolescents in mainstream schools across the UK in collaboration with the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging at the University of Oxford. More information can be found on the MORES website.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

To receive more event details from the Department of Education, join our mailing list.

The BAAL Linguistics and Knowledge about Language in Education (LKALE) Special Interest Group is pleased to announce that this year’s meeting will be held on Friday 5 July, at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, hosted by the Applied Linguistics Research Group, Department of Education, University of Oxford.  The theme this year will be ‘Developing Reading’ and we are delighted to welcome two keynote speakers who are internationally renowned experts in this area: Dr Holly Joseph from the University of Reading, and Professor Kate Nation from the University of Oxford.

Register now

Some en-suite rooms have been provisionally set aside at St. Anne’s in case you are planning on spending the night in Oxford either on the 4th or the 5th itself.  To book a room at St. Anne’s please use this link: and the code is EDU30556.

Further information about the conference can be found here:

If you have any queries, please email:

About the Department of Education

In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

To receive more event details from the Department of Education, join our mailing list.

The Department of Education is hosting a one-day symposium in collaboration with Lingnan University and UCL to explore higher education in China, including the role of liberal arts education.

Presentations as follows:

Can University Qualification Propel Social Mobility? A Review of Higher Education Expansion and Graduate Employment in China

Dr Chan, Wing Kit, Associate Professor. Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

University enrolment has increased by seven folds in China in the past two decades as Beijing started to expand its higher education sector since 1999. This decision made in a context that China was facing massive unemployment accompanied by low domestic consumption and such a fees-charging expansion would hit two birds with one stone. While it was expected to meet the growing demand for a better-educated labour force for the country, for many parents, their willingness to invest in their children’s degrees at the expense of other rather necessities is motivated by a belief that university qualification would deliver an opportunity for upward social mobility. With confidence from the cost-sharing theory, fees were introduced and increased in public universities; then, private universities emerged in China. The momentum generated by this belief translated into a thirst for university qualification and transformed the university system from its elitist stage to a massive one with much more private resources.

Thanks to an abundant supply of university graduates, China is now the world’s second-biggest economy, but has the belief in education would change the life course of an individual from disadvantaged background turned fruitful in equivalent terms? This paper attempts to assess the outcome of this belief by firstly reviewing studies focusing on the relationship between university qualification and social mobility, secondly by a second-hand data analysis on the statistics of higher education expansion and graduate employment, with reference to the government’s intervention in resources allocation among institutions of various labels, administrative levels or locations. Findings in this study illuminate a critical dilemma for policymakers: starting salary of university graduates has been declining in real terms, and students without expansion would have become peasant workers are taking up jobs previously filled by them, both challenging an assumption of the cost-sharing theory that private returns outweigh social ones in higher education. This paper suggests that the privatisation of primary and in particular secondary education and the concentration of resources on a small number of prestigious universities that take students mainly from private schools are the key reasons in hindering university qualification from propelling social mobility. As an unintended consequence, China has become a less equal society after the expansion, a thorough review of the strategy is suggested for the policymakers. 

Does higher education pay off after college expansion? Evidence from nationwide surveys in China

 Jin JIANG, Research Assistant Professor, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

East Asian countries witnessed a dramatic college expansion in recent decades. China is not an exceptional case. From the beginning of 1999, the higher education system of Mainland China undergone an unprecedented expansion, resulting more than six million college graduates flooding in labour market annually since 2003. Early studies suggest that college expansion worsens graduate employment while assuming a stable demand for skilled labour. However, policy innovation and an increasing supply of college-educated labour may stimulate employment opportunities. Since the launch of China’s plan for ‘mass entrepreneurship and innovation’, a large supply of graduates may meet the growing demand for skilled labour and even stimulate the growth of job opportunities.

Against the background outlined above, this study examines whether higher education pays off after college expansion in China by considering both the higher education expansion and the changing labour market. Drawing on the pooled data from nationwide surveys (Chinese General Social Survey) of 2006 and 2015, the author adopts the Difference in Differences (DiD) method to compare the earnings premium of higher education degree holders (versus upper secondary graduates) before and after colleague expansion. The results suggest that earning premium of higher education remains significant despite college expansion, while the premium decreases for young people who experienced expansion. In addition, this study finds significant impacts of employment status and company types on earnings. Young entrepreneurs or self-employed youth earn more than employees of the same age cohorts, and young people working in foreign-owned companies have more earnings than those working in private firms. More importantly, the employment status and company types explain a substantial amount of the difference of earnings premium before and after expansion. This study provides important theoretical and policy implications for education expansion and graduate employment.


This study is part of the research project entitled “Graduate employment amid the massification of higher education and changing labour markets: Cross-sectional and multi-level evidence from urban China since 2003”, funded by a Lingnan University Direct Grant (grant reference DR19B7). The author gratefully acknowledges the funding support.

A Critical Review of Minban and Transnational Higher Education in China: Challenges and Opportunities

Professor Ka Ho Mok 

Since two decades ago, the Chinese Government has begun to expand higher education enrolment in order to meet the pressing demand for higher education, hence minban (people run) and different forms of Sino-foreign cooperation / transnational higher education have emerged in Mainland China. Although the Chinese Government has been able to invest more in the public higher education sector, public universities are unable to cater for the increasing demand for higher learning, It is against this policy background that minban and other forms of transnational higher education have flourished. This paper critically examines how these minban and transnational higher education institutions strive for success in recruiting students through offering alternative learning experiences. In addition, this paper also discusses major challenges these institutions have confronted, with particular reference to examine their changing relationship with the state and university governance matters. The paper concludes with discussion related to development opportunities of minban / transnational higher education in China.

The Proof of Liberal Arts Education is in Students’ Actual Learning Outcomes

Leonard K. Cheng, Lingnan University

I shall discuss the strengths of liberal arts education (LAE) as commonly perceived by its advocates, especially in view of the impact of computer-based automation and emergence of Artificial Intelligence technologies. These positive views are in contrast to the serious challenges faced by LAE in the US, including the difficulties of graduates in securing reasonably good jobs and the negative connotation generally associated with both “liberal” and “arts”. I shall argue that, to understand the gap between ideal and reality, we must look at whether the actual student learning outcomes match the central to the goals of LAE.   In China, there is also a dis-connect between the praises for “general education” and “quality education” and the widespread disappointment among students and teachers in the programmes being implemented.

Making reference to Lingnan’s experience with liberal arts education, I shall highlight a pragmatic approach that views professional training as not only compatible with the fundamental values of liberal arts but also necessary to showcase the strengths of LAE, which among other things will require a de-emphasis of the political ideology traditionally associated with this form of education in the US and making general education a central feature of undergraduate education in China.

Bring Ontology Back In: the Latest Trends of University Changes in the Mainland China.

Professor Shi Zhongying

In recent decades, the rapid expansion and quality development of universities in the mainland China has gradually attracted the world-wide interests and attention. Many international education researchers, university leaders and policy makers are familiar with a set of Chinese university policies such as “211 project”、“985 project” or the latest “Double-First Class Initiative”, which have been released during the past 20 years. The design of these continuous university policies are convinced to meet the instrumental or external requirement of economic growth and national modernization. However, along with the implementation of these policies, some opposite voices has emerged, criticizing the instrumentalization and utilization of universities. Under this circumstance, “Bring Ontology Back In” was proposed a few years ago by some higher education researchers and finally accepted by policy decision makers and university leaders. From my own point of view, “Bring Ontology Back In” has become one of the most dominant ideas which has generated many influences on the current and definitely on the future Chinese university strategies, resources distribution, curriculum and teaching policy, quality evaluation and faculty development etc. 

From isolation to integration -internationalization, American influence and the de-Sovietization reform of Chinese higher education in 1980s and beyond

Wenqin Shen,Graduate school of education, Peking University

The reform of China’s higher education in the 1980s was part of the agenda of reform and opening up. In a sense, this reform can be seen as a process of de-Sovietization, efforts to integration to the international academic community and adaption to global model of higher education. Based on interviews with senior scholars, archival materials and relevant literatures, this presentation analyzes the intertwined reforms of China’s higher education in the 1980s. Key elements of the reforms include changing the over-specialized undergraduate education model, changing the institutional structure formed in 1952 which copied the soviet model, building the university as teaching centers and research centers, embracing internationalization, and so on. At the same time, the reforms were also shaped by geopolitics (the Sino-US relations) during this period, the American influences (policy transfer, Chinese American Scholars, etc) played an important role in the de-Sovietization process. For various reasons, this reform is only partially successful, meaning that the legacy of the Soviet model will continue to have an impact on Chinese higher education.

China ‘goes out’ in a centre/periphery world: Incentivising international publications in the humanities and social sciences

Xin Xu

The current expansion of English language publishing by scholars from China is supported by national and university policies, including monetary and career incentives to publish in English. These incentives, which extend to work in the humanities and social sciences (HSS, the focus of this paper) as well as the natural sciences and technologies, are situated in evolving strategies of internationalisation. China has moved from an internationalisation strategy simply based on learning from the West, to a ‘going out’ strategy designed to both lift domestic research capacity and advance China’s influence in the world. But ‘going out’ strategy nonetheless embodies ambiguities and dilemmas. The world of academic knowledge is not a level playing field but more closely approximates the centre/periphery dynamic described in world systems theory. By focusing on English language publishing, Chinese universities run the risk of downplaying work in national language – especially important in the HSS – and creating knowledge from and about China primarily in Western terms without adding a distinctive Chinese strand to the global conversation. Incentives to publish in international journals generate heated political and scholarly discussions in China. This study explores the influence of those incentives in the context of a centre-periphery world. It draws on analysis of 172 institution-level documents concerning internationalisation incentives, and semi-structured interviews with 75 HSS academics, university senior administrators, and journal editors. The study identifies practices within China’s HSS that reproduce centre/periphery relationships, and also alternative dynamics that challenge the existing global power hierarchies in HSS.

Collectivism in shaping Chinese higher education: Higher education and evolving interpretations of the collective

Lili Yang, Department of Education, University of Oxford

Since the late 19th century encounters between Chinese and Western traditions have shaped contemporary China. These encounters have been the source of epochal changes, including the erosion of Confucian civilisational order, the establishment of Marxism-Leninism as the country’s official ideology in 1949, and the re-emergence of Confucianism and economic (neo-)liberalism in the post-1978 period.

Despite these changes, the collectivist tradition has been retained, though it is expressed differently in contemporary China. Both the enduring nature of collectivism and the changes it has experienced may be enlightened by illustrating evolving interpretations of the collective. By exploring the evolution of collectivism in China, this paper provides a unique perspective on the competing influences of ancient Chinese traditions, Marxism-Leninism, and Western (neo-)liberalism. It argues that collectivism has been ever-present in China, but taken on a distinct form under the influence of Confucianism and Marxism-Leninism respectively, and today takes the form of Marxist-Leninist collectivism with Confucian attributes.

Certain unique characteristics of the contemporary Chinese higher education system embody this evolving collectivist tradition. Firstly, the primary missions of higher education institutions are primarily state-oriented, reflective of the state as the core collective entity in contemporary China, and which also dictates the importance of the state-university relationship in China. Secondly, because the importance of the family as a collective entity has grown since the 1980s, the tight linkage between higher education and family ambition has taken on renewed significance. Thirdly, individuals’ desire to receive higher education is partly informed by the Confucian idea of self-cultivationwhich is collectivist-oriented as wellthough this has been challenged by the influence of (neo-)liberalism since the 1980s. Lastly, there is a clear preference for the practical use of knowledge over the pursuit of pure knowledge, similarly influenced by the collectivist orientation of China since ancient times.

From ‘state-controlling’ to ‘state-facilitating’: the transformation of governance of higher education in China


In the past two decades, Chinese higher education has been experiencing a transition of the governance model: from a two-way model of “Government-University” to a coordinate triangle of “Government-University-Market”. This transition in governance is the most salient feature of the development of Chinese higher education. However, different from most Anglo-Saxon countries where the idea of market was underpinned by neo-liberalism, the market mechanism was selectively adopted by the state as an effective instrument to allocate resources in China.

This article sets out to examine, against the wider policy context, how the market principle has been injected in Chinese higher education governance since late 1970s, how the market mechanism was developed during the expansion period (late 1990s to the early 21 century) and how it was formulated in the new era when quality and accountability were emphasized and the tension between the global and the national were intensified (2006 or so to date). In particular, this article aims to explore how the national and global dynamics have shaped the transition of HE governance in China and what challenges this new governance model is confronted with. The discussion will be forwarded to how Chinese universities will enhance its own agency and manage to reorganize themselves in the nation-globe tension while retaining stable identities. The fundamental questions about what knowledge and what values to be produced in Chinese universities will be reiterated. Data to support the analysis is mainly from policy documents, national educational statistics and secondhand literature.

National/Global Synergy in the Development of Higher Education and Science in China since 1978

Simon Marginson

The paper reviews the rapid development of higher education and science in China in the last forty years. It discusses the conditions and strategies of that development, including the ways that it embodies a distinctive Chinese approach to higher education. In particular, the paper reflects on the policies whereby China coordinated with globalization in higher education and science after 1978, in building national capacity and global influence. Scale, nation-state policy goals and accelerated investment on their own are necessary but not sufficient (otherwise Saudi Arabia’s research universities would be stronger than they are). The effective national/global synergy developed by China, made possible by the international openness and part-devolution to science communities that was implemented in the Deng Xiaoping era, has been crucial in the rapid rise of China’s universities and science. This national/global synergy—and its potentials, tensions and limits—in turn has determined the nature of the achievement and will shape its future evolution.

About the Department of Education

In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

To receive more event details from the Department of Education, join our mailing list.

The conference will include the 2019 Burton R Clark lecture on higher education, titled ‘University governance and academic work: the business model and its impact on innovation and creativity’ from Professor Michael Shattock. The conference is free but registration is essential.

Conference Information

2019 Burton R Clark lecture on higher education – University governance and academic work: the ‘business model’ and its impact on innovation and creativity
Michael Shattock

On a learning curve: new realities for higher education in a changing global context
Marijk van der Wende

Transforming university teaching
Paul Ashwin

Panel on Brexit, UK and worldwide higher education
Ellen Hazelkorn (Chair), CGHE
Lucy Shackleton, UUK
Ludovic Highman, QS

David Palfreyman, University of Oxford
Nick Hillman, HEPI

Parallel sessions

Inward international students in China and their implications for global common goods
Lin Tian and Nian Cai Liu

What are public goods of Japan’s higher education?
Futao Huang and Kiyomi Horiuchi

Pulling apart? Demand for cognitive skills and changes in graduate earnings inequality: Evidence from across Europe in the 21st century
Golo Henseke and Francis Green

Do you hear what graduates are saying? A study of job searches and career development of Chinese graduates from UK universities
Ka Ho Mok

Recent trends in UK university-industry research cooperation: torn between ‘localisation’ and ‘globalisation’?
Robert Tijssen, Alfredo Yegros and Wouter van de Klippe

Brexit, emotions and identity dynamics in Higher Education
Vassiliki Papatsiba and Simon Marginson

Three stories of differentiation and the quest for a balanced higher education system
Vincent Carpentier

Market exit: The implications for public and private higher education in the UK
Stephen Hunt and Vikki Boliver

‘First in the family’ university graduates in England
Morag Henderson, Nikki Shure and Anna Adamecz-Volgyi

Student loan repayment and the consequences of borrowing among United States college students
Stephen L. DesJardins and KC Deane

Negotiated local orders: A cross-national comparison of university governance and leadership
Jurgen Enders, Aniko Horvath and Michael Shattock

A delicate balance: Optimising individual aspirations and institutional missions in higher education
Celia Whitchurch and Giulio Marini

For more information, including abstracts visit the Centre for Global Higher Education’s event page.

Conference Programme

Download the full conference programme.

About the Department of Education

In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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