Thursday, November 7, 2019 with Professor Hamish Coates, Professor Wen Wen, Professor Manja Klemencic, and Professor Francesca Purcell at Harvard University.
The seminar started with a conversation in the development of Chinese higher education and its influence worldwide. Professor Coates from Institute of Education, Tsinghua University, emphasized that studying China is essential to understanding higher education fundamentally over the next 20-40 years. Professor Coates shared information and research on prevailing reverberations, including but not limited to Students, Money, Projects, Papers, Journals, Partnerships, Scholars, Relationships, Relevance, Rankings, and Topics.
The seminar analyzed the contemporary situation in Chinese higher education and educated audience about the Gao Kao reform and Double first-class policy. Professor Coates shared some insights on the shape of things to come for Chinese higher education, such as Institutional governance, Innovation policies, Embedded technology, Educational theories, Global communities, Articulated excellences, Reformed productivities, Innovation ecosystems, Redesigned institutions, and Leadership future.
Professor Wen provided clues to explain the dynamics and challenged in China’s higher education. She encouraged audiences to understand China’s Higher Education in terms of China and understand the political culture of China because governance is integral to higher education and to its success even more in China than in most other countries. She analyzed how the vertical duality of China’s governance is operating top-down policy control and facilitating bottom-up energy and dynamic in higher education development. She challenges the argument that Chinese top research universities might hit a ‘glass ceiling’ because of lack of Western forms of university autonomy and academic freedom. She gave examples of Chinese traditional philosophy on how to understand self-satisfaction (zide) as the highest level of academic freedom.
In conclusion, there are tensions and limits of Chinese universities, but they are diminishing on a scale. Ph.D. in China is going to double over the next 10 years, also an increase in BA and MA. Online curriculum will be used across universities. We need to think about how to measure educational success and student experience. Will China move toward a model of higher education or can Chinese universities compete against other countries? The answer it that at the moment, it’s too early to tell, further research and data are required to answer this question. However, the answer to this question depends at least partly on the larger evolution of the global role and influence of Chinese civilization.