22 SES 07 A, Internationalisation: Case Study Papers (Part 3)
Paper Session continued from22 SES 06 A
Research Background, Questions and Objective
The higher education system in Mainland China has the largest student body in the world (China Education Daily 2015), and China is also the largest source of international students (Ministry of Education 2015). On the global employment market it is expected that the large population of Chinese job-seekers, who have a "price advantage", may be the rivals of high-skilled workers within high-cost EU countries (Brown et al. 2008, 141-42). In Hong Kong, Mainland students' "Hong Kong dream" has already crossed swords with the local "anti-Mainlandisation" discourse (Xu 2015).
"Studying abroad fever" is still on the rise in Mainland China. Students pay tuition fees to foreign colleges and universities and this leads to an outflow of domestic funds. China used to limit its higher education system to a small-scale. Many applicants who were turned away by Chinese institutions then chose to study abroad. In 1999, under the impact of the Asian financial crisis, the government decided to encourage massification in higher education as a countermeasure by demanding high tuition fees from all participants in tertiary education. Through massification, those who had been turned away by Chinese institutions and had to study abroad would then pursue an education at home instead and, consequently, their money would not flow abroad (Xia and Gu 2001). Contrary to the policy makers' intentions, however, the number of students going abroad has only increased since 1999. In 2014, the outflow had risen to almost 460,000 Chinese students (Ministry of Education 2015); the UK received nearly 59,000 of them, more than the total number of students from the EU countries combined (BBC 2015).
This research project focuses on the reasons behind the presence of this "studying abroad fever" even though the higher education system within China has been radically expanded. It attempts to explore and interpret this phenomenon as well as its possible social consequences by answering the following research questions:
What are the possible driving forces behind this "studying abroad fever"? How may this trend influence social stratification within China? How may social reproduction within China impact the global employment market?
The objective in answering these questions through the application of relevant theories is to analyse the phenomenon of Chinese cross-border students in relation to the local higher education system and the trend of social reproduction both within China and within global processes.
An internet search reveals that cross-border Chinese students have attracted the attention of many researchers who study this group in relation to the domestic and international contexts, touching upon such aspects as economics and psychology (e.g. Ghazarian 2014, Jiang 2013, Xu 2015), and not least culture (e.g. Bodycott et al.). This research project is studying the same group, but is focusing on social structure, particularly in relation to the critical role that the state plays in the process.
The theories of Perrier Bourdieu and Jonathan Friedman, both of which highlight relational thinking, emphasise the importance of history and explore underlying structures, are the major guiding principles. Bourdieu (1990; 1996) relates education to society, defining schools as the institutions of social reproduction. Holders of capital who intend to maintain their position in the social space may reproduce their capital through education, which is therefore a process of social reproduction. Friedman (2008a; 2008b) relates local aspects to the global world, assuming that local aspects are reproduced within larger global processes. The global arena is where localities interact, wile local phenomena can only be understood within the contexts of global systems.
Reference BBC.com. 2015. "Chinese Undergraduate Students in UK Are More than the Total of the International Students from EU Countries." January 16. Accessed January 2016. http://www.bbc.com/ukchina/simp/uk_education/2015/01/150116_edu_foreign_students_chinese. Bodycott, Peter and Ada Lai. 2012. "The Influence and Implications of Chinese Culture in the Decision to Undertake Cross-Border Higher Education." Journal of Studies in International Education 16(3): 252-70. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1996. The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu, Pierre, and Jean-Claude Passeron. 1990. Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London: Sage Publications. Brown, Philip. 2008. "Education, Globalisation and the Future of the Knowledge Economy." European Educational Research Journal, Volume 7 (2). China Education Daily. 2015. "A Progress from 'Big Size' to 'High Quality' of the Higher Education System in China." December 05. Accessed January 2016. http://www.moe.gov.cn/jyb_xwfb/xw_fbh/moe_2069/xwfbh_2015n/xwfb_151204/151204_mtbd/201512/t20151207_223314.html. Dong, Jingyi. 2015. "A Study of Rural Students in the Higher Education System in China in Relation to Their Context". Doctor dissertation. NTNU. Accessed December, 2015. http://hdl.handle.net/11250/283562 Friedman, Kajsa Ekholm, and Jonathan Friedman. 2008a. Historical Transformations The Anthropology of Global Systems. UK: AltaMira Press. —. 2008b. Modernities, Class, and the Contradictions of Globalization The Anthropology of Global Systems. UK: AltaMira Press. Ghazarian, Peter. 2014. "Changing destinations: Ideal attraction and actual movement of cross-border tertiary students from mainland China." International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives 13 (1). He, Qinglian. 2003. "Comments on the Social Consequences of Marketization of Education in China." Heqinglian.net, June. Accessed January 2016. http://heqinglian.net/2006/12/03/%E6%88%91%E4%BB%AC%E4%BB%8D%E7%84%B6%E5%9C%A8%E4%BB%B0%E6%9C%9B%E6%98%9F%E7%A9%BA-%E4%B8%96%E7%BA%AA%E4%B9%8B%E4%BA%A4%E7%9A%84%E5%9B%9E%E6%9C%9B-0-00-00-0-00-0-00-0-0-00-0-59-22/ Jiang, Shanshan. 2013. "The Studying Abroad Fever: A Case Study of the Rise of the Middle Class in China and International Education." Master thesis. University of California. Accessed December, 2015. http://escholarship.org/uc/item/723998tc#page-3 Li, Lanqing. 2003. On Education: Interviews with Li Lanqing. Beijing: People's Education Press. Ministry of Education of PRC. 2015. "Student Outflow Was 459.8 Thousand in 2012." Education.news.cn. Accessed December 2015. http://education.news.cn/2015-03/05/c_1114534837.htm New.cn. 2015. "Students Going Abroad Amounted to 459.8 Thousand Last Year." July 31. Accessed January 2016. http://education.news.cn/2015-07/31/c_128080424.htm. Xia, Jun and Xuewen Gu. 2001. "Is It Worthwhile for Chinese to Study Abroad at Their Own Expense of 4 Billion Yuan Annually?" Edu.sina.com.cn, February 27. Accessed January 2016. http://edu.sina.com.cn/s/21226.shtml. Xu, Cora Lingling. 2015. "When the Hong Kong Dream Meets the Anti-Mainlandisation Discourse: Mainland Chinese Students in Hong Kong." Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 44( 3): 15–47.
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