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Center on Chinese Education


(A) Research on Access and Financing of Quality Compulsory Education


Author/ Coauthors




Tsang, M.

Intergovernmental grants and the financing of compulsory education in China (in English) [Harvard China Review, 2002: 15-20.] 

Since the mid-1980s, China has made substantial progress in the reform of the financing of education, including the establishment of a decentralized and diversified system of financing and the mobilization of additional resources for the education sector. In compulsory education, however, significant challenges remain; they include, in particular, the financial difficulties of poor and rural areas as well as large and widening disparities in per-student spending across areas. Intergovernmental grants from central and provincial levels could be used to address these challenges but their use in China has so far been very limited. This paper argues for the establishment of a regularized and substantial scheme of intergovernmental grants in the financing of compulsory education and highlights some of the issues to be explored in the future. The analysis draws upon information on educational financing in China and examines the potential relevance of the experience of other large decentralized systems in the use of intergovernmental grants.


Tsang, M., Wei, X. & Xiao, J. (eds.)

Economic analysis of educational policy (Part I, in Chinese) [2000, People's Education Press, China.] 

The book consists of three parts, covering policy issues in basic education, higher education, and adult education in China respectively. The six studies on basic education in Part I are: (1) compulsory education expenditure and the economic burden on households in poor areas; (2) study on household income and the burden of education expenditure in urban China; (3) a factor analysis of repetition and dropping out in primary education; (4) analysis of the returns to primary and secondary education in poor areas in China; (5) empirical analysis of disparities in Chinese educational development; and (6) theoretical and empirical analysis of a system of intergovernmental grants in compulsory education in China. The book was published by the People's Education Press, China


Du, Y.

Study on uneven educational development (in Chinese)  [1999 Beijing Normal University Press, China.] 

This dissertation focuses on the differences of educational development among provinces in China. It attempts to make scholarly contributions in three aspects: empirical analysis, theoretical analysis, and policy analysis. In the empirical analysis, the study employs statistical methods to uncover the economic causes of the differences of educational development among provinces in China. In the theoretical analysis, the study explores educational development from three different schools: the neoclassical school, the neo-institutional school, and economic-development theory. And in policy analysis, the study explores the responses to differences of educational development in China. The book was published by Beijing Normal University Press, China.



Shang, Lihao 

Research on Chinese Modern Educational Charge System (in Chinese) [Lihao Shang] 

This article observes during the transformation of modern China's educational system, the development process on public educational charge system. The results demonstrate that the development of public educational charge system was affected by many factors. Empirical study shows that it was an important tunnel to raise educational funds, and there were different developmental directions between higher education and basic education.



Li, L. & Tsang, M. 

The new school finance in the United States (in Chinese) [Jiaoyu Yanjiu (Educational Research), 2002(5): 84-89.] 

This paper firstly analyzes the development history of American school finance, and addresses that its focus changes from fiscal adequacy. Fiscal adequacy is closely related to education outcomes. Specific fundamental levels of education inputs have to be guaranteed to achieve certain basic education outcomes. Secondly, the paper takes the examples of Texas, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Wyoming, describes three different adequacy measurement models, and analyzes the paths to reach fiscal adequacy in the U.S. at the present. Finally, the authors discuss the use of international experiences for reference to improving the compulsory education financing system in China, and policy implications are concluded.



D. Li and M. Tsang

Household education decisions and implications for gender inequality in education in rural China (in English). [China: An International Journal, 2003, 1(2): 224-248.]

This study examines economic, social, and cultural factors in household education decisions and their implications for gender inequality in education in rural China.  It is guided by a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the insights from both the literature on gender studies and disciplinary analyses. Data from this study come from two sources: a survey of four hundred households from four poor rural counties in Gansu and Hebei, and a literature search of local accounts and studies, around the 1993-95 period.  This study reveals that a gender hierarchy existed in household education decisions in the four poor rural counties in China.  It shows that parents had higher educational expectations for boys than for girls.   It demonstrates that household education spending was a heavy economic burden for a significant number of poor rural households.   The study also finds that school non-attendance rates were higher for girls than for boys in the majority of the counties.  Multivariate analysis indicates school attendance was related to a number of factors including economic burden of education spending and gender; but the relationship appeared to differ across the counties. It cautions us to pay more attention to local context and conditions when we conduct gender analysis on education in rural China.  The study concludes with a discussion of the potential and limitation of some strategies often discussed in the literature on education and national development.



Xiao, J.

Social environment of the rural west (in Chinese). [Forthcoming in Journal of Strategy and Management.]



Qiu, Lin

Special policies to upgrade the quality of rural teachers (in Chinese), China [2004 Lin Qiu.]



Xiong, C.

On reflective teaching (in Chinese), China [2004 Xiong.]



Tsang, M. & Ding, Y. Resource utilization and disparities in compulsory education in China (Published in China Review, 2005, copy righted).



Tsang, M., Yang, C., and Qiu, L. Minority Education in Yunnan: Development, Challenges, and Policies (copyright, Tsang-Yang-Qiu, 2004).



Yuan, L. Research on a financial-aid scheme in Chinese compulsory education for children from poor background (in Chinese.  Copyright, Yuan et. al., 2005)
A-13* Tsang, M. Yang, C. & Qiu, L.   Issues and policies in minority education in Yunnan. In Tsang, M., Research on the Reform of the Financing of compulsory education in China. Education Science Press, Beijing, China. (2006)
A-14* Tsang, M., Ding, X., & Shen, H. Rural-urban disparities in private tutoring in lower-secondary education in China. Education and Economics. (2010)
A-15* Zhang, Y., Mizunoya, S., You, Y., & Tsang, M.  Financial inequity in basic education in selected OECD countries.  International Education Studies, 4(3): 3-22.(2010)
A-16* Tsang, M,  Ding, X., Yan, F. & Ding, Y. Financing compulsory education in China: Efficiency, equity, and adequacy.  Beijing, China: Peking University Press. (in Chinese, 2011)
A-17* Gong, X. & Tsang, M. Interprovincial and Regional Inequity in the Financing of Compulsory Education in China (2011), in Tiedan Huang, Alexander W. Wiseman (ed.) The Impact and Transformation of Education Policy in China (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Volume 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.43-78)
A-18* Ding, Yanqing Dissertation: Financial inequalities and inequality in the financing of compulsory education in China