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Professor Bruce Johnstone, Former President of the State University of New York
Chinese Higher Education in the Context of the Worldwide University Change Agenda

This address deals with the Chinese higher education in the wider context of how universities worldwide are changing, or "reforming." The paper first deals with the question of change and reform: the degree to which there is a common or "converging" change agenda, the interplay of country-specific histories and cultures with those forces that are more nearly universal; and the roles of university leaders, governmental politicians and policy-makers, and scholars in both shaping and carrying out this agenda.

The address then turns to two themes in this worldwide change agenda: (1) the need/quest for other-than-governmental revenue, which gives rise to the emerging policies (and problems) of "cost-sharing," and (2) changes in the relationship between government (or governments) and universities, especially in the devolution of budgetary expenditure authority. In both of these trends, seemingly worldwide, there is a need for balance. One such balance is between the preservation of substantial state revenue contribution in recognition both of the public benefits associated with higher education as well as the need to expand participation and accessibility (especially among more remote and less privileged young people) and the emerging and necessary trends in the direction of greater parental, student, and philanthropic revenue contributions to higher education. A second balance is the need for continuing state steering and institutional accountability to government at the same time as good management and more responsive institutions demand increasing institutional autonomy and especially budgetary flexibility.

(china.org.cn, July 30, 2002)

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