• John N. Hawkins


China has clearly set itself on a path to become not only a regional but also a world leader. But in order to do so, its leaders are convinced that China’s power is linked to producing and retaining the best and brightest students and to reforming its educational system (Lu, 2000). A major feature of the current educational reform movement to achieve these goals is the focus on decentralization. China’s educational leadership has been struggling with the issue of centralization and decentralization almost since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. Terms such as “walking on two legs” (combining both centralized and decentralized approaches to education) and minban schools (community-run schools), once again in vogue, date back several decades (Hawkins, 1973). In the latter years of the commune system, communes, and production brigades were being urged by provincial authorities to run rural primary and junior middle schools independently, raising funds through their own efforts, and hiring teachers in a competitive manner (Xin, 1984). These early efforts to shift authority from central to local levels did not represent, however, a national decentralization policy of the scope we are witnessing today.


Private School Educational Reform Central Authority Fiscal Decentralization China Daily 
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  • John N. Hawkins

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