Table of Contents
The plan to revitalize and grow the chines education sector began as early as the 1990s, with popular projects such as the ‘project 211’ and the ‘project 985’ becoming initiated at the time. These projects have been ongoing for decades and have indeed become the hallmark of Chinese education reform, greatly contributing to the success of the sector. Chinese education beneficiaries have mostly been international students, who have gained significant loans and bursaries to further their education in Europe and the Americas. This has greatly increased the skillset and competitiveness of Chinese labor nor only in the Asian market but globally. Project 211 was set up by the State Council, department of Finance and Ministry of Education to strengthen higher education in China, and lead to the growth of key disciplines in the education sector of the country. Since its inception, the number of institutions targeted has increased from 99 to 112. These institutions are supported and funded to give them capacity to lead the education reforms agenda (Bray and Lillis eds., 2016).
Governance of the Project
In order to effectively ensure the continuity of project 211, the government identified private sector sponsors as well as initiatives that would consistently fund these institutions. Although the key sponsors are the ‘department of finance’, ‘the ministry of education’ and the ‘state council’, Chinese foreign relations have greatly aided in bilateral ties that have supported the initiative (Li, 2013).
The beneficiaries of project 211 are the Chinese students from low-income families, as well as the academically talented Chinese children who are able to revitalize sectors such as research, medicine, engineering and other sciences. These students are sponsored to study in China as well as take part in exchange programs to foreign universities (Fang, 2010).
Stakeholder identification involves the identification, involvement and engagement of stakeholders in a project. It is important to identify these stakeholders in order to ensure that it is consistently running and with little or no challenges with regard to the personnel involved. Being a government-initiated project, project 211 is run and supported majorly by the government of China. However, stakeholders are brought on board based on the success of bilateral and multilateral agreements between China and her allies. The growing influence of China not only in Asia but globally makes it strategic for the country to advance and succeed in such partnerships (Nordtveit, 2011).
China has many foreign and local investors in its education sector. For a stakeholder to be involved, they have to generally have interests in the country and seek to explore opportunities for growth. These players are mostly people and countries that have shown a significant interest in education. Among the participants in project 211 include; Chinese tech giants; Alibaba, and Tencent, as well as nationalities such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, India, Bangladesh and North Korea. The Chinese government for different reasons strategically engages all these stakeholders. Deals brokered among these companies eventually lead to their success and proliferation, with Alibaba and Tencent enjoying a significant market share in China (Maringe and Foskett eds., 2012).
In order to explicate the success of project 211, it is important to evaluate the change analysis of the project. This regards the success of the project since inception and the growth of various variables within the education sector because of project 211. According to Blanchard and Giavazzi, (2016), project 211 has seen a tremendous growth in tertiary-level institutions in the republic of China. The Chinese government is often keen to ensure that the various tenets of education are met, with an agenda attached to project 211 each year. Since inception, among the growing aspects of the project include; a rise in support by the different stakeholders, an increase in number of institutions supported, as well as a consistent increase in number of students targeted by the project. The government has also increased funding to the project annually, as has been the efforts of the Xi government. China has also seen an increase in the competitiveness of its students in foreign tertiary institutions.
The political success of project 211 has been that it has strengthened the rule of Xi’s government in achieving education reforms in the country. Through the kitty set up for the project, the Chinese government has managed to establish and grow political ties with countries in Africa, where bilateral relations have involved education-sector donations. The government of China has also brokered many political deal including nations such as India and North Korea using education sector agreements. This has further strengthened the ties in the Asian continent, setting up China as a regional leader. China has also benefited internationally with great education ties to the United States thanks to project 211 (Choi, 2010).
According to Warner, (2016), there have been significant environmental benefits of project 211. By leading to an influx of foreign students, China has been able to market her ecological setup to other nations. This has also brought about ideological change, with different countries changing their worldview and stereotypical assertions about China. Educational tourism has been a successful venture by the Chinese government and with it; Chinese students have been exposed to other markets and destinations as well. Currently, China is the most diverse population around the world, thanks to project 211 and other initiatives that expose its citizens to new environments.
The social impact of project 211 to the Chinese government cannot be overstated. The project was launched with a bid to bridge the social divide in the country. Since then, the education sector has seen the rich and poor alike share classrooms and other amenities, which had not been the case initially. China has been a class society for many decades now (Zajda, 2010). This continues to be revealed in the nation’s social fabric. However, the country has managed to use education to support the development of a seemingly classless society. The reforms in project 211 have also managed to bring about success in Chinese cultural proliferation among other countries, hence fostering better ties with Chinese allies (Paradise, 2009).
According to Asosheh, Nalchigar, and Jamporazmey, (2010), evaluation of technological advancements is associated to the education sector in a nation. The education sector in China contributed immensely to the Chinese technologies introduced in the market. The growth of technological initiatives in China has been majorly attributed to foreign direct investment. However, Chinese technology and skilled labor have been immensely advanced by the project 211 initiative. As such, companies such as Apple and Microsoft that have Chinese outlets do not rely on any foreign labor to advance their development projects. China has also contributed immensely to global technological advancements thanks to the success of the initiative to sponsor and educate Chinese children from all backgrounds. With project 211, Chinese tertiary education is inherently free, hence an explosion of ideas and market initiatives on technology (Luoma and Nyberg, 2011).
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Conflicts and Opportunities of the Project
The initiative dubbed ‘project 211’ has been pegged with conflicts as has the opportunities risen over time. The most significant conflicts have been associated to the private sector. Many players in the private sector have argued that the education sponsored by the government has failed to match up in quality and competitiveness due to the influx of students as well as the lack of capacity in institutions such as; the inadequate number of Professors and classrooms, as well as facilities. The Chinese government has in part taken the criticisms positively, consistently setting aside more money for the project, as well as bringing on board more investors. The government has also invited the private sector to contribute to project 211 to see it succeed. This has opened up more opportunities for foreign students as well as education developers to initiate the setting up of institutions to meet the growing demand for education in the country (Xiaozhao, 2010).
Project Success Analysis
According to Phillips and Phillips, (2016), the project 211 initiative can be considered effective but not entirely efficient. This is because, the mechanism to advance students from high school to tertiary institutions is not very efficient, and hence many students are not well prepared for tertiary level education. The project also underestimates the number of students demanding tertiary level education in the country. This is why; some institutions continue to lock out domestic applicants, while allowing foreign students to grow the reputation of the institution. Since the government does not control these institutions of higher learning, it is difficult to get all targeted students to access higher education, as compulsory education is only up to secondary level.
Impact on Student Dimensions
The number of students admitted to institutions of higher learning in China is of a balanced set of race, religion and region. These institutions have managed to take in many foreign students due to the funding provided for the different courses offered. The government has effectively managed to sponsor international students thanks to bilateral ties with their nations. This has in turn been positively received by these foreign governments, who have continued to establish ties with China and educate more students in Chinese Universities. Bilateral ties between China and other government have greatly changed the constitutional makeup of these institutions, accommodating all races, gender, religions and abilities (Norton and Cakitaki, 2016).
Impact on the nation
According to Junyi, Jiulong, and Yuan, (2014), thanks to the cultural infusion of students in Chinese Universities, the social acceptance among different races has greatly increased in china. This effort has in turn led to better team building among nations in Asia, Africa and the world. International relations have greatly advanced as has the regional ties. China has set itself as a ‘team player’ in the education sector; globally, contributing immensely in funds as well as the technology to aid in different fields such as medicine and engineering. The international community has lauded Chinese efforts. This support for the education sector has greatly strengthened Chinese influence globally.
National education success
Chinese education has continued to grow prominence since the inception of project 211. Global appreciation for the quality of education in the country has seen an influx of international students from Africa, Asia and the West as well. China also boasts of a significantly large number of foreign students in western universities such as United Kingdom and the United States, thanks to the growth of education sector reforms. The country’s success in technology sees it as a global leader in the sector, with Chinese universities leading world research breakthroughs. Generally, the initiatives by project 211 have led to a significant rise in the nation’s education success, among other Asian countries (Schweisfurth, 2011).
Preparation for the Future
According to Meng, (2012), the Chinese government is consistently setting the trend in many areas of development. Education has been targeted as a key area of investment that continues to attract a lot of funding. The government is setting aside funds for research institutions in the country, especially with regard to indigenous medicine. This will aid in the aversion of risks associated to incurable diseases, as the cure continues to be sought after. China is also a key player in technological research and continues to equip its universities to appreciate modern technology and lead to new advancements especially in computing technology. The government is also setting aside more funds to meet the demand for education with a growing population in the near future.
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China is a leading economy in the world. Many factors have led to this influence over the globe. However, education can be considered a major contributor to Chinese success globally. The nation benefits from its education sector reforms in many ways. Thanks to projects such as 211, the country sets the trend for education growth and proliferation in Asia (Tan, 2013). China is consistently making gains in the technology and research fields associated with increased funding in its tertiary institutions. The government deems it important that as projects such as 211 continue to receive aid, they present tangible results in kind. For project 211, the continued support has led to improved quality and access to education. The government continues to increase the number of targeted institutions every year. Currently, the figure stands at 112. However, more schools will be targeted in the future to increase the scope and attract the growing local population.
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