Posted by: Principal/Editor | August 5, 2014

Neo-Liberal Education Policy in China: Issues and Challenges in Curriculum Reform

Charlene Tan & Vicente Reyes

This inquiry critically discusses the key characteristics and ideological assumptions of neo-liberal education policy, and its impact on curriculum reform in China. To illustrate the adoption and consequences of neo-liberal education policy in China, this article focuses on recent curriculum reform in Shanghai. It is argued that there is a shift, through the implementation of neo-liberal education policy, from a “one-size-fits-all” educational model to one that focuses on individual interests and needs in China. However, the neo-liberal education policy in China faces two main challenges. First, although the educational changes attempt to promote more student-centred curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, key educational stakeholders in China still value traditional forms of teaching and learning that lead to academic success in high-stakes examinations. The second challenge is the de-professionalisation of school personnel where centralised control by the state through the school appraisal system and standardised exams threatens to undermine the professionalism and autonomy of the educators.

This working paper has now been published as a book chapter in the volume entitled Spotlight on China: Changes in Education Under China’s Market Economy. Details about the book chapter can be accessed through this link:



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