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Growing GapsEducational Inequality around the World$
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Paul Attewell and Katherine S. Newman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732180

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732180.001.0001

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Sociopolitical Changes and Inequality in Educational Opportunities in China

Sociopolitical Changes and Inequality in Educational Opportunities in China

Two Different Trends, 1940–2001

(p.139) 7 Sociopolitical Changes and Inequality in Educational Opportunities in China
Growing Gaps

Li Chunling

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between social class and university entrance in the People's Republic of China during a period of major economic change towards the end of the last century. The trends of development toward greater equality in educational opportunities were severed into two stages of development that moved in diametrically opposite directions. The first stage extended from the 1950s to the 1970s, and it was characterized by the phenomenal growth of educational opportunities, as well as the movement toward a more equitable distribution of educational opportunities. The second stage extended from the 1980s to the 1990s, and it witnessed both the expansion of educational opportunities and the growth of educational inequality. The turning point of these stages of development came with changes in social, political, and economic conditions, as well as with changes in government policies. The fluctuating influence of family origin on educational attainment demonstrates the strong impact of changes in state policy and ideology on the mechanism of distribution of educational opportunities in China.

Keywords:   China, educational attainment, educational access, educational inequality, educational opportunity, education policy

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