Educational Equality and Equity in China

By: Ana Garner   Wei Liu  

In contrast to the current political climate that portrays diversity as a new and unique threat to the US and other nations, there has developed many diversity and equity policies in higher education in all parts of the world. Particularly in China, a population with fifty-six established ethnic nationalities and a nation of various geographic regions accommodating different cultures and religions, there have been huge influences from the concept of education equality for marginalized groups, like ethnic minorities. The purpose of this study is to contribute meaningful knowledge and raise awareness on the current multicultural education model in China and its effectiveness and limitations. The research process entailed an exploratory investigation of the social and educational issues for various marginalized groups in China through a collaborative investigation with Faculty of Education at Southwest University in Chongqing. The study’s research methods include focus group interviews and thirty-five questionnaires. The preliminary findings show 1) there are conflicting views on China’s preferential policies lowering the bar on college admission exams for ethnic minorities between Chinese majority students and Chinese minority students; and 2) there is a correlation between the geographical location of participants and their perceptions of education equality. These findings demonstrate there is a lack of meaningful dialogue on education equity between groups. The findings indicate that we should reconsider the current multicultural education model in China and possibly explore the intercultural education model as an alternative framework to increase the understanding and dialogue between Han Chinese and ethnic minorities.

Multicultural Education, Intercultural Education, China, Chinese Ethnic Minorities, Mixed Method
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Ana Garner

Instructor, Education Policy Organizational and Leadership, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

I am a doctoral scholar and my research interests are: minority education, diversity in education abroad, diversity and equity educational policies, and multicultural education. As a scholar-practiciner, I hope my research will go beyond experimental knowledge and will impact or influence the idea of diversity in other nations. 

Dr. Wei Liu