Skills beyond school

Programme for Co-operation with Non-Member Economies - co-operation with China



China has been participating in the OECD Directorate for Education since 1999 and contributed data and analysis to the last five editions of Education at a Glance, as well as to specialised publications on the financing of education and the quality of teachers.

In the context of a rapidly increasing participation rate in tertiary education and concerns about educational quality, China was mainly interested in co-operation in higher education and on measuring learning outcomes (since 2002). Main partners are the Ministry of Education, the National Examination Authority and the National Centre for Education Development Research (NCEDR).

The OECD also co-operates with the Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences (BAES) and the China National Institute for Educational Research (CNIER). In this context, two country reviews were carried out: A Thematic Review of the First Years of Tertiary Education (2000) and a Review on Financing and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (2002).

China and the OECD agreed in 2005 (OECD Council Review of the OECD China Programme) to continue the co-operation with a focus on strengthening higher education institutions, quality assurance and the financing of the expansion of tertiary education, including:

  • The role of government in regulating and governing higher education institutions.
  • The role and functions of intermediary organs in strengthening its quality and performance.
  • Micro-governance within higher education institutions

China is amongst those 5 countries to which the Ministerial Council Meeting offered enhanced engagement, with a view to possible membership. Based on the previous engagement with China, the OECD Education bodies contribute to this development by a number of activities.

Engagement in the Programme on International Students Assessment:

The Ministry of Education has carried out PISA in selected provinces in accordance with OECD standards. Hong Kong has been participating in PISA since 2000, Macao since the second cycle in 2003 and Shanghai and Taipei participated for the first time in 2009.

Thematic Review on Tertiary Education (2007):

A review of tertiary education in China is being undertaken within the context of the Thematic Review of Tertiary Education. The report is currently being revised in light of comments received from Chinese educational authorities. Publication is expected within the first half of 2008.

OECD-Swiss-China research collaboration:

This programme aims at the establishment of joint research activities in the field of governance, quality assurance and financing of higher education institutions (2005-2008). Concrete research topics were defined in a high level meeting in Zurich in May 2007 and led to sustainable co-operation and involvement of interested researchers and institutions in both countries. The results of the OECD-Swiss-China research collaboration will be presented on the occasion of an international conference on tertiary education policy (see above).

From 16-17 April 2008, the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Beijing Normal University hosted a meeting to present OECD work on education to senior education officials from the regions. From 25 April to 2 May, Chinese authorities organised an international conference on tertiary education policy, drawing on the results from OECD’s Tertiary Review. The results from the Review of China will be analysed in comparison with the international results from the Review. This conference will also give the opportunity to present and discuss first results of the OECD-Swiss-China research collaboration.

Institutional management in Higher Education (IMHE):

The Chinese National Institute for Education Research (CNIER) co-hosted a conference with the Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE). IMHE is open to the participation of Chinese higher education institutions in its international network.


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