Chinese Parents' Perspectives on International Higher Education and Innovation

Chinese Parents' Perspectives on International Higher Education and Innovation

Hiller A. Spires, Kathryn E. Green, Pengcheng Liang
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2924-8.ch015
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Since the turn of the 21st century, international academic mobility (IAM) has greatly increased on the part of Chinese students, with many students choosing to study in colleges and universities abroad. This chapter reviews the literature related to Chinese students studying abroad and presents the results of a focus group study that investigated factors Chinese parents use when considering international higher education opportunities for their students as well as their perspectives on educational innovation. Results from the focus group indicate that parents value international educational experiences, believe technological advancement and innovation are keys to the future, desire rigorous, resource-rich educational opportunities for their children, and are concerned about financial needs and safety when their children attend universities abroad. Ongoing research of parents' motivation and expectations regarding international higher education and innovation is needed since there is a continuing trend of Chinese students attending institutions of higher education outside of China.
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With the People’s Republic of China’s continuing growth, both economically and politically, the country is positioned as a world power. Of particular note is China’s changing educational system, which is the largest in the world, with its 9-year basic education and 30% gross enrollment rate into higher education. The Ministry of Education (MOE) issued the Chinese Basic Education Curriculum Reform in 2001, which accompanied their goal of modernization and globalization as an economic development strategy. Through this reform mandate and others, the Chinese government is calling for a focus on innovation and creativity, decentralization in curriculum policy, student-centered teaching and learning, as well as inquiry-centered teaching pedagogies (Chinese Ministry of Education, 2002). Despite the focus on innovation and creativity in the educational system, many parents seek international higher education experiences for their children. There may be many reasons for this, including competition for admission to the best Chinese universities based on students’ performance on the national college entrance exam (gaokao), their family’s legal residency (hukou), and students’ financial resources (Michael, 2016; Choi, 2013). When making the decision to send their children abroad for higher education, the majority of families choose to send their students to Western universities, including but not limited to those in the U.S., Canada, and Australia (Fang & Wang, 2014; Schultz, 2015).

Following is a synthesis of the literature on international academic mobility in China, cultural foundations of East and West, the role that socioeconomics and innovation play in higher education attendance, Chinese parents support of innovative education, and the challenges that Chinese students face when studying in the West.

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