China

China raises education spending, but more needs to be done
Oulin, ed.  People’s Daily Online (posted on the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China website) (14 March 2012)

For the past twenty years, China has pursued a public investment in education at a rate of 4 percent of its GDP.  In the People’s Congress Convention that closed last week, China finally passed a budget that achieves this goal. This article on the National People’s Congress website asks, “Why did it take the country 19 years to increase education spending to 4% of GDP?”  The answer:  China has been focused on economic development (GDP growth).  China’s rapid economic growth has also made it difficult to increase public spending on education to the 4 percent goal.  But, the article also calls for a higher percentage of the GDP to be focused on education.  “It is also clear that when we [the People’s Republic of China] are about to eat this ‘apple’ of ‘4%,’ others have picked a greater and sweeter ‘apple.’ The investment in education of the United States had reached 7% of GDP in 1999, and the percentage had reached 5% in India in 2003. Although we are pleased about the achievement we have made, we also have to speed up cultivating the next ‘apple.’” (For more on the expenditure of educational institutions as percentage of GDP see an OECD comparison).

One response to “China

  1. Although everybody would like to hear that governmental spending on education has increased, it is too early to “celebrate the achievement.” Rather than “how much” the government spend on education, “how” is the money trickle down to local districts and schools is a more critical question to ask. Is the increased spending benefiting all the school districts around the country equally? Are there any innovative programs or reforms that are implemented using the money? How much of the increase are going to be swallowed by the gigantic bureaucratic system? Are students going to benefit directly from the increase of funding? Instead of boasting the “achievement” of 4% spending, I would like to know the answer to those questions.

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