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Basic Education Reform in China: Untangling the Story of Success

Wang, Chengzhi; Zhou, Quanhua; Columbia University. Libraries

China's recent basic education reform followed and, in a certain way, imitated its economic reform. The economic reform merged the experimental dual (planned and market) price systems into a free market economy and yielded phenomenal success. Basic education reform, however, has not succeeded in transforming the introductory dual-track (key school and regular school) systems into a universal one. This article briefly examines the general process and outcomes of basic education reform. It discusses the following questions: Is basic education reform also a story of success? What significant lessons can the Chinese reform experience offer to other comparable developing countries?

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August 9, 2012