Configuration of the teacher–state relationship: The Shanghai experience

Zhenzhou ZHAO, Zhiyong ZHU, Linyan RUAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


As one of the most prominent cases of high performing education systems in Asia, Shanghai has received widespread attention in recent years. The existing literature has shown that the formation of a high performing education system in Shanghai is closely associated with the high-quality teaching force. The purpose of this paper is to explore the experience of Shanghai in configuring the teacher-state relationship and building the teaching profession against China's background of centralized education. Our analysis was framed around three key actors that have reshaped the relationship between teachers and State in the post-Mao era, including the establishment of teaching as a profession, schools, and the labor market. Based on policy analysis and empirical evidence from Shanghai, the research findings indicate Shanghai's own experience in building the teaching profession, teachers' professional well-being, and other subjective perceptions related to school management and the labor market. Copyright © 2016 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-337
JournalFrontiers of Education in China
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


Zhao, Z., Zhu, Z., & Ruan, L. (2016). Configuration of the teacher–state relationship: The Shanghai experience. Frontiers of Education in China, 11(3), 322-337. doi: 10.3868/s110-005-016-0026-6


  • Professional development
  • Professional well-being
  • Shanghai
  • State
  • Teachers


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