Educational decentralization is a worldwide phenomenon, which takes different forms and leads to different outcomes in different socio-economic contexts. Taking Chinese-English bilingual education in Mainland China as an exemplar, this study examines how the decentralization of education has worked in China in the past two decades, and what consequences decentralization has brought about in the country. The analysis reveals that decentralization has created a favourable overall socio-economic and political context for bilingual education to develop, from a local endeavour into a nation-wide undertaking. The analysis also reveals that decentralization has allowed the diversified operation of bilingual programmes at the regional level. However, there has been a visible inconsistency and incoherence between the theoretical underpinnings of the programmes and the practice in schools and classrooms. Such an inconsistency and incoherence may have resulted from a newly reconfigured relation between the central government and local governments, as well as a lack of human or intellectual resources at the regional level, leading to some unintended educational and socio-political outcomes. Copyright © 2011 National Institute of Education, Singapore.
CitationHe, A. E. (2011). Educational decentralization: A review of popular discourse on Chinese-English bilingual education. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 31(1), 91-105.
- Chinese-English bilingual education
- Educational decentralization
- Education reform