Legislation and equality in basic education for all in China

Wing Wah LAW, Suyan PAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In China, legislation exists which requires compulsory schooling for all students of school age. This article examines the functions of and the constraints on using law to institutionalize equality in basic education. It argues that, in China, law is a last resort, holding governments of various levels accountable. Law can be a device of social justice to promote equity in education by serving as an important mechanism to check and balance the state’s power regarding its obligations toward instituting basic education, redistributing public resources, reducing disparities, and promoting equality in compulsory schooling. However, the use of legislation to promote equity in basic education is constrained by economic conditions and other extra-legal factors. This article concludes by offering an explanation of the functions of and constraints on law in the quest for equality in basic education, as well as the implications of China’s experience for understanding law and change. Copyright © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V..
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-372
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


Law, W.-W., & Pan, S.-Y. (2009). Legislation and equality in basic education for all in China. Interchange, 40(4), 337-372.


  • Educational equality
  • Education for all
  • Legislation
  • Law
  • State
  • Social change
  • China


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