Social participation of social organizations in education governance in China

Kwok Kuen TSANG, Linjia CHANG, Guanyu LI, Wing Chung HO, Hing Kwan Alastair TO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


This study aims to understand how social organizations participate in education governance and how they interact with state actors in the context of education governance in China from a network governance perspective. Based on a multiple case study, we selected four social organizations (a think tank, an academic association, and a domestic, and overseas organization each focused on educational philanthropy) for this qualitative investigation. The study findings indicate that although the government of the People’s Republic of China uses a network approach to steer the country’s educational system, the government maintains its supremacy over social organizations, leading to hierarchical and submissive policy networks. However, social organizations may obtain the freedom to conduct their work and influence the educational system if they could gain the government’s political trust and support. These study’s findings suggest that the mode of Chinese education governance is a mixture of government, characterized by bureaucratic and top-down governing, and governance, characterized by the government steering society via collaborations with nonstate actors. Therefore, it can be conceptualized as a network government, reflecting China’s political and ideological systems by emphasizing the institutional monitoring and supervision of social organizations through policy networks to strengthen the state’s governing capabilities from the top down. Copyright © 2022 Education Research Institute, Seoul National University.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
Early online date26 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Aug 2022


Tsang, K. K., Chang, L., Li, G., Ho, W. C., & To, A. H. K. (2022). Social participation of social organizations in education governance in China. Asia Pacific Education Review. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s12564-022-09771-8


  • Education governance
  • Social governance
  • Network governance
  • Social participation
  • Social organizations


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