Chapter 28: Governing quality in a transforming higher education system: the case of China
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This chapter, taking China as a case and following a four ‘C’s (context, concept, construction and conclusion) structure, depicts how the world’s largest higher education system is developing its quality governance mechanism. The mechanism includes a national overarching external evaluation structure and individual higher education institutions’ internal quality insurance practices, in response to the government’s ongoing reform scheme, changing needs of the market, and the massification process of higher education. The concepts of quality control (management) and quality governance are identified in the context of China’s culture tradition and social transition, which deeply influence the essence of higher education. Students’ participation and their learning experiences shown by large-scale surveys are presented as an example to describe the constructive practice that brings a shift from the traditional mode of quality management in which evaluation is more summative and single minded, to a new model of quality governance with assessments involving different stakeholders and aiming at process improvement. The chapter concludes that the quality governance of higher education in China is becoming a system of collaborative practices rather than the sole jurisdiction of the government.

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