China's Internationalization of Higher Education: A Historical Perspective - Research Proposal

Paper Type:  Research proposal
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1448 Words
Date:  2023-05-05


The internationalization of higher education in China started in the late 1970s. The desire to internationalize the higher education institutions was created by the need to modernize the industries, technology, defense, agriculture, and science through the implementation of various economic reforms in several countries (Neubauer, Mok & Edwards, 2019). In China, internationalization of higher education takes three forms, including studying abroad, offering transnational programs in cooperation with worldwide institutions, and using an international dimension while teaching in the Chinese institutions. As a result of the internationalization of the higher education institutions, the Chinese system has been reformed to offer quality and quantity education to the various students. This research highlights the internationalization of higher education in China from the perspectives of education policy in China universities.

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Research Questions

The research questions considered in the current study include:

  • How will the internationalization of higher education in the Chinese universities be manifested through the policies supporting the international branch campuses?
  • How is the internationalization of higher education in China shown from the educational practices adopted by the campus students in China?
  • How have the stakeholders perceived the challenges and the benefits of developing international branch campuses in China?

Research Objective and Statement of the Problem

The objective of the research is to elaborate more on the internationalization of higher education in China from the perspectives of education policy in China universities. After the economic and political reforms in the 1990s, China strengthened its international economic competitiveness through internationalization of higher education (Schendel, de Wit & DeLaquil, 2019). The internationalization of higher education has attracted the interests of many international universities to offer education to Chinese students. The government included policies to be followed by international universities before setting their bass in the Chinese market (Li, 2019). However, there are challenges of internationalization created by inefficiency in the policies and perceptive adopted by the stakeholders in the educational institutions.

The educational institutions investing in the Chinese market are limited by the cultural design in the Chinese institutions (Gu & Lee, 2019). The differences in the curriculum make it hard for the Chinese students to adapt fully to the western style of education. However, research shows that there are more benefits of integrating foreign institutions in the Chinese educational system (Bresler & Stake, 2017). Therefore, the education policies have to be refined to benefit the Chinese students when they learn from the international branch campuses in China. In association with this, the research will seek to access the perspectives of the educational policies adopted in Chinese universities ad how they assist in the internationalization of higher education in China.

Literature Review

According to Li (2016), the process of internationalization of higher education institutions involves the national government in various ways. The relationship existing between the Chinese institutions and the government is different from the relations created by other international campuses (Wen, Hu & Hao, 2018). According to the research, internationalization of Chinese institutions has been done by the national government, a fact that has assisted in creating more benefits. The Chinese government acts as the executive director in the management of the international higher education institutions (Lin, 2019). The government regulations existing in the country are embedded on the daily operations of the Chinese institutions.

According to Frezghi & Tsegay (2019), internationalization is becoming one of the main characteristics of developing higher education institutions. The Chinese government has played a role in the internationalization of higher education institutions because it has attracted various investors in educational institutions (Bordogna, 2020). The government has been involved in higher education through legislation, evaluation, planning, and funding (Yang, 2016). The education policy in the country is also controlled by the government, a fact that has affected how campus students perceive higher education in China (Frezghi & Tsegay, 2019). Internationalization of higher education has provided China with economic and cultural advantage making it possible for the students to benefit from interaction with other students (Liyanage, 2018). The research notes that a lot has to be done in the Chinese educational system because the international programs have to be expanded to fit the culture and the internal learning programs in Chinese institutions.

According to Lin (2019), there are various trends in the internationalization of higher education in China. The patterns provided opportunities and challenges for Chinese students when they engage themselves in the learning activities (Li, 2020). The quality of higher education, according to the research, is considered vital for economic progress and social development in a country (Li, 2016). Globalization and the development of the internet have made the introduction of higher educational institutions from other countries in the Chinese market possible (Huang, 2016). In China, active engagement in the international community makes it possible to adopt a practical approach in Chinese institutions to overcome all the imbalances between the developed and the developing countries.

Significance of the Research

The research is essential because it provides an overview of the education policies supporting international campuses in China. The study informs the policymakers and educators on the systems existing to support the various international institutions. Also, the research is vital to students and researchers because it adds information on the changes in the educational practices because of the internationalization of the higher education institutions in the country. Also, the research is necessary because it assists the stakeholders in the educational institutions to understand the limits placed by the educational policies in China when new international campuses are established within the country.

Research Methodology

The current study will adopt a qualitative research approach. The approach used by the research is based on a constructive and interpretive paradigm to provide sufficient information on how the educational policies affect the internationalization of higher education institutions in China. Specifically, the study will adopt a case study approach to focus on strategies in specific universities and how they have been affected by the educational policies placed by the Chinese government. Some of the methods used in collecting data for the current study will involve interviews, document analysis, and observations. The participants who were selected to be used in the present study will include the faculty members, the administrators, government officials, and researchers in issues related to the internationalization of higher education in China. The participants were selected from government intermediaries with a snowballing technique to extract the required information in the current study. The snowballing technique was perfect in the present study because it extracted sufficient and credible information from the selected experts (Kumar, 2019). In the analysis of the data, procedures with data immersion, coding, transcription, abstraction, categorization, integration, and comparison are used. The procedures used are effective in extracting credible information because they provide an overview of what is needed in the current research.


Bordogna, C. M. (2020). Advocating and administering critical realism in a study of transnational educational collaborative partnerships. Higher Education Research & Development, 1-15.

Bresler, L., & Stake, R. E. (2017). Qualitative research methodology in music education. In Critical Essays in Music Education (pp. 113-128). Routledge.

Frezghi, T. G., & Tsegay, S. M. (2019). Internationalisation of Higher Education in China: A Critical Analysis. Social Change, 49(4), 643-658.

Gu, M. M., & Lee, J. C. K. (2019). "They lost internationalization in pursuit of internationalization": students' language practices and identity construction in a cross-disciplinary EMI program in a university in China. Higher Education, 78(3), 389-405.

Huang, L. (2016). Internationalization of higher education in China and Australia. In Multidisciplinary Research Perspectives in Education (pp. 105-114). SensePublishers, Rotterdam.

Kumar, R. (2019). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. Sage Publications Limited.

Li, F. (2016). The internationalization of higher education in China: The role of government. Journal of International Education Research (JIER), 12(1), 47-52.

Li, J. (2019). Global Trend in Higher Education System: In the Context of China. In Global Higher Education Shared Communities (pp. 23-38). Springer, Singapore.

Li, J. (2020). Glimpses of Internationalizing Higher Education for Creating World-Class Universities in China: The Perspectives of Stakeholders. In Comprehensive Global Competence for World-Class Universities in China (pp. 61-73). Springer, Singapore.

Lin, P. L. (2019). Trends of Internationalization in China's Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges. US-China Education Review, 9(1), 1-12. doi: 10.17265/2161-6248/2019.01.001

Liyanage, I. (2018). Internationalization of higher education, mobility, and multilingualism. In Multilingual Education Yearbook 2018 (pp. 1-20). Springer, Cham.

Neubauer, D. E., Mok, K. H., & Edwards, S. (Eds.). (2019). Contesting Globalization and Internationalization of Higher Education: Discourse and Responses in the Asia Pacific Region. Springer Nature.

Schendel, R., de Wit, H., & DeLaquil, T. (2019). Inclusive and Innovative Internationalization of Higher Education. Proceedings of the WES-CIHE Summer Institute.

Wen, W., Hu, D., & Hao, J. (2018). International students' experiences in China: Does the planned reverse mobility work?. International Journal of Educational Development, 61, 204-212.

Yang, R. (2016). Internationalization of higher education in China: An overview. In Spotlight on China (pp. 35-49). Brill Sense. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-6300-669-9_3

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