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China: higher education reform by World Bank

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This raises two management issues: (a) whether they can continue to serve dual academic and financial objectives given the basic conflict between using a company as a research test bed and teaching forum and using it to generate profits; and (b) whether it is right that teachers who are appointed on essentially academic criteria should be expected to manage industrial holding companies in an increasingly competitive environment. One main task of university presidents is to improve institutional efficiency.

Challenges Confronting Institutions The fundamental challenge of current economic and educational reform is to orient institutions to a more open labor market as well as to a more open society. Regular higher education institutions were established with the aim of meeting the skill requirements of a centrally planned economy and funded according to State planning. The operating environment Page xiv in the recent past and the next two decades might be characterized in the following way: from a command economy to a socialist market economy; from the practice of job assignments and lifelong employment in one institution to increasing choice and mobility of the labor market responsive to changes in skill requirements; from a system that derives all directives for policy and action from the center to a more managerially and financially decentralized one, characterized by increasing autonomy; from a situation that isolates the subsector to one that sees higher education as fundamentally linked with government, business, and the local community, and with national and international institutions.

The operative principles underlying the proposed program are: (a) that the role of the State should be to monitor and regulate, rather than exercise detailed control; (b) that the State should create an "enabling environment" in which universities can plan their own destiny within State-set policy frameworks or efficiency targets; and (c) that universities should be encouraged to develop individual strategic plans showing how they aim to serve their specific province or community. Impact of Changes on University Management Context Universities are presently operating in a policy environment in which the management role of university presidents should be strengthened.

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