Policy decoupling in strategic response to the double world-class project: evidence from elite universities in China.

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Date: Aug. 2021
From: Higher Education(Vol. 82, Issue 2)
Publisher: Springer
Document Type: Report
Length: 8,839 words
Lexile Measure: 1360L

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Abstract :

Creating world-class universities (WCUs) has recently become a significant policy and practice in higher education in China under the Double World-Class Project. However, some negative effects have encouraged decoupling from the policy goals. To identify the reasons, we conducted policy document analysis and purposive interviews at three elite universities, focusing on financial funding, discipline development, and human resources. First, the uneven funding plans by central and local governments shape non-competitive environments for universities, hindering the dynamic adjustment of the Double World-Class Project. Second, universities have closed or merged programs in weak academic disciplines to gain legitimacy and stability in conformance to WCU guidelines. Last, as a result of the unbalanced development of universities in east, middle, and west China, universities in the west are facing a serious brain drain. To achieve a higher level of performance, an increasing number of 'shadow academics' are being recruited by Chinese universities. These decoupling responses and manipulative strategies result from the dominating constituent in WCUs, ambiguity in policy contents, hierarchical control systems in higher education, and uncertain environments for universities.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A674827481