School Choice in China: A different tale? (Hardback) book cover

School Choice in China

A different tale?

By Wu Xiaoxin

© 2014 – Routledge

168 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780415817691
pub: 2013-09-26
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315883465
pub: 2013-10-15
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School Choice in China explores the major characteristics of schooling options in China, highlighting how largely middle-class parents exploit their cultural, economic and social capital for their children's admission into choice schools. It highlights how payments such as choice fees, donations, prize-winning certificates and awards, as well as the use of guanxi, result in Chinese school choice as a parent-driven, bottom-up movement. The author also explores how schools and local governments cash in on the school choice fever in order to obtain significant economic returns, leading to policies that accommodate the needs of mostly middle-class families. He argues that although this system seems to create winners among the parties involved, it exacerbates the educational inequality that already exists in Chinese society.

Chapters include:

  • Positional competition for cultural capital
  • Exploitation of social capital
  • Economics of school choice
  • Class reproduction through parental choice


This book is not simply a detailed analysis of Chinese school choice practices, but also a study of the competitive middle class search for advantage for their children. As such it will be beneficial to undergraduates, postgraduates, education professionals, policy makers, and anyone with an interest in education, sociology, social policy, and the rise and future of China.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. School Choice in the Global and Chinese Context 2. Key School System 3. Creation of the School Choice Market 4. Positional Competition for Cultural Capital 5. Exploitation of Social Capital 6. Economics of School Choice 7. Class Reproduction through Parental Choice Conclusion

About the Author

Wu Xiaoxin is Professor at the English Department, Foreign Languages College, Guangxi University, China.

About the Series

Education and Society in China

China’s economic rise has been breathtaking and unprecedented. Yet educational opportunities remain highly unequal. China has the essential ingredients to build a great system of education, but educational governance needs an overhaul if China is to realize its goal of dramatically boosting its technological output to world-class levels. As more work by established Chinese and overseas scholars becomes accessible in English to the larger global community, myths will be removed and replaced by more accurate and sophisticated analyses of China’s fascinatingly complex educational transformation. This series will provide highly analytical examinations of key issues in China’s education system.

Professor Gerard A. Postiglione is Associate Dean (Research), Chair Professor of Higher Education, Division of Policy, Administration and Social Sciences Education, as well as Director, Wah Ching Centre of Research on Education in China at the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong.

In honor for his contribution and dedication to the field, Professor Postiglione will be inducted during the AERA 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. as a 2016 AERA Fellow. We congratulate him on this high achievement -- a true reflection of his excellence, achievement and commitment to his work.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Parent Participation
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General