Competition for talent and unequal development of higher education : evidence from Chang Jiang Scholars Programme


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For decades, developing countries have been suffering from ‘brain drain’ of their talented people. China is not an exceptional case, and this problem has become more severe for China’s higher education under two recent strategic plans. On the one hand, the government has been enhancing the quality of higher education in the era of massification of higher education for sustainable development. On the other hand, to increase the national competitiveness in the globalization world, China has been attempting to groom its elite universities to become ‘world-class’ universities. In addressing the pressing demand for talent in universities, the government developed strategies to compete for global talents as faculty members of Chinese universities. The Chang Jiang Scholars Programme (CJSP) is one of the largest and most influential national programmes of recruitment of global eminent scholars. This study critically examines how the CJSP attracts and recruits global talents to Chinese universities. Drawing on more than 3000 cases of CJSP since 1999, as well as government documents, this study investigates the achievements and challenges of China’s competition for global talent and the impacts on unequal development of higher education. The results suggest that the talent programme has made great achievements in attracting eminent scholars. However, the development of the programme is significantly biased in favour of universities in coastal areas and elite universities. And the priority has been placed on natural science and engineering. In the final section, this study discusses reflections and policy implications for revisiting the strategies in competition for global talent in universities and promoting equality for the development of higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMassification of Higher Education in Asia : Consequences, Policy Responses and Changing Governance
EditorsAlfred M. WU, John N. HAWKINS
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789811302480
ISBN (Print)9789811302466
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameHigher Education in Asia: Quality, Excellence and Governance
ISSN (Print)2365-6352


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