Topic: Political economy: To investigate whether a country’s political system can affect its effectivness in the provision of public and private education (countries to study: Sweden- constitutional monarchy system and China- communistic system)

Topic: Political economy: To investigate whether a country’s political system can affect its effectivness in the provision of public and private education (countries to study: Sweden- constitutional monarchy system and China- communistic system)

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This paper is really a political and economical paper looking at the relationship between the political system of the country and its education system (public/ private education).
In this paper, I am interested to find out whether a country�s political system can affect the effectiveness of the provision of public education and private education in the country. (i.e. is public education/ private education system more effective under a certain kind of political system such as the communistic system or the constitutional monarchy system?) The countries that I have chosen to study on are China and Sweden. The two countries have very different political system. China follows the communist political system whereas Sweden adopts the constitutional monarchy system.

In this paper, find out whether a country’s political system can affect the effectiveness of the provision of public education and private education. The countries that are chosen to study on are China and Sweden. The two countries have very different political system. China follows the communist political system whereas Sweden adopts the constitutional monarchy system.

**Please note that as this is an academic paper, journal articles, literature reviews and statistics are much needed for the analysis and evaluation of this paper. Please add in your opinion and analysis and state your standing, rather than just merely summarizing literature papers. Also, given that this paper is a term-based paper, please kindly expect that I might need your kind help in helping to modify the essay from time to time, according to the feedback given by my professor. Thank you so much for your kind help.

Historical background of China
History of China can be divided into the Mao-era and the post-Mao era. During the Mao-era, China adopts totalitarianism. During the post-Mao era, the country shifts from totalitarianism to authoritarianism.

Features of totalitarianism:
•    Single mass party (i.e. the Communist Party) led by a dictator (i.e. Mao Zhedong)
•    Monopoly on weapons via the party (i.e only the Communist party has control of the military and weapons)
•    Monopoly on the means of communication (i.e the Communist Party controls the media)
•    Central direction and control of the economy through state planning
•    Controlling every corner of the society

Features of authoritarianism:
•    China is no longer a typical totalitarianism regime anymore
•    Central planning is abandoned (-> shift to a market economy)
•    Regionally decentralized authoritarianism (RDA)
•    A period of relative liberalism
•    Discussions among intellectuals and student movements revolving around political reform became more common (in the past, people are totally banned to discuss about political reform)

Exam system in China:
The imperial exam system was adopted during ancient times in China. Not surprising, the features of today’s examination system in China is still similar to that of the imperial exam system in ancient China. This kind of imperial exam system serves two purposes: firstly, to identify capable candidates that have the ability to govern the country. Second, and even most importantly, it serves as an ideological control to identify candidates that hold the same values and objectives with the Communist Party and is willing to obey the Communist Party.

How do students enter the Communist Party?

–    Selected children from public schools join the Communist Youth league from the age of 14
–    Promising students are eligible for full party membership from 18
–    In 2011, 22 million applied and only 3 million were accepted
–    Membership brings high status and significant privileges:
– access to restricted information,
– government jobs
– a chance to meet people who can help your job prospects
– wanting to contribute to China’s future

In the past, why do students in China prefer public education more?
–    in public schools, “patriotic education” begins in primary school
–    The Ministry of Education’s, which is responsible for writing the political questions for all levels of entrance examination states that its main responsibility is to ”direct the work of ideology and political education.” Hence, the publics examination questions are very biased towards China
–    student in public schools will be trained to think in a particular mindset, which could help them get better scores
–    public schools groom students capable of competing for the best tertiary insitutions in the country
–    students also see studying in public schools as a way to enter the communist party

However, why is there an increasing trend of Chinese students enrolling in private schools? is private schools overtaking public schools in china?

Evidence: From 1997 to 2003,  the scale of private schools has been keeping on extending in China. Total non-government/private schools of all levels and
types have expanded from 29964 to 70256, rising up 134%; for the number of students, from 3.8 million to 14. 16 million.

MAIN REASONS:
–    As mentioned, after the post-Mao era, there is a shift from totalitarianism to authoritarianism. There is a change from state-planning to the market economy and the opening up of the Chinese economy.
–    Multi-national firms enter, no longer directly controlled by the Party
–    People see more opportunities elsewhere, no longer have to work in state-owned enterprises and could join foreign firms
–    Young people are eager to take up international assignments and work overseas
–    The Chinese tend to favor the American education system. NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about this “paradox: Chinese themselves are far less impressed by their school system. Almost every time I try to interview a Chinese about the system here, I hear grousing rather than praise. Many Chinese complain scathingly that their system kills independent thought and creativity, and they envy the American system for nurturing self-reliance — and for trying to make learning exciting and not just a chore.”
[ The New York Times “China’s Winning Schools?” Jan. 15, 2011 ]

Hence, we can see how a change in the political system/ political state can affect the effectiveness of public and private education. In the past, there is no question that public schools are more preferred because it better prepares the students for the Chinese entrance examinations and is seen as a way to enter the Communist Party. Entering the Communist Party gives people many privileges and a prestigious status. However, now that the Chinese economy is gradually opening up, there is an increasing trend in the younger generation entering private schools because they believe that it could help to drive their independent thinking, and could better prepare them for taking up post in multinational firms. Students no longer see entering the Communist Party as the only option as there are many opportunities elsewhere.

As for Sweden, its education system is based on democratic foundation. Under Education Act, 2010:800, it is stated that the education system of Swden aims to
–    Develop students’ familarity with human rights, democratic processes and ways of working
–    Encourage them to reflect over human rights and democratic values, principles, ways of working and the decision-making processes
–    develop abilities to search for information about society from the media, the internet and other sources and access its relevance and credibility (-> this is very different from the communistic China where the media is often controlled and students are less encouraged to challenge the party)

Why is public education in Sweden so successful?
–    Drive individual and analytical thinking of students
–    teach students to make judgments of what is right and what is not
–    Democratic values and gender-equality topics discussed in the curriculum
–    Civil education not a subject for examination
–    Students are not forced to think in a particular way/ mindset

Privatisation of education in Sweden
–    Introduced private education in 1990
–    Due to international neo-liberalism:
– the liberalization of economy and the reduction in government spending  to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy

Failure of private education system in Sweden
–    One of the largest private education firms in Sweden went bankrupt earlier this year
–    OECD Benchmark Programme for International Student Assessment Study (PISA):
–    Sweden’s score drop below the OECD average
–    In its first study, Swedish students were well-performing compared to other countries
–    In 2009, Sweden’s overall score fell below the OECD average
**IMPORTANT: I was presenting this idea of the OECD Benchmark Programme for International Student Assessment study to my professor and he says that this is not a legit/ good evidence to proof that private education is the main cause for the drop in performance of Sweden students. Hence, please kindly help to find more evidence/ statistics to proof the failure of Sweden’s private education syste.
–    free education has long been a pillar of swede’s welfare system, and public spending on education is among the world’s highest, according to OECD

General guideline of the paper:
– provide a general historical background of the political system of China and Sweden respectively. For China, please make sure you give a brief but clear definition of totalitarian and authoritarianism and how the shift have changed the effectiveness and preference of students for the public and private education. Also, briefly explain the Imperial exam system in ancient China and state that the current exam system of China still adopts the features of the imperial exam system as a way of ideological control. For Sweden, please research deeper on its historical background of the political and educational system and add in relevant information
– use literature review to support the view that politics and education are closely related (general idea)
– show evidence (using journal, scholar articles and statistics that is relevant) of how the public education system in China had been more effective in preparing students for the entrance examinations and entering the Communist Party
– show evidence (using journal, scholar articles and statistics that is relevant) of the growing trend of students entering private schools after the shift from totalitarianism to authoritarianism and the gradual reform and opening up of the China’s economy
– show evidence (using journal, scholar articles and statistics that is relevant) of why  and how public education is more effective in Sweden
– show evidence (using journal, scholar articles and statistics that is relevant) of why and how private schools failed in Sweden
– discuss how a country’s political system could determine the effectiveness of private/ public education (what is your stance in this topic? does the political system of the country really affect the effectiveness of the education system, public or private, in the country?)
– if possible (or relevant), please try to find some causality or linkages or anything you think could be seen from the relationship between the political system and the education system of the Sweden and/or China

**Please note that as this is an academic paper, journal articles, literature reviews and statistics are much needed for the analysis and evaluation of this paper. Please add in your opinion and analysis and state your standing, rather than just merely summarizing literature papers.

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