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Development of Geography in Higher Education in China since 1980

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China is one of the largest countries in terms of geography student enrolment in higher education. This study draws on an extensive collection of data as well as the authors' own surveys of 20 geography schools/departments, to elaborate on the development features of China's geography in higher education (GHE) against its unique background since 1980. The findings indicate that GHE in China in the period concerned has been moving forward along an up-and-down path. But it has shared favourably in the country's expansion in higher education in the past six years. The regional patterns by number of geography programmes correlate to the size of population, while the quality of geography programmes shows a close relationship with regional economic development. The transition from a planned to a market-oriented economy has brought GHE opportunities as well as challenges. Judged by the renaming of geography schools/departments, identity is returning following a period of de-emphasis of the name 'geography'. Further development of GHE in China seems optimistic but several areas demand more balanced development.

Keywords: China; Expansion of geography enrolment; economic development and geography education; geography; geography in higher education

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Henan University of Finance and Economics, PR China 2: National Key Centre for Yellow River Civilization & Sustainable Development, Henan University, PR China

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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