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The China Higher Education Indices



From July 2020 to December 2021, the SEE Research group worked on a project that measured the supply of higher education institutions in China. It created three novel higher education indices for 31 Chinese provinces: i) the Chinese Higher Education Density Index (CHEDI) to analyze the evolution of the quantitative distribution of higher education institutions (HEIs) in each province from 2001 to 2017, which is further decomposed into subgroups based on the type of college, i.e., four-year undergraduate colleges, two-year vocational colleges, and private institutions; ii) the Chinese Higher Education Quality Index (CHEQI) to examine the supply of higher education in terms of quality using a university ranking system; and iii) the Chinese Higher Education Index (CHEI), a composite indicator that incorporates both the quantity and quality dimensions of higher education institutions for each province, providing a weighted measure of the supply of higher education in China.
These indices are valuable to policymakers in China and for European private education institutions that wish to expand into the Chinese consumer market. The indices indicate a significant and persistent heterogeneity in the supply of higher education between provinces. The indices identify which regions have been substantially rewarded by the higher education expansion of recent decades, going from an undersupply to a proportionate supply of higher education institutions. On the other hand, a significant share of regions still has a low supply in terms of either the quantity or quality of HEIs, or both.
The working group on this project is composed of Mihály Borsi, Octasiano Valerio and Flavio Comim. The dataset for the higher education indices is deposited in an open repository Indices of the supply of Chinese Higher Education [Data set], Zenodo (2021), 10.5281/zenodo.5753099.
The SEE Research Group plans to operationalize the higher education indices into its own website and portal that researchers, policymakers, and the general public around the world can access and utilize. It also plans to apply the indices to Spain and other European countries in order to aid policy making and private enterprises wishing to enter the higher education market in identifying which regions have an undersupply of higher education both in terms of quantity and quality.

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