Education Inequality in China

A China Studies Centre Distingsuished Speaker Lecture, and the Keynote for the 2013 CSC Annual Conference

Professor Li Chunling, Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

n today’s China, urban-rural segmentation is the most influential factor affecting educational inequality. That is because the Hukou system, which has been existed for a long time, has resulted in persistent and severe inequalities between urban and rural residents, including educational inequality. The educational gap between urban and rural population is much large than of class, race, gender and nationalities. National survey data show that the educational inequality between urban and rural children has persistently existed in educations at all levels in the past 60 years, and it has been continuing to enlarge in spite of rapid educational expansion. The most effective measure for reducing educational inequality is to adjust educational policy, and not only expand the educational system.

Professor Li Chunling


Professor Li Chunling is Research Fellow of Institute of Sociology of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and also professor of Department of Sociology of the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Science. She received B.A. and M.A. of history in Peking University and Ph.D in sociology in Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She had studied as visiting scholar and visiting professor in Princeton University, Sciences Po Paris, Stockholm University, Oxford University, the University of Michigan and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her primary research interests are inequality and stratification, as well as sociology of education and youth studies. She has authored a few of books and published tens of articles on these issues. Books she published include Circumstance and attitudes: Young generation born during 1980s (forthcoming), Rising Middle Classes in China (2012), Gender Stratification and Labor Market (2011), Formation of Middle Class in Comparative Perspective: Process, Influence, and Socioeconomic Consequences (2009), Theories of Social Stratification (2008), Cleavage or Fragment: A Quatitative Analysis on the Social Stratification of the Contemporary China (2005), Social Mobility in Urban China (1997). Her recent research projects are on China’s Middle Class, Inequality in High Education and A Panel Study on Employment, Living Condition and Value of Youth in Contemporary China.