Distance higher education in the People's Republic of China

McCormick, Robert (1992). Distance higher education in the People's Republic of China. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e034


This is a study of distance learning as part of the higher education system in China. The thesis investigates the development of distance learning systems in the post-Mao period (1976-1991), and assesses their roles in higher education as a whole. The first part of the thesis considers the theory, policy and practice in China as contexts within which distance learning has to operate. It also considers concepts and hopes for distance learning that are found in the international literature. Three major distance learning systems are investigated in detail in the second part of the thesis. The third part considers these systems in the context of one province and also in the national context, bringing together the first two parts.

The contribution of distance learning to higher education in China has been important, and it has shown great promise. However, the government at local and national level has sought to control some of the systems to suit its planning needs for the economy, and to conform to its view of quality. The thesis argues that this has meant that an opportunity has been lost to capitalize on the contribution of distance learning. Future developments are likely to rest in part on changes to programmes away from the higher education level, and in part on the degree to which the systems co-operate and indeed integrate their activity.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions