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Educational supervision safeguarding and facilitating educational development-- Overview of progress on educational supervision since the 18th CPC National Congress

2018-09-08 10:30:00

Educational supervision is an essential element of China’s education system as prescribed in Education Law of People’s Republic of China, and a key component of a modern educational administration system. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, significant progress has been made in establishing an educational supervision mechanism, formulating related regulations and rules, and building inspection and evaluation teams, providing the necessary institutional support for supervision to perform its function in facilitating educational reforms. Through the oversight over policy implementation and school operation, evaluation and monitoring, the supervision mechanism ensured that education was given top priority, promoted balanced development of education, improved educational equity and quality, and guaranteed school safety and security.

Pushing forward administrative reform

The major step of administrative reform in the education sector is to separate school management, operation and evaluation. More specifically, the central government shall focus on overall planning and strategic management, and delegate more power to local governments and schools while strengthening monitoring, inspection and evaluation.

Since 2012, institutional reform in educational supervision has witnessed remarkable progress: a four-tier supervision mechanism featuring effective vertical communication was in place covering authorities at national, provincial, municipal and county levels; a supervision, monitoring and assessment system was established; and a supervision team was developed, consisting of full-time and part-time supervisors and evaluators.

Promoting the effective implementation of national policies

The central government and State Council have always attached great importance to educational development. The primary task of educational supervision is, therefore, to ensure that local governments give priority to education and conscientiously carry out strategic decisions on the advancement of education.

In 2017, the State Council issued the Methods of Evaluating the Performance of Provincial Governments in Their Education-related Work, which specifies the duties of provincial governments in coordinating efforts for educational development and proposes measures of conducting supervision and evaluation and promoting accountability, representing a major innovation in educational administrative reform.

In 2018, the Educational Supervision Committee (ESC) under the State Council and the MOE jointly organized the country’s first assessment of the provincial governments’ performance in fulfilling their education-related duties, further enhancing the effective implementation of major educational policies by local governments.

Facilitating equity in education

Educational equity is the bedrock of social justice. Therefore, one of the missions of educational supervision is to safeguard the right of every child to quality education and ensure fairness at every stage of the education process.

In 2012, the State Council promulgated a regulation identifying the next steps to promote basic and quality balanced development of compulsory education. To implement the regulation, the national supervision and assessment campaign was initiated in 2013 and has been conducted ever since, with a view to evaluating the progress made by county-level government departments and schools in achieving basic balanced development of compulsory education. The result shows that 2,379 county-level government departments have attained the goal, accounting for 81% of the national total. In 2017, the similar campaign targeting quality balanced development was launched, which greatly stimulated the provincial, municipal and county-level governments to speed up the balanced development of compulsory education and move closer towards the goal of providing fairer and better compulsory education.

Raising educational quality

Through consistent efforts, oversight mechanisms have been established covering education at all levels and of all types, with a focus on school operation and teaching quality.

The mechanism at preschool level targets preschool facilities, safety and hygiene conditions, childcare and education, teacher workforce and internal administration, ensuring healthy and happy environment for young children.

The campaign of supervision over the quality of compulsory education has been conducted since 2015, for the purposes of diagnosing the weaknesses in teaching activities and providing evidence for sound policy making and teaching improvement. Meanwhile, a mechanism for supervising primary and secondary schools was also established and had, to date, achieved universal coverage across the country by designating one supervisor for five schools.

In the field of vocational education, evaluation mechanisms were put in place for secondary and higher vocational schools respectively. At present, the first round of evaluations were completed, stimulating these schools to improve their operation ability and ensure their training programs more suitable for the demands of industries and markets.

At tertiary education level, a number of systems were established to evaluate undergraduate education quality, master and doctoral dissertations through sampling inspection and postgraduate programs, which contributed to the high-quality development of higher education.

Stepping up efforts to guarantee school safety

School safety is closely associated with the healthy development of individual students, the happiness of their families and even social stability. In recent years, special supervisions have been conducted regularly focusing on the safety of campuses and school buses; synergy has been built among multiple departments in addressing bullying in primary and secondary schools; and an accountability and inspection system has also been established and improved to deal with emergencies.

Every year, supervision activities are carried out by dozens of special supervision teams targeting hundreds of government organs above the county level and hundreds of schools, to tackle hot issues of public concern. These efforts helped reduce accidents on campuses and in school buses, prevent and curb school bullying, and protect teachers and students and their property.

(Author: HE Xiuchao, Head of the Office of the Educational Supervision Committee under the State Council and Director of Educational Supervision Bureau under the Ministry of Education)

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