Policy Insight, Volume 2, Issue 1, February 2008

China and India: Different Educational Paths Toward Prosperity

by Ying Liu, Krishna B. Kumar

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Different educational approaches in China and India have been successful in stimulating economic growth. The two countries started building their national education systems under comparable conditions in the late 1940s; however, different policies, strategies, and historical circumstances have led them through different routes. China has outperformed India in primary and secondary education along a broad spectrum of access, quality, and delivery indicators. India, on the other hand, enjoys a competitive edge over China in higher education. Recently, India has begun catching up with China in K-12 education, while China has already overtaken India in terms of the college enrollment and number of graduates. This Policy Insight describes the respective successes and challenges of the Chinese and Indian education systems, which offer valuable lessons for both countries and for the rest of the developing world. The authors identify issues that deserve further attention of researchers and policymakers.

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