Cover: Education and the Asian Surge

Education and the Asian Surge

A Comparison of the Education Systems in India and China

Published Feb 15, 2008

by Charles A. Goldman, Krishna B. Kumar, Ying Liu

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China and India have faced similar conditions and challenges in education during their rapid industrial and social transformation. 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. The respective successes and challenges of the Chinese and Indian education systems 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.

The research described in this report was initiated by the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy and was conducted under the auspices of the International Programs of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD). NSRD conducts research and analysis for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Commands, the defense agencies, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Intelligence Community, allied foreign governments, and foundations.

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