MOE Encourages Decentralisation
While there are strong interests in increasing the number and scale of the universities directly managed at the central government level (i.e. the national level), MOE officially announced its position of not supporting this movement. MOE is hoping to build one top university in each of the 14 underprivileged provinces it has identified, which are referred to as the Old (where the communist army initially established, such as Gansu, Shanxi), the Minority (Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Ningxia & Tibet) and Boarder areas. MOE confirmed 83% of its 2019 HE development funding was utilized by universities in these regions. Over 400 universities were managed by the central government at the beginning of the 21st century, now only 118 remain, with the rest handed over to the provincial government. MOE indicated clearly that the HE institutions will be managed under the leadership of both the Central and Provincial Governments but will be mainly run at the provincial level. The total number of Chinese Universities / VET providers is 2857 (including 257 independent institutes). MOE stated more local authority has been and will be provided to the education industry.