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Understanding the Dimensions of Education Inequality in China at Different Geographical Scales

Xiang, Lili (2019) Understanding the Dimensions of Education Inequality in China at Different Geographical Scales. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Although education equality has been valued and frequently discussed by scholars from different disciplines, theoretical discussions and empirical studies of education equality from a geographical perspective have been somewhat limited. Since the traditional two-dimensional non-spatial framework for measuring and analysing education inequality is inadequate, the research in this thesis is based on a more comprehensive and flexible three-dimensional framework, in which geography is included as an important dimension. China is used as the case study country to examine education inequalities at different geographical scales. At a regional scale, a multidimensional Index of Regional Education Advantage (IREA), underpinned by Amartya Sen’s capability approach, is introduced to evaluate the effectiveness of policies targeted at reducing regional/provincial educational inequalities in China since 2005. At a local scale, the thesis explores the use of geodemographics as a means of assessing potential inequality in access to compulsory education within urban areas. The thesis argues that applying an area classification, one of the first in China, allows consideration of multi-dimensional, socio-spatial influences which affect school choice within urban areas. The ideas are illustrated through a case study of Central Beijing. At the micro scale, multilevel modelling is used to reveal the influence of contextual factors and confounding individual level socio-economic characteristics on pupils’ travel distance to school in Beijing. The results at the regional scale revealed that education in north-eastern China is better than in the south-west of the country, a pattern which lacks conformity with the eastern, middle and western macro-divisions adopted by Central Government as the basis of policy implementation. Furthermore, the social and spatial disparities in terms of access to education facilities within urban areas were also identified. This research has, for the first time, revealed education inequality in China comprehensively from a geographical perspective, and provides some unique insights and crucial policy implications of education inequalities in China at different geographical scales.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Education inequality, socio-spatial inequalities, China, Beijing, decentralisation, regional inequality, composite index, geodemographics, nearby enrolment, multilevel modelling, hukou system, migrant children, travel distance
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.778711
Depositing User: Dr LILI XIANG
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2019 08:35
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24262

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