Countermeasures of Developing Higher Special Education in China
Wang Y. Countermeasures of Developing Higher Special Education in China // Образование и воспитание. 2015. №5. С. 51-54.
In this paper, the author analyzes the present achievements and problems of higher special education in China, and on this basis puts forward the countermeasures and suggestions on the development of higher special education.
1. The Present Situation of Higher Special Education in China
1.1. Levels Covered
The higher education in China is divided into two levels: specialty education and undergraduate education. As surveyed, the levels of current higher education of the disabled in China are as follows: among the 16 colleges and universities surveyed, 10 are specialty education schools, accounted for 62.5 %; 4 are undergraduate education schools (25 %), and 2 are with education of both levels (12.5 %). It can be seen that the specialty education makes up the main part of higher education of the disabled, and there is a lack of the level of post graduate education.
1.2. System Extension
According to the ownership and the source of funds, the colleges and universities in China are with three systems: public, private and public private binary system. The survey results of the higher special education system in China show that all of the 16 surveyed colleges and universities are public schools.
1.3. Major Setting
Of higher special education in China, the majors of undergraduate level involve literature, medicine, engineering and education; the majors of specialty education level involve art design media, electronic information, medicine and health, public utilities, as well as forestry, animal husbandry and fishery. For the visually impaired students, the main majors include acupuncture and massage, science of acupuncture and massage; and for hearing impaired students, main majors are art design and decoration design, computer science and technology and computer application.
1.4. Form and Mechanism
After development of more than 20 years, fit to the higher education mechanism in China, the higher education of the disabled has formed several modes of operation:
The first mode: setting up affiliated college in full-time public schools, or establishing department and major in the school, taking the form of separate examination and enrollment, to mainly recruit hearing-impaired and visually impaired graduates of special education schools;
The second mode: establishing independent colleges of specialty education, to mainly recruit students with disabilities;
The third mode: secondary vocational schools and qualified colleges and universities jointly opening a junior college for the disabled;
The fourth mode: students taking the higher self-examination and adult education;
The fifth mode: students entering ordinary colleges and universities to learn in regular class.
1.5. Regional Distribution
Of the surveyed 16 colleges and universities, 4 are distributed in east and central China (accounting for 25 %); 3 in south China (18.75 %); 2 in north China(12.50 %); and 1 in southwest, northwest and northeast separately, each accounting for 6.25 %. More than half of the higher education schools of the disabled are established in the eastern and central part of China (see Table 3), especially in such economic and cultural developed cities as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou.
2. Problems in the Development of Higher Special Education in China
Through the comparison of these data, we can see that in recent years, China has entered a new historical stage in higher special education. But there are still many problems to be solved in the development process:
2.1. From the Governmental and Social Perspective
2.1.1. Regulatory System Need to be Further Improved
The main problems are: the legal system of higher special education is not complete, with low legislative level; the laws and regulations of special education are more of principles and not operational enough; besides, the legal system of education in China is generally weak, the legal system of special education is even weaker.
2.1.2. Management System Need to be Perfected
The higher special education in China, mainly based on the province (municipality) and the provincial cities, with single system structure, lacks consistency with the development of the country's political and economic system. The management system of higher special education is the key to develop the higher education of the disabled.
2.1.3. Total Funding Need to be Further Implemented
The shortage of higher education funds is a common problem in all countries. The funding gap of higher special education reflects the contradiction between the desire to expand the scale of higher special education and the economic capacity, resulting in difficulties of operating higher special education schools, lack of capital to purchase necessary equipments or retain excellent teachers, and thus holding back the sustainable development of higher special education.
2.1.4. Employment Problems Need to be Resolved
Due to the global financial crisis in recent years, the employment situation of college graduates has become bleak, and the disabled college students face even more critical conditions: firstly, there is serious discrimination towards people with disabilities in the job market; secondly, the concentrated employment policy is lagging behind the need for economic development; and thirdly, the higher special education mostly stays at the level of undergraduate education and specialty education, cultivating mainly application-oriented talents. Both in academic level and professional settings, the higher special education cannot meet the needs of students of current higher special education.
2.2. From the Perspective of Colleges and Universities
2.2.1. More Appropriate College Enrollment is in Need
There is no uniform in the use of teaching materials and teaching outline in current national special fundamental education. Although the entrance examination takes into consideration the outlines of various special education schools, a certain degree of difference still exists, which brings difficulties to paper designing of entrance examination to higher special education. Also, due to the form of “separate examination and separate enrolment”, more than a dozen of special education schools all around the country organize registration, proposition, examination, marking and admissions in their own way, costing a lot of manpower and material resources; also, students, parents and the leaders, teachers of special education schools travel across the country for the annual examination and enrolment, bearing economic burden and physical, mental exhaustion. What’s more, trouble appears as a lot of candidates are enrolled by more than one school, which leads to candidates’ difficulty in choosing school and disorderly competition among schools. Last but not least, the loopholes in the work procedures and lack of communication of admissions departments of various schools results in the lack of information of some students, and thus affecting the registration and enrolment of some newly-enrolled students, or the on time reception of graduate diploma, degree certificate of some graduates.
2.2.2. More Scientific Major Settings are in Need
Based on special physiological and learning characteristics of students, the special higher institutions generally only set up majors of computer and art design, such as computer application technology, computer network technology, visual communication art design, fashion design, advertising design, animation design, etc., so students have limited choice in major study; at the same time, the too limited major setting, with no regard to personality differences, may result in the decline in education quality, as well as difficulties in graduates’ employment and other consequences, and possibly reducing the positive social benefits of higher special education.
3. Suggestions on Promoting the Development of Higher Special Education in China
3.1. To Strengthen the Function of Legal System for the Interests of Education
First of all, priority should be given to special education legislation, improving the legal system of special education in China. To gradually improve this, we should learn from the experience of international education.
Secondly, attention should be paid to the standardization of special education legislation. The law itself is a kind of behavior standards, so, more attention should be paid to the standardization of the legislation.
Thirdly, the local legislation should not be ignored, to ensure that the laws and regulations of special education are operational enough. To realize this, local legislation must be detailed, comprehensive, and easy to operate and check. Only in this way can the special education law be implemented.
Fourthly, a strict system of education law enforcement should be established. For this, we need to further improve the special education law enforcement supervision system, give full play to the functions of legal supervision of the people's congresses at all levels, and strengthen the supervision and inspection of the implementation of the special education law, in particular, strengthen the supervision and inspection of the main body of law enforcement.
Lastly, the construction of judicial system of special education should be strengthened. By using the arbitration system of education, we are to guarantee the rapid, economic, and authoritative rescue to the vulnerable groups when their rights are infringed.
3.2. To Perfect the Management System for the Sustainable Development of higher Special Education
At present, the management system of the higher education of the disabled is consistent with the national higher education administration system, which is national led, local operated. A Special Education Department is established in the Second Division of Basic Education, Ministry of Education, responsible for special education of compulsory education phase; while certain staffs from the Department of the College Entrance Examination and Enrollment, the College Students Division of the Ministry are assigned responsible for the examination and enrolment of higher special education; besides, local educational administrative departments at all levels only have one person in the Basic Education Department (Section) in informal charge of special education. All these can tell that under such an imperfect management system, the higher special education, severely lack of macro coordination, management and guidance in aspects of overall planning, policy guidance, discipline construction, school funding and conditions, teacher training, etc.
3.3. To Increase Total Funding for the Financial Guarantee of Higher Special Education
First of all, the relevant authorities should increase the budget of higher special education, implementing the strategy of the Party and the government of “giving priority to the development of education”.
In addition, the limited funds should be guaranteed in special education.
Also, the government departments should guide the society and schools to form a joint force to raise funds, optimize the allocation of resources. One way is to rely on the community’s support for welfare and education, actively seeking donation at home and abroad to improve infrastructure construction, establish research award fund etc. Another way is to promote the system of charge entrance in the principle of “who benefits, invests”. The third way is to use teachers' professional advantages of carrying out scientific and technological researches, and finally promote the transformation of research results.
3.4. To Promote the Employment Security for the Speed-up Employing of Higher Special Education Graduates
Firstly, social assistance system should be established, to create a social atmosphere for the employment of special college students. In order to fulfill the special employment policies, the local government should take full use of the function of the employer and the society to form a special employment assistance system which is led by the government. Thus, government need to increase publicity efforts and vigorously carry forward the socialist humanitarianism in the whole society, help set up a self-improvement image of the special college students, and finally form an understanding, caring and helpful social atmosphere for the employment of special college students.
Secondly, the enforcement of the employment policy for special college students' employment is to be strengthened. Policy intervention can be the main means to guarantee and protect the special college students’ rights in the employment competition. Besides, the employment policies of “arranging the employment of people with disabilities according to proportion, requiring social organizations employ persons with disabilities in a certain proportion” should be strictly implemented. What’s more, Disabled Persons' Federation at all levels should grant money from the margin of employment of the disabled to the community post development or purchase of public welfare jobs, offering prior to special college students.
Thirdly, the special college students should establish a correct sense of employment. Currently, the state has introduced a lot of preferential policies. Special college students should grasp the policy orientation and change the concept of employment, looking for suitable jobs. In addition, special college students should actively participate in various trainings, improve the professional skills, in order to lay the foundation for the re employment. Last but not the least, special college students can establish the entrepreneurial awareness and establish their own business, if they have the proficiency in a particular line.
- QIN Feng, On the Security of Education for the Disabled in China Since the Founding of the PRC [D], Anhui Normal University, 2010.
- QU Xueli, L. Shuhui, The Current Situation and Developmental Trend of Higher Special Education in China [J], Chinese Journal of Special Education, 2004, (6).
- HUANG Wei, On the Equity in Higher Education for the Disabled in China [J], Chinese Journal of Special Education, 2011, (4).
- Zhu Ning Bo, The Preliminary Study of the Aims of the Higher Education for the Person with Disability [J], Chinese Journal of Special Education, 2003, (5).