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To unlock student potential in East Asia Pacific, be demanding and supportive of teachers

Michael Crawford's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia

Among the 29 countries and economies of the East Asia and Pacific region, one finds some of the world’s most successful education systems. Seven out of the top 10 highest average scorers on internationally comparable tests such as PISA and TIMSS are from the region, with Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong (China) consistently among the best. 

But, more significantly, one also finds that great performance is not limited to school systems in the region’s high-income countries. School systems in middle-income Vietnam and China (specifically the provinces of Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Guangdong) score better than the average OECD country, despite having much lower GDP per capita. What is more, scores from both China and Vietnam show that poor students are not being left behind. Students from the second-lowest income quintile score better than the average OECD student, and even the very poorest test takers outscore students from some wealthy countries. As the graph below shows, however, other countries in the region have yet to achieve similar results.

中国40年改革进程反思

Bert Hofman's picture
Also available in: English
摄影 ©李文勇/世界银行

40年前的12月,邓小平发表了具有历史意义的讲话《解放思想,实事求是,团结一致向前看》,开启了使中国成为世界第二大经济体的40年改革进程。下个10年,中国将成为二战以来从低收入进入高收入行列的少数几个国家之一。

了解中国走过的路、做出历史性决定的背景及其对中国经济的影响,对未来的决策者是有益的借鉴。随着越来越多的国家把中国看成效法的榜样,这种反思对于世界各国愈显重要。在去年11月召开的中共十九大上,中国自改革开放以来首次承担起这一责任。

在某种意义上,中国的改革是很主流的。中国开放贸易和投资,开展物价改革,实行所有权结构多元化,强化产权,控制通胀,维持高储蓄率和投资率。但这么说是把中国的改革简单化了,模糊了中国改革的实质,即,中国体制改革采取的独特步骤提供了有意义的经验,其渐进式改革模式与东欧和前苏联形成鲜明对照。虽然中国和其他转轨经济体常常被加以比较,但他们无论是在初始经济条件、政治发展还是外部环境方面都截然不同。

作为以农业为主的世界最贫困的国家之一,中国在经历大跃进失败和文革破坏之后伤痕累累,与全球经济几乎毫无联系,工业效率低下,但也远不像东欧和前苏联那么集中。或许最重要的是,由于中国保持了政治体制的延续性,所以才能集中精力进行经济和社会转轨而不是政治转轨。

同大部分拉美国家的改革做比较似乎也不合适巴西、墨西哥和阿根廷远比中国更接近市场经济制度,而且他们的改革——自由化和宏观经济稳定——着眼点在宏观经济稳定,而中国的改革则以整个经济体制转型为目的。因此没有必要将“华盛顿共识”与“北京共识”相提并论,两者采取的方式服务于完全不同的目的。

Reflections on forty years of China’s reforms

Bert Hofman's picture
Also available in: 中文
Photo: ©Li Wenyong/World Bank

Forty years ago in December, Deng Xiaoping delivered his historic speech "Emancipate the mind, seeking truth from facts and unite as one to face the future." This triggered four decades of reforms that have transformed China into the world’s second largest economy.  By some time in the next decade, China will be among the few countries in the world that will have transitioned from low income to high income status since World War II. 

Understanding the path China traveled, the circumstances under which historical decisions were made, and their effects on the course of China’s economy will inform future decision makers.  Increasingly, this reflection is important to the rest of the world as more and more countries see China as an example to emulate.  At the 19th Party Congress in November 2017, China accepted this mantle for the first time since the onset of reforms.

In some ways, China’s reforms were fairly mainstream.  The country opened up for trade and foreign investment, liberalized prices, diversified ownership, strengthened property rights, kept inflation under control, and maintained high savings and investment.  But this is simplifying the reforms and obfuscates the essence of China’s reforms: the unique steps China took reforming its system are what makes its experience of interest (see the Annex). Its gradual approach to reform was in sharp contrast to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  Although often compared, China and other transition countries were simply too different in terms of initial economic conditions, political development, and external environment.  

Predominantly rural and among the poorest nations on earth, China was marred by the failure of the Great Leap Forward and the political disruptions during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Integration into the global economy was minimal. Industry was inefficient, but also far less concentrated than in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  Perhaps most importantly, because China retained political continuity, the country could focus on an economic and social transition instead of a political one.

Comparison with much of the Latin American reforms also seems out of place. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina were far closer to a market-based system than China, and their reforms—liberalization and macroeconomic stability—were focused on macroeconomic stabilization, whereas China’s reforms aimed for a transformation of the economic system as a whole.  So there is no need to juxtapose the “Washington Consensus” with a “Beijing Consensus:” the approaches taken served very different purposes indeed.

ASEAN meeting explores ways of professionalizing public procurement to meet development challenges

Adu-Gyamfi Abunyewa's picture
Construction of a sky train in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Seksan Pipattanatikanunt/World Bank
In the past, procurement (purchasing) was not considered to be a specialist function but one of the numerous duties that administrators performed in their respective government departments. However, today it is acknowledged that procurement has become an extremely complex and crucial undertaking coupled with the need to ensure value for money in the use of public resources to enhance the living conditions of its citizens.

The responsibilities have radically changed from that of an administrative service function to a proactive and strategic one. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions the procurement function is still not considered a specific profession and consequently, building procurement professional expertise to meet development challenges remains an unfinished agenda.

Transit-Oriented Development with Chinese Characteristics: localization as the rule rather than the exception

Jasmine Susanna Tillu's picture
Also available in: 中文
China: More Mobility with Fewer Cars through a GEF Grant

Since our days in school, we have often been told to first define our terms before doing anything else. China is a country that does not shy away from acronyms, and “TOD,” or transit-oriented development—a concept that merges land use and transport planning—is one such acronym that has become wildly popular within the field of urban development.
 
So, recently, when government officials from seven Chinese cities and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development gathered to launch the China Sustainable Cities Integrated Approach Pilot Project on the topic of TOD, it was clear that they all had the same definition of this three-letter acronym.
 
Or did they?
 

中国特色的公共交通导向开发(TOD):因地制宜是通则,而非特例

Jasmine Susanna Tillu's picture
Also available in: English
China: More Mobility with Fewer Cars through a GEF Grant

从上学起,我们就常被教导做事要从定义概念开始。中国是不惮使用缩略语的国家,TOD或公共交通导向开发,这个有机结合土地使用和交通规划的概念,已广为流行于中国城市开发领域。
 
最近,中国七个城市与住房和城乡建设部(住建部)的官员共同启动有关TOD的 中国可持续城市综合方式试点项目。很明显,大家对这个三个字母的缩略语有一致定义。
 
但是真的一致吗?
 

Three things to know about migrant workers and remittances in Malaysia

Isaku Endo's picture


Migrants represent 15% of Malaysia’s workforce, making the country home to the fourth largest number of migrants in the East Asia Pacific region. The migrant population is diverse, made up of workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, China and India, among many other countries.

In China, a South-South Exchange Helps Countries Yearning for Clean and Efficient Heating Learn from Each Other

Yabei zhang's picture

Places with cold climates need access to a reliable and efficient heat supply for the health of their population. But in developing countries, the majority of rural and peri-urban households do not have access to centralized heating or gas networks. Instead, they use traditional heating stoves that use solid fuels like coal, wood, and dung for heating. These stoves are often inefficient (with thermal efficiency as low as 25%-40% compared to 70% or above for efficient stoves) and emit large amounts of pollutants (e.g., CO and PM2.5), causing indoor and outdoor air pollution with negative health and environmental impacts.
 

中国“长寿之乡”丽水:致力构建气候适应型城市

Barjor Mehta's picture
Also available in: English
图片:吴皛

过去三十年来,中国速度空前的城镇化使得2.6亿农民工从农业转移到其它生产领域,也帮助5亿人摆脱了贫困,推动中国经济连续三十年以年均10%的速度增长。与此同时,2000年至2014年间,天气相关灾害造成了4.645万亿元(约合7490亿美元)的经济损失。

强有力证据显示,气候变化正在改变灾害格局。据观察,特大暴雨的频率和严重程度自上世纪五十年代以来大幅上升;而未来气候情景模拟显示,降雨的年际变化可能会进一步增大,从而加剧洪灾风险和缺水严重程度。

过去二十年间,中国浙江省丽水市遭受洪水灾害、山体滑坡以及高温酷热之苦。如今, 200多万丽水人有很多自豪之处。丽水被认定为中国最著名的风景如画的生态之城、养生天堂和长寿之乡,这得益于丽水市和浙江省政府官员高度重视,首先弄清气候变化带来的问题的根源,随后全面规划、设计和实施了技术上完善的项目。这些项目与穿城而过的河流和谐相依,与周边丘陵地带贯穿全市的天然暴雨排水系统浑然一体。

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