In a new paper, Higher education, economic inequality and social mobility: Implications for emerging East Asia published in the International Journal of Educational Development, Professor Simon Marginson analyses the future consequences for East Asian society of the growth of higher education.
Higher education systems in the Chinese civilizational zone (East Asia) are rapidly improving in quantity and quality, associated with the growth of middle classes and absolute social mobility. But are they contributing to more equal opportunities between students with different backgrounds, and greater relative social mobility?
Professor Marginson reviews the case of the United States, where expansion of the middle-class growth and social mobility via education in the 1950s/1970s was followed in the 1980s and after by a marked increase in inequality in incomes and higher education, and less social mobility. Will this same reversal occur in China and Korea?