Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to apply analysis of public discourses on Ze Xiao to explore and interpret the power relationships shaping inequality in admission to public junior high schools in urban China. Design/methodology/approach – This study first introduces the rise of Ze Xiao as an educational phenomenon in China. It then elucidates power relationships in public school admission by analyzing continuities and changes in stakeholders’ interaction in public school admission. It concludes by discussing educational reform for equal public school admission in urban China. Data were collected from written and spoken texts about public school admission, including newspaper articles from the 1980s to the 2000s, policy documents and interviews with relevant stakeholders. Findings – Findings demonstrate that multi-layered power relationships caused diverse inequalities in admission to public secondary education in urban China. These are represented by political and institutional privileges and an imbalance in education development during the social transition from a profit-driven approach in the 1990s to a balance-centered one after 2000. Arguably, there is a necessity to further promote a systematic reform to terminate the privileges and imbalance for an equal and balanced public secondary education in urban China post-2015. Originality/value – This study attempts to make a contribution toward reconstructing the meaning of inequality in admission to public junior high schools in urban areas by revealing the power relationships among stakeholders constituted through their interactions in public education during the different stages of socio-economic development in urban China.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)