Chinese Adulthood Higher Education
Lai, Qing. 2014. "Chinese Adulthood Higher Education." Chinese Sociological Review, 46(3): 55-79.
While direct progression from secondary to tertiary education was never universally successful, many who missed their first opportunities managed to resume higher education at older ages. This article, for the first time, examines Chinese people's life-course dynamics in enrollment in such adulthood higher education (AHE). Using life history data from the Chinese General Social Survey 2003, I found that while marriage and parenthood reduced the likelihood of AHE enrollment, employment had a positive effect, which went beyond simple life-course logic and found an institutional explanation in work-based state sponsorship (i.e., affiliations with Party/government agencies and state-owned professional services, cadre leadership, and Party membership). Furthermore, certain institutional effects became stronger in the context of educational expansion during the post-1978 reform period—a finding consistent with previous research on China's institutional changes as well as the "maximally maintained inequality" proposition in the literature on educational stratification.
Country of focus: China.