Since the beginning of 2014, Ministry of Education has issued a series of policy documents concerning the general requirement stipulated at the 18th Central Committee of CPC that the governance system and capacity of education should be further modernized. Those documents aim to implement and expand the autonomy in school-running through promoting the management, school-running & assessment separating mechanism, and clarify the rights, responsibilities and obligations of various bodies within the university through improving higher education institutions’ internal governance structure so that university will become a self-disciplined and self-propelled school-running entity in a real sense. As an important part of higher education in China, postgraduate education has ushered into a new period of reform and development.
According to the goal of reform stated at the 18th Central Committee of CPC and with the work focus on quality improvement, the Ministry of Education into practice, the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council introduced several documents Suggestions on Strengthening the System of Degree and Postgraduate Education Quality Assurance and Supervision, Qualified Assessment Methods for Degree-conferring Units, Sampling Review Methods of Master and Doctoral Thesis, and meanwhile, canceled the approval of national key disciplines by issuing the new Methods for the Management of Degree Certificate and Degree-conferring Information. All the above-mentioned measures indicate that a key direction for deepening overall reform in postgraduate education has been clear, namely streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels as well as managing education by law, implementing degree-conferring units’ principal position of rights and responsibilities, strengthening the regulation and guidance of educational administrations, encouraging academic organizations, industrial sectors and public institutions to actively participate and supervise so as to establish a quality assurance system of multiple participants for postgraduate education. And at the National Conference on the Quality of Postgraduate Education& the 31st Session of the Academic Degrees Committee under the State Council, State Councilor Liu Yandong put forward a series of specific tasks, goals and requirements on how to improve the internal quality assurance system and effectively enhance external quality assessment and supervision.
As a non-government organization guided by Ministry of Education and the State Council, Association of Chinese Graduate Schools (ACGS) shoulders the responsibility of researching the planning or key issues in the development of degree and postgraduate education, putting forward suggestions for the reform and development and providing consultations for national decision-making. In the context of promoting the management, school-running & assessment separating mechanism, how should ACGS play a role as a mediator between postgraduate training units and educational administrations in gathering problems faced by each ACGS member, drawing lessons from the reform and trials and meanwhile communicating in time with departments in charge. Finally, some relevant policy advice will be given in order to promote the overall improvement of our postgraduate education. Without doubt, these are new challenges confronted by ACGS, while under the new circumstances it will take on a more significant role.
In response to the changing situation and new requirements, Annual Report on China Graduate Education (2014) (hereinafter referred to as the Report) is compiled with a view that training units are the principal quality entity of rights and responsibilities. the Report has stuck to the former research style characterized by “emphasis on evidence”. It has attempted to investigate some urgent issues faced by ACGS members, such as the employment status of female graduates and full-time graduates with professional master's degree; it has analyzed the existing problems in the operation of the bypass &elimination mechanism, an important phase of postgraduate quality assurance system; it has summarized the practices and experience in the international assessment of disciplines which a couple of universities are implementing; it has also studied the sources and cultivation status of international graduates in China.
We firmly believe that the above-mentioned reports will give us a clear and vivid picture of the status quo and quality problems existing in our postgraduate education. Furthermore, it will help the training units to have a comprehensive understanding of the reform practices. It can be concluded that the aim of this Report lies in revealing the problems, sharing the experience, undertaking the research and discussions, and developing in a cooperative way, which is also important for ACGS to establish a coordinating mechanism among its members and play the role as a mediator between the training units and the government departments.
Secretary-General of the Association of Chinese Graduate Schools
December 20, 2015