The Introduction of the Higher Education Evaluation Center of the Ministry of Education


1. A Profile of the Higher Education in China

A great and noticeable advancement has been achieved in the area of higher education in China since 1999. In 2004, the total number of the students studying in different categories of higher education institutions has reached more than 20 million, with a total of 819,900 students attending 769 graduate schools, including 165,600 doctoral candidates and 654,300 students in pursuit of a master’s degree. The 1,731 institutions of higher learning across the country had a total student body of 13.335 million; of them there were 7.3784 million students studying at 684 regular universities and colleges and 5.9565 million students studying at 1.047 postsecondary vocational and technical schools. In the same year, 4.198 million students were doing undergraduate courses or junior college studies at 505 adult education institutions in the country.

The two pivotal government programs—Project 211 for developing 100 first-class universities and a number of key fields of research for the 21st century and Project 985 for developing world-class universities and world-famous research-oriented universities—are making steady headway. The universities involved have markedly improved their infrastructure, strengthened their capacity for student education, upgraded their research work, and improved their services for society, and come up with a host of influential research results and findings. The two programs have put these universities in a better position to supply strong and reliable human and intellectual resources in support of the modernization drive.

2. Higher Education Evaluation in China

In 1985, Higher Engineering Education Evaluation started up as a trial.

In 1990, “Draft Regulation of Higher Education Institution Evaluation ”was issued by the then State Ministry Commission, which is the first regulation on higher education evaluation.

In 1995, separate types of “University Evaluation Standards Project” were issued for the evaluation of six different categories of institutions: comprehensive universities, industrial colleges, agricultural and forestry colleges, medical colleges, finance and economics colleges, and foreign Languages colleges. All new baccalaureate degree-granting colleges were required to undergo the Evaluation, with three evaluation outcomes: “Accepted”, “Accepted with Conditions” and “Not Accepted.” By the end of 2002, around 192 institutions completed the Evaluation.

From the end of 1995 to 2001,16 universities and colleges voluntarily applied to undergo the Exemplanary Evaluation, which had the following resultant categories: “Excellence,” “Conditional Pass” and “Not up to Excellence.”

From 1998 to the end of 2001, 26 universities and colleges underwent Random Evaluation, with four resultant categories: “Excellent,” “Good,” “Accepted,” and “Not Accepted.”

In 2002, the above two types of evaluation were combined into one: “Evaluation of University Baccalaureate Programs Project,” with four resultant categories: “Excellent,” “Good,” “Accepted,” and “Not Accepted.” The first three categories are good for 5 years. As of the end of 2004, some 116 universities and colleges completed this Evaluation.

In 2003, “Action Plan of Education Innovation 2003-2007” makes it clear that all higher education institutions undergo the quality evaluation every five years.

From 2003, MOE drafted an evaluation plan for tertiary colleges. The evaluation is implemented by each provincial education department, and the MOE will make periodical checks on the implementation work. By the end of 2004, about 107 universities and colleges have completed the evaluation.

The establishment of the Higher Education Evaluation Center (HEEC) of the Ministry of Education in August 2004 marks a new stage for the development of a systematic and professional evaluation system of higher education in China.

3. The Development of China Higher Education Quality Assurance System

In order to encourage higher education institutions to further improve teaching quality and to deepen the reform of education, we need to establish a quality assurance system and a monitoring mechanism with high efficiency and valid results, hence the following policy:
  • Establish a five-year cycle of evaluating institutions of higher education in a systematic and standardized manner.
  • Maintain a database to collect the basic institutional information concerning college infrastructure and other basic facilities; make such information available to the public to strengthen public awareness of the effectiveness of higher education institutions.
  • Perform program evaluation with the help from both institutions and professional agencies (organizations) to gradually establish an evaluation system and practice that aligns licensure of qualifications with recognition by professional organizations.
  • Combine both internal and external evaluation efforts to actively encourage higher education institutions to set up their internal quality assurance mechanism.
  • Establish a pool of experts (expecting to maintain such a pool of over 1,000 individuals) to perform evaluation, and provide them with regular training.
  • Develop a system that encourages non-governmental evaluation agencies and utilize such resources in the implementation of evaluation of universities and colleges.

4.The HEEC

The Higher Education Evaluation Center (HEEC) of the Ministry of Education (MOE), which was established in August 2004, is an administrative body under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. The main responsibility is to organize and implement the evaluation of baccalaureate degree programs and associate degree programs offered in institutions of higher education.
  • Organize and implement the evaluation, based on the guidelines, regulations, and evaluation criteria of the MOE, of teaching performance of institutions of higher education, of other education organizations, and of specialized education.
  • Conduct research in the areas of policies, regulations, and theories in higher education reform and evaluation, and provide data for the decision making body of the MOE.
  • Develop international cooperation and exchanges with higher education evaluation (accreditation) agencies/commissions in other countries as well as in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and enter agreement, as is authorized by the Chinese Government, with non-government agencies/organizations in the areas of evaluation in higher education institutions.
  • Develop non-government cooperation and exchanges in the study of higher education teaching & learning.
  • Conduct training for evaluators.
  • Provide consultation and information service in the area of higher education evaluation and other related services authorized by MOE.
Currently, the funds of Higher Education Evaluation Center of MOE come from two sources: budget allocated by the Government for evaluation and self-fund raising. The Center is currently staffed with 15 people, with one Director and one Deputy Director. The staff is expected to expand to 30 in the future. The Center is divided into four departments: an office of the Center, an office for Evaluation of Universities and Colleges, an office of Evaluation of Specialized Programs, and an office of Education & Training.


Higher Education Evaluation Center
The Ministry of Education
No.4 Dewai Street, Xicheng District
Beijing, P.R.China 100120
Telephone: +86-10-58581127~36
Fax:    +86-10-58581130~31