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Local Education System Transformation and Innovation Initiative

area Education Ecology Building
Organization 21st Century Education Research Institute
Year 2018
Region Nationwide


In recent years, many innovative educational practices have been initiated by local governments and educational administrators, which have played a positive role in building a public service government, promoting fact-based education development, and improving education quality and people’s livelihoods. At present, an important aspect of the Education Planning Outline is the implementation of major pilot reforms in certain regions and at the grass-roots level. In the context of the structural diversity of our country, there are always some local governments that achieve extraordinary results and effectively solve some of the so-called “old, big and difficult” education problems. Their success not only strengthens society’s confidence in the necessity of education reform but also provides the relevant experience and support for overall reform. It is therefore of great value to promote the transformation of China’s education system through fact-based research and innovation, and then spread it across the country to create an environment and atmosphere open to reform.



To promote the local education system innovation, promote transformation through practice and promote the modernization of China’s education.


Our Action:

Since 2008, the 21st Century Education Research Institute has held five “Local Education Innovation Awards” through “non-governmental evaluation of local education performance”. While promoting the Sixth Local Education Innovation Award and identifying more new cases, the project also starts to analyse and summarize the motivation and trend of the previous cases to form a better selection mechanism. Based on that, it also summarizes the continuously effective mechanism and influencing factors of local education system innovation, and systematically analyses the motivation, reform focus, activity and future reform in the past ten years.

Based on the exploration in the past ten years, it is obvious that there are many actors trying to connect with academic resources, actively learning from the excellent experience of the international community and willing to communicate with other administrators in other regions. Therefore, the project regularly holds “Director’s Salons”, continuing to promote in-depth thinking and beneficial exploration on key issues among local Education Bureau directors, provide opportunities for international exchanges for those who have ideas and dare to innovate, share China’s experience in education reform and innovation on the international stage, and learn from great practices of other countries. At the same time, the project also sends excellent young scholars to local regions, researching local reform exploration, promoting fact-based innovation practices jointly with local Education Bureaux, and providing evidence for further innovation.


All the five awards were held in Beijing with similar processes including expert review, media selection and online voting. Each time, 20 cases will be awarded out of all the cases across the country. So far, the project has involved 23 provinces and produced 113 winning cases, which are currently studied and applied by the National Academy of Education Administration, Faculty of Education of Beijing Normal University, Dongbei Normal University and Institute for Education Policy.

The first five awards have gradually produced social impact in local education performance evaluation through the third party, which not only has a direct and positive impact on the local Education Bureau, but also been affirmed and recognized by the Ministry of Education. Each selection attracts the active participation and attention of leaders from the Ministry of Education and local Education Bureau, providing rich information and reference for them to understand innovation on the ground. Meanwhile, there is a large amount of mainstream media coverage, forming intensive and in-depth public advocacy.