How China revamped its Higher Education System

How China revamped its Higher Education System: Project 211, Project 985, C9 League, and Double First Class


According to QS World university rankings 2023, China has the third largest share of ranked universities in the world currently china has 71 universities ranked and it is just behind UK and USA which have 90 and 201 ranked universities respectively.  The rise of Chinese universities in globally is one of the greatest success stories in higher education.  In the QS World University Rankings 2023, 8 Chinese Universities were on the world’s best universities under 200 QS WUR Rank. Peking university (12) and Tsinghua University (14) have both improved from 18 and 17 (QS WUR 2022) ranks respectively.


This is due to the continuous effort put by China both in-terms or investment in education and internationalization of its universities. To attain world-class status in higher education, the Chinese government developed the Project 211, Project 985 and the C9 League in the mid-1990s.

The Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE) has taken 4 major initiatives especially targeting internationalization.

According to data from the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education (MOE), there are 3012 colleges and universities in mainland China. These Chinese universities are classified under three initiatives.

1. Project 211

Project 211 is an education initiative that started in 1995. The project has funded over 100 Chinese universities with the purpose of elevating them to international academic standards by the end of the 21st century. Project 211 also aims to support universities in their research standards and capacity.