Education论文模板 – International Education Demonstration Zone in Guangdong HongKong Macao Greater Bay Area from the Perspective of Cultural Identity: A Proposed Model

  1. Background of the Study

Academic burden is a significant issue in the Guangdong province as it is in China. However, instead of reducing it, the Ministry of Education announced in 2021 a policy that increased the academic burden for undergraduate education in the hope of reversing the so-called phenomenon of hardworking high schools and relaxed universities (Gao et al., 2022). Student alienation is also an important issue in higher education in Hong Kong from the context of globalization and neoliberalist education (Wong, 2022). Meanwhile, gaps in knowledge, skills, and attitudes had been observed among higher education graduates in Macao (Lourenco et al., 2022). Moreover, scholars (e.g., Tootell et al., 2021; Christman, 2021; Renn, 2022) have observed several enabling and disabling factors involved in higher education cooperation like other fields of cooperation.

However, the construction of the International Higher Education Demonstration Zone (IHEDZ) in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GHM-GBA) demonstrates strong policy support from the Chinese government for higher education cooperation (Wang, 2022, Dongguan Today, 2020). Consequently, with its unique advantages (e.g., higher education resources) (Wang, 2022), this policy support probably improves enablers and reduces barriers to higher education cooperation in this zone.

  • Research Questions and Aims
    • Research Questions
  • What are the factors that enable cooperation in and with the IHEDZ GHM-GBA?
  • What are the factors that disable cooperation in and with the IHEDZ GHM-GBA?
  • What are the current effects of these factors on the quality of higher education in the IHEDZ GHM-GBA?
    • Research Aims

       Generally, this study aims to determine the influencing factors of cooperation in the IHEDZ GHM-GBA. Specifically, three objectives will be pursued:

  • Determine the factors that enable cooperation in and with the IHEDZ GHM-GBA.
  • Determine the factors that disable cooperation in and with the IHEDZ GHM-GBA.
  • Determine the current effects of these factors on the quality of higher education in the IHEDZ GHM-GBA.
  • Theoretical Framework

       Neo-institutionalism goes beyond the parameters of classical institutionalism. While still mindful of its interest in the way institutions, like higher education institutions (HEIs), determine social, economic, and political outcomes of higher education, it has moved deeper into how the external environment, such as government policy, global expectations, and similar elements, deeply embed and shape academic institutions (Wright, Feng, & Zheng, 2021). In a sense, where classical institutionalism looks at institutions from the inside out, neo-institutionalism does so from the outside in, reflecting the dynamics of cooperation.

       From the neo-institutionalist perspective, HEIs are social constructs the behavior of which is highly influenced by shared cultural meanings (Wright, Feng, & Zheng, 2021). This means that the external environment constructs HEIs, “providing them with templates for their formal structures and policies, and thereby increasing [its] legitimacy in the wider world” (Powell & Bromley, 2015). Therefore, apart from government policy and global expectations, HEIs seek legitimacy through adherence to institutional beliefs (taken-for-granted myths), expectations, and rules (Fig. 1). Consequently, HEI behavior reflects this institutional pressure to demonstrate legitimacy, often by unconsciously following legitimized practices. Therefore, higher education cooperation in the IHEDZ GHM-GBA will be subject to external factors that could enable or disable it from achieving institutional objectives.

Figure 1. Modifying Factors for Higher Education Cooperation

       Moreover, factors that may influence higher education cooperation in the IHEDZ GHM-GBA may also be modified through isomorphism, loose coupling, and dominant institutional logic (Wright, Feng, & Zheng, 2021). Isomorphism occurs when HEIs lose their distinctive qualities and become increasingly standardized because of external pressures. Loose coupling occurs when HEIs experience gaps between their allegiance to legitimized policies and their actual organizational behavior or practices, making conformity a ceremonial demonstration. Lastly, institutional logic pertains to an organizational way of thinking among HEIs borne of their inherent or acquired organizational culture. The interaction of these three factors with the external factors may have significant effects on the level of higher education cooperation in and with the IHEDZ GHM-GBA.

  • Research Locale

       The study will be focusing on the International Higher Education Demonstration Zone (IHEDZ) in the Guandong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in southern China. The IHEDZ is a national pilot zone designed to deepen Guangdong’s reform of its higher education system and provide a model for comprehensive education cooperation between the Mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao (Dongguan Today, 2020). Because Hong Kong and Macao are both special administrative regions, their distinctive educational system and policies provide an interesting element in their higher education cooperation objectives and activities with the Guangdong province, including the 2019 Chinese intervention in Hong Kong (BBC, 2019).

  • Research Paradigm & Input-Output Process

       This study will use an integrative literature review. This design is grounded on the interpretive paradigm wherein humans in HEIs behave partly because of their external environment mediated by their subjective perceptions. Therefore, all perspectives from all peer-reviewed articles gathered in this study. When gathered qualitatively or quantitatively, these articles will be viewed as interpretations of the participants’ view of reality, delivering rich contents.

An integrative literature review is highly appropriate because it encompasses both qualitative and quantitative literature, empirical or theoretical literature (Wang et al., 2018). This is also appropriate because of the geographical distance of the research locale, which can be costly to visit, and direct data gathering can be difficult. The purposive sampling method will be used in selecting qualified peer-reviewed articles searched through Google Scholar. The selection process will follow a simplified model used by Wang et al. (2018). Thematic analysis will be conducted to identify factorial themes that will be ranked by frequency of interest to achieve the specific research aims.


BBC. (2019, August 14). Hong Kong protests: How could China intervene? BBC News,

Christman, W. L. (2021). Global resilience manifesto: Global partnership for the future a new model. Global Resilience.

Fanny. (2020, December 10). Greater Bay Area to establish International Higher Education Demonstration Zone. African Times.

Gao, R., He, T., Liao, Y., Liu, X., Su, Y., Zuo, H., & Mo, L. (2022). Investigation on the academic burden of Chinese students ranging from primary schools to universities based on a word association test in Guangdong province. International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 19(x), 2481, 1-16.

Lourenco, F., Li, Z., Ren, L., & Cheng, R. (2022). What retail experts say about tourism retail education? A case of Macao using an integrated Bloom-Kolb learning design canvas. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 23(1), 275-297.

Powell, W. W. & Bromley, P. (2015). New institutionalism in the analysis of complex organizations. In J. D. Wright (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (pp. 764-796). Elsevier.

Renn, J. (2022). Metamorphosis of the technosphere. In I. Scholz, L. Busse, & T. Fues (Eds.), Transboundary cooperation and global governance for inclusive sustainable development (pp. 231-241). Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos.

Tootell, A., Kyriazis, E., Billsberry, J., Ambrosini, V., Garrett-Jones, S., & Wallace, G. (2021). Knowledge creation in complex inter-organizational arrangements: Understanding the barriers and enablers of university-industry knowledge creation in science-based cooperation. Journal of Knowledge Management, 25(4), 743-769.

Wang, T. (2022). How to build world-class universities in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area? In K. H. Mok (Ed.), Higher education, innovation, and entrepreneurship from comparative perspectives (pp. 165-184). Singapore: Springer.

Wang, Y. Y., Wan, Q. Q., Lin, F., Zhou, W. J., & Shang, S. M. (2018). Interventions to improve communication between nurses and physicians in the intensive care unit: An integrative literature review. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 5(x), 81-88.

Wong, Y. L. (2022). Student alienation in higher education under neoliberalism and global capitalism: A case of community college students’ instrumentalism in Hong Kong. Community College Review, 50(1), 96-116.

Wright, E., Feng, S., & Zheng, Y. (2021). Unemployed graduate to the next Jack Ma? A counter-narrative to the entrepreneurship movement in higher education. Higher Education, 8(x), 863-880.

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