Environmental Policies Enter the Educational Sector: Different Shades of Green at District Level

  • Outi LuovaEmail author
Part of the ARI - Springer Asia Series book series (ARI, volume 7)


Environmental policies are cross-sectoral by nature, and during their implementation, they have to be adapted to the differing contexts of different sectors. Furthermore, there is variation in the implementation process between different geographical areas. In this chapter, Luova looks at how two inner urban districts in the city of Tianjin (one poor and one wealthy) implement their new environmental plans in the educational sector. Chinese urban districts have substantial freedom to adapt educational policies to fit local conditions, and schools themselves are encouraged to define and to emphasize their own specific priorities. Under these circumstances, how can environmental policy goals be reached in an effective way, asks Luova? Her findings show that, with regard to numerical targets, the poor district did better than the rich one. This was because a green profile was cheap to acquire, it opened the door to substantial external funding, and it made possible an improved bargaining position vis-à-vis the city government. However, the rich district was able to provide solid resources for its schools, enabling them to excel in terms of qualitative objectives: i.e. nurturing green lifestyles and promoting respect for the environment. The study highlights (1) specific features of environmental policy implementation in the educational sector, (2) various policy implementation processes in inner urban districts, and (3) the importance of clear qualitative targets in the definition of policy goals. In the conclusion, Luova proposes a model for examining governance dynamics in urban China.


Tianjin Urban districts Policy variation Environmental education 



In writing this chapter, I have received support from the Academy of Finland (grant no. 116755).


  1. Cai, Y. S. (2004). Irresponsible state: Local cadres and image-building in China. Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 20(4), 20–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chang, I.-C. C., Leitner, H., & Sheppard, E. (2016). A green leap forward? Eco-state restructuring and the Tianjin–Binhai Eco-City model. Regional Studies, 50(6), 929–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chien, S.-S. (2013). Chinese eco-cities: A perspective of land-speculation-oriented local entrepreneurialism. China Information, 27(2), 173–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chien, S.-S., & Wu, F. (2011). Transformation of China’s urban entrepreneurialism- case study of the City of Kunshan. Cross-Currents E-Journal, 1. Accessed 4 Aug 2014.
  5. China Education Newspaper. (2012). 绿色生态文化:让学校为师生的乐园 (Green ecological culture: make school into a paradise for teachers and pupils). 26 June 2012. Accessed 8 Feb 2016.
  6. Clark, P. B., & Wilson, J. Q. (1961). Incentive systems: A theory of organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 6, 129–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cuan, W., & Guo, D. (2013). 美丽的今天 绿色的未来——天津市河东区六纬路小学环境教育工作纪实 (Beautiful present, green future - report of environmental education work at the Liuwei Road primary school in Hedong, Tianjin). Environmental Education, 4, –103.Google Scholar
  8. deLeon, P., & deLeon, L. (2002). What ever happened to policy implementation? An alternative approach. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 12(4), 467–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Duckett, J. (1998). The entrepreneurial state in China. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Hedong District. (2006) 天津市创建国家环境保护模范城市先进区. 关于表彰河东区创建国家环境保护模范城市先进单位、优秀组织工作者和先进个人的决定 (Tianjin establishes advanced districts as a part of the national environmental protection pilot city project. On awarding titles of advanced unit, excellent organization builders and individuals in Hedong district). Accessed 4 Mar 2013.
  11. Hedong District. (2008). 关于编制《天津市河东区生态城区 建设规划》的说明(摘要) (Explanations of drawing up the “Programme for the establishment of Hedong ecological urban district in Tianjin”. Summary). Accessed 4 Mar 2013.
  12. Hedong District. (2011) 河东区国民经济和社会发展第十二个五年规划纲要的报告的通知 (Notice on the Report of the Outline for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of Hedong District). Available via CNKI.
  13. Hedong District Standing Committee of the People’s Congress (Hedong District SCPC). (2010). 关于河东区开展生态城区建设 工作情况的汇报 (Report on the work to develop an ecological urban district in Hedong). Accessed 12 Mar 2013.
  14. Hedong District. (2012). 河东年鉴2012 (Hedong Yearbook 2012). Tianjin: Tianjin People’s Publishing House.Google Scholar
  15. Hendrischke, H. (1999). Tianjin - quiet achiever? In H. J. Hendrischke & C. Feng (Eds.), The political economy of China’s provinces (pp. 183–206). London: Competitive and Comparative Advantage. Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Heping District. (n.d. ca 2003) 环境保护 (Environmental protection) Accessed 4 March 2013.
  17. Heping District. (n.d. ca 2007). 加大城区环境保护力度努力营造可持续发展的生态环境 (Increase efforts to protect the urban environment, aim to promote sustainable development of the ecological environment). Accessed 5 Mar 2013.
  18. Heping District. (2008). 共创文明城区 共享文明成果——天津市和平区文明城区创建工作概述 (Create together and share the achievements of a civilized urban district – Summary of the work to create a civilized district in Heping, Tianjin). Accessed 5 Mar 2013.
  19. Heping District. (2011). 和平区绿色学校名录 (List of green schools in Heping district). Accessed 5 Mar 2013.
  20. Heping District. (2013a). 和平区2013年环境保护工作要点 (Key points on environmental protection work in Heping district in 2013). Accessed 3 Sept 2013.
  21. Heping District. (2013b). 2013年和平区环境教育工作计划 (Work Plan for Environmental Education in 2013). Accessed 23 Aug 2017.
  22. Heping District. (2014). 2014年和平区环境教育工作计划 (Work Plan for Environmental Education in 2014). Accessed 23 Aug 2017.
  23. Hsing, Y.-T. (2010). The great urban transformation: Politics of land & property in China. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jinnan District. (2014). 津南区关于开展环境友好型学校(幼儿园)创建工作的通知 (Notice on the work to develop environmental friendly schools (kinder gartens) in Jinnan district).; document 津南环教办发[2014]1号(新版). Accessed 12 July 2016.
  25. Kohoutek, J. (2013). Three decades of implementation research in higher education: Limitations and prospects of theory development. Higher Education Quarterly, 67(1), 56–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kooiman, J. (2007). Governing as governance. First published 2003. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Kwan, T. Y.-L., & Lidstone, J. (1998). Understanding environmental education in the People’s Republic of China: A national policy, locally interpreted. Environmental Education Research, 4(1), 87–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lee, J. C.-K., & Huang, Y. (2009). Education for sustainable development projects and curriculum reform in China: The EEI and the EPD. In J. Chi-Kin Lee & M. Williams (Eds.), Schooling for sustainable development in Chinese communities: Experience with younger children. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  29. Lee, J. C.-K., & Williams, M. (2009). Dimensions of environmental education and education for sustainable development. In J. C.-K. Lee & M. Williams (Eds.), Schooling for sustainable development in Chinese communities: Experiences with younger children. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  30. Lin, J., & Ross, H. (2005). Addressing urgent needs: The emergence of environmental education in China. China Environment Series, 7, 74–78.Google Scholar
  31. Liuwei Road Primary School. (2010). 学校简介 (Introduction). Accessed 8 Feb 2016.
  32. Luova, O. (2013). Divergent trajectories among Chinese community volunteer associations and urban governance: Comparing four districts in Tianjin. Journal of Comparative Asian Development, 12, 443–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Matland, R. E. (1995). Synthesizing the implementation literature: The Ambiguitu-conflict model of policy implementation. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 5(2), 145–174.Google Scholar
  34. McBeath, G. A., McBeath, J. H., Qing, T., et al. (2015). Environmental education variation in China. Environmental Education in China. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  35. Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). (2015). 环境保护部、教育部公布第二批全国中小学环境教育社会实践基地名单 (List of the second batch of national level environmental protection and social practice units for middle and primary schools). Accessed 9 Feb 2016.
  36. Ran, R. (2013). Perverse incentive structure and policy implementation gap in China’s local environmental politics. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 15(1), 17–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shi, L. (2015). 特色高中建设的困境与因应 (Creation of middle schools with special characteristics: Problems and responses). Journal of Tianjin Academy of Educational Science, 6, 76–77.Google Scholar
  38. Tianjin Bureau of Statistics. (2014). 天津统计年鉴2014 (Tianjin Statistical Yearbook 2014). Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  39. Tianjin Communist Party Branch Life (TCPBL). (2012). 和平区:兴民富商 力创“首善之区 (Heping district: Properous people, wealthy businessmen create the “best district” ). Issue 11. Accessed 3 Aug 2015.
  40. Tianjin Daily. (2013). 天津市河东区香山道小学:以绿色生态文化育人 (Xiangshandao primary school in Hedong, Tianjin: using green ecological culture to educate people). Re-published on Tianjin Zhaoshangwang on 26 Nov 2013. Accessed 8 Feb 2016.
  41. Tianjin Daily. (2016). 关于河东区“十二五”规划纲要实施情况的报告 (Report on the implementation of the outline for Hedong district's twelfth five-year plan). Accessed 11 Apr 2016.
  42. Tianjin Education Commission. (2012). 天津教育年鉴2012 (Tianjin Education Yearbook 2012). Tianjin: Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences Press.Google Scholar
  43. Tianjin People’s Congress. (2012). 天津市环境教育条例 (Regulations on environmental education). Accessed 5 Mar 2013.
  44. Tianjin People’s Government. (2004). 天津区县年鉴 2004 (Tianjin District and County Yearbook 2004). Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  45. Tianjin People’s Government. (2014). 天津区县年鉴 2014 (Tianjin District and County Yearbook 2014). Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  46. Tianjin EP. (2014) 天津市个区县市级环境友好型学校(绿色学校) 创建进度统计表 (Statistics of the establishment of city-level environmental friendly (green) schools in Tianjin’s each district and county). Accessed 21 Jan 2015.
  47. Tianjin EPB. (2003) 2002年天津市环境状况公报 (Report on the condition of the environment in Tianjin, 2002).. Accessed 11 Aug 2015.
  48. Tianjin EPB. (2011a) 天津市环境保护“十二五”规划 (12th Five-year plan for environmental protection in Tianjin) Accessed 10 Sept 2013.
  49. Tianjin EPB. (2011b). 关于印发《天津市“十二五”环境宣传教育工作纲要》的通知 (Notice on the outline for environmental communication and education work for the 12th five-year plan) Accessed 10 Sept 2013.
  50. Tianjin EPB. (2013). 天津市2013年环境教育工作计划 (Tianjin's Work Plan for Environmental Education in 2013). Accessed 10 Sept 2013.
  51. Tianjin EPB. (2014). 天津市2014年环境教育工作计划 (Tianjin’s work plan for environmental education in 2014). Accessed 22 Jan 2015.
  52. Tianjin EPB. (2015) 天津市2015年环境教育工作计划(Tianjin's work plan for environmental education in 2015). . Accessed 22 Jan 2015.
  53. Tianjin Government. (2002) 天津市人民政府关于开展创建国家环境保护模范城市活动的通知 (Tianjin People’s Government's notice on the activities for the establishment of national level environmental protection pilot city). Accessed 4 Aug 2014.
  54. Tian, Y., & Wang, C. (2016). Environmental education in China: Development, difficulties and recommendations. Journal of Social Science Studies, 3(1), 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tianzhuang Middle School. (2016). 天津市河东区田庄中学绿色学校领导小组构成、职责分工及工作情况 (The structure, division of responsibilities and working circumstances of the green school small leading group in the Tianzhuang Middle School) id=2023. Accessed 8 Feb 2016.
  56. UNESCO-UNEP. (1994). A prototype environmental education curriculum for the Middle School. Accessed 4 Aug 2015.
  57. Wang, H. (2007). 学校品牌的经营与管理 (School brand management and administration). Developing, 5, 89–90.Google Scholar
  58. Wu, Z. (2002). Green schools in China. The Journal of Environmental Education., 34(1), 21–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zeng, H., Yang, G., & Lee, J. C.-K. (2009). Green schools in China. In J. Chi-Kin Lee & M. Williams (Eds.), Schooling for sustainable development in Chinese communities: Experience with younger children. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  60. Zhang, T. (2005). Uneven development among Shanghai’s three urban districts. In L. J. C. Ma & F. Wu (Eds.), Restructuring the Chinese city. Changing society, economy and space (pp. 124–139). London: Routledge.Google Scholar


  1. Interview at Dongli Education Bureau, September 2015Google Scholar
  2. Interview at Hedong Education Bureau, September 2015Google Scholar
  3. Interview at Heping Education Bureau, September 2015Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for East Asian StudiesUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

Personalised recommendations