Yi Tian (PhD Student)

Thesis title: Elite Education in the Age of “Common Prosperity”: A Multiple-Case Study of Internationalized Schools in Shanghai, China


I want to pursue a PhD in Education at the University of Edinburgh because my true passion lies in the field. Ever since 2012, I have been committed to education by providing teenagers and adults in China with tailored language training courses. In 2019, I even launched my own education start-up, liaising and networking with native language specialists to offer premium, one-on-one tutoring services to English language learners. As my business delved into various aspects of education, my interest in this field has only grown and I have become increasingly intrigued in pursuing a more thorough and systematic study of education as an academic subject. This led me to enrol in an MSc in Educational Studies at the University of Glasgow, where I took a range of specialised subjects to thoroughly explore the world of education. Undoubtedly, my years of experience in the education field, coupled with my graduate degree from Glasgow, have convinced me that education is a calling ideally suited to my temperament and that completing a doctorate at Edinburgh will be the best option for me to fulfil my aspirations.


More specifically, my academic interests lie in the fields of education policies and international education. My interest in education policies was initially sparked during my master’s courses at Glasgow, where I learned about the complex dynamics of educational systems and the role of policy in shaping outcomes. This interest was further solidified by my previous study on China’s national education guidelines and the development of international schools. In recent years, the Chinese government has released several key education policies and regulations aimed at increasing fairness and equality in education, which have had a significant impact on the private education sector, including elite-oriented international schools. Thus, I am eager to understand how these policies are shaping the future of elite or international education in China and the ways in which stakeholders are navigating these changes.


Indisputably, the University of Edinburgh has been hailed as one of the most favoured academic institutions by students worldwide. It is particularly renowned for its world-class facilities, research innovation and excellence, and top-notch teaching standards. The superior study resources and pluralistic academic environment within Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education and Sport will also train me in a wide range of research methodologies and motivate me to develop my own viewpoints and voice in the field of education. Once I matriculate into your reputed programme, I am determined to explore theories and practices in education in real-life contexts, which I believe will help me better manage my education business and lead it to greater success upon graduation. More importantly, I wish the sound knowledge acquired through this doctoral degree will afford me insights into the broader aspects of education, including educational policies, international education and education systems, so that I can leverage my skills to better understand and contribute to the transformation of the educational landscape in China. All in all, I firmly believe that my academic abilities and professional experience will make me a competitive candidate for this programme. 


Master of Science (MSc) in Educational Studies With Merit

Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Management



“China Influential Online Education Brand Award” (2020)

1.In 2020, my online education company YU MIAO was given the above award at the China 2020 TIME Education Technology Conference (see http://m.china.com.cn/appdoc/doc_1_12_1755039.html)

Shanghai Polytechnic University

1.University Level Bursary (2009)

2.University Level Scholarship (2010)

3.Outstanding Student Academic Achievement Award (2011)


Third Prize in Shanghai University Student English Listening Competition (2011)


Outstanding Volunteer at Shanghai World Expo (2010)

Responsibilities & affiliations

YU MIAO (UK) EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD                                                           London, UK

Founder and Director                                                                                                                      08/2019 to Present 

1.Provides personalized online or face-to-face instruction

2.Group classes and summer schools with individual schedules and subjects (for example, literature, poetry, and debate)

3.The training of high-level English as a foreign language

4.Preparation for the entrance exams to UK private schools at any age

5.Coaching for applications to UK universities

Research summary

Originally trained in software engineering and management studies in Shanghai (China), I entered the education and training industry, working first as a consultant/manager and then as an entrepreneur and business founder. My over ten years of experience in the education sector fostered in me a passion for educational research and galvanized me to enroll for a MSc in Educational Studies at the University of Glasgow. The rigorous academic training in the UK has inspired me to seek further intellectual development through pursuing a doctoral degree. Combining in-depth scholarly research under a doctoral programme with my experience as an education practitioner, I ultimately aim to bring transformative improvement to my education endeavours and add value to stakeholders.  

Current research interests

Sociologically informed research in education has long noted how elite/privileged groups in society seek “international” or “cosmopolitan” forms of schooling for their offspring to reproduce social status and class advantage. In the context of China, one manifestation of such elite-oriented schooling comprises internationalized and bilingual schools that cater mainly to Chinese nationals. In 2021, pursuant to China’s top leadership’s vision of “common prosperity”, the government issued several major education policies and regulations aimed at bringing about greater educational equity and equality. These policies have had significant impact on the private education sector, including elite-oriented schools. Broadly framed within sociological and policy-related education research, this proposed doctoral study seeks to understand how internationalized and bilingual schools in China are being impacted by these recent drastic policy changes, and how these schools are responding. Due to the newness of these policies and fluidity of the situation, there is a genuine research gap. For this study, Shanghai is chosen as the research site, because (1) the city has a high concentration of impacted schools, and (2) the researcher is familiar with the city and its education setting. A multiple-case study research design will be adopted, and the overall methodological approach is envisioned to be qualitative, with semi-structured interviewing as the main data collection method, supplemented by field observation and discourse analysis. The study seeks to make original contributions to knowledge in terms of empirical insights into China’s recent education policy changes pertaining to private education, and theoretically informed analysis of how elite-oriented schooling responds to policy changes in a complex political, ideological, and societal context such as China.

Past research interests

YU MIAO (UK) EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY Carried out in-house research to optimize the system of online real-time interactive courses Fudan University A preliminary study on the quality management of teaching by foreign teachers in youth English education-The example of "51 Talk" educational training institution Glasgow International College The Integration of Chinese Culture into Chinese English Education

Conference details

1.TESOL China English Education Conference                                                                                                   2019, 2020, 2021,2023

2.China Private Education Industry Development Conference                                                                   2015-2020

3.GET Educational Technology Conference                                                                                                         2016-2020

4.China 2020 TIME Education Technology Conference                                                                                   2020