Chinese education

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Goldstick 1

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

China's Modern Educational System and its Disparities
Can we close this gap?

William Goldstick

Goldstick 2


In this thesis, I examine the evolution of China's system of education, from 1911 and the establishment of the Republic of China to Present-day China. Throughout the 20th century, China's educational system has evolved through three different political systems. First, during the era of the Republic of China, with the nation under the control of the Guomindang, education was limited to the intellectuals and wealthy until May 4th, 1919, with a movement creating a new system of education based on democratic republican ideals. After the Chinese Civil War during the Communist era, China's government, under Mao Zedong's leadership, from 1949 to 1978, worked to unify China under one single social class. Finally, from 1978 to the present, a movement opening China to the world and international markets has provoked a new educational policy preparing the Chinese students to the modern world the complexity of Chinese society in 2012.

Despite the reforms implemented by the Chinese government during the past decades,

there is a lack of equality across China and its regions, in terms of access to education and academic resources in relation to social status and location.

Comparing China to the United

States, despite its differences in structural and ideological educational philosophy, the two countries' educational systems are beginning, through baby steps, to influence each other.

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I. Introduction
The Chinese cultural schema of education is the abstract knowledge of the nature of education that is distributed among Chinese cultural members. This cultural knowledge emerges from thousands of years of interaction between the Chinese social need for developing harmony in a collective and stratified society, the Confucian philosophy of education and the political utilitarianism of education.


Education, in China, from the Xia dynasty to contemporary times, has had an impacting evolution, changing from a Confucian system to a legalist system to a Maoist/communist system to finally become the education system currently present in Market-Socialist China. From 1911 onto the present, a great number of educational reforms have been implemented resulting in China’s current system, with the persistence of socio-economic and ethnic disparities and a lack of access of education for students in ethnic minority areas and rural areas. Throughout the 20th century, the Chinese educational system has undergone deep transformations, influenced by the different political regimes and their goals.

First, the

Guomindang era led to the birth of the May 4th movement and the start of an educational system based on the ideals of a democratic republic. Following the Guomindang, during the communist era, the Communist Party of China, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, worked to unify all Chinese people under the same social class. Finally, the third era of educational policy was the policy that has been since 1978 to the present established and promulgated in China as a movement to open China to the globalized and international world and market.


Leng, Hui. "Chinese Cultural Schema of Education: Implications for Communication between Chinese Students and Australian Educators." Issues in Educational Research 15.1 (2007): 17-36. Print.

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II. History
The period between 1911 and 1949, under the leadership of the Guomindang, produced a number of important policies and reforms. Before 1911 and the dissolution of the Chinese Qing dynasty, access to education in China was limited to nobles and intellectuals, leaving a huge number of peasants and rural residents illiterate and uneducated. This limitation of access to education was apparent when looking at the Imperial examination, established by Confucius during the Tang...
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