In recent years general education in Chinese universities has gone through rapid growth, which has led scholars to reflect on the motivations which underpin its current and future development. This paper establishes a framework based on the size of the universities together with whether the motivation is idealism or empiricism. This framework forms three typologies of general education in China, particularly from the perspective of curriculum design and student involvement. Three cases that each represent one of the three typologies are analyzed to depict the detailed characteristics. The main conclusion of the paper is that general education in its essence is an idealistic pursuit of a permanent goal, while in reality it is resource-dependent and rooted in historical conditions. China’s case studies provide a vivid example that general education reform starts with practical approaches of offering selective courses or building pilot zones and then by moderately increasing its scale and coverage, moving towards idealism across the spectrum. The key principals during the long journey are to avoid conformism, encourage innovations and maintain diversity.
Do We Need a Mode Shift of General Education in China?
Jinghuan Shi and Yi Lu
Bernard Ganne and Shi Lu
While China has recently taken an amazing economic leap, completely transforming and liberalising its economic system, the absolute domination of the Communist party, operating in an extremely organised and centralised system and without free general elections, is the opposite of the models advocated by Western nations and remains a stumbling block for a number of Westerners.This governance from the top seems to exclude forms of expression and practices at the grassroots, but can this first reading explain the practical reality of Chinese politics?This paper looks into the links between the economic regeneration and the political transformations of two cities in Zhejiang. Studying the incredible advances of these two cities over 30 years reveals that their development was based not only on economic factors but also on a broad continuous movement of political and local reorganisation from the bottom up, promoting a new social and political dynamism, first locally then provincewide: a huge and profound change developed in a very specific way.Is this a premonitory model or announcement of the specifically Chinese methods of incorporating economic and political changes coming from the grassroots, which still affect certain sectors of the social and political spheres of Chinese society?
The display of the slogan ‘harmony’ in the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing seems to signify that China is moving toward a new conception of Communism. However, the pursuit of a harmonious society is not new in Chinese history. It is actually rooted in the complex Chinese tradition, especially that of Confucianism. The idea of ren (benevolence) is often considered as the prime ideology of Confucianism, but through a closer look at Chinese traditions, one will find that Chinese familism is positioned at the core of Chinese culture. The harmony the Confucianist seeks is situated in the unequal relationship in propriety defined by familism which has profound impact on the Chinese leadership formation as shown in the Chinese imperial system. Since Confucianism is deeply rooted not only in Chinese culture but also in the cultures of its neighborhood, understanding leadership formation in the context of Confucianism can be crucial to the effectiveness for mission leaders involved in Asian leadership in the marketplace and in the ecclesial practices. It is my argument that harmony, as expressed in the unequal relationship of Chinese familism, which is the driving force of leadership formation for the Chinese over the last two millennia, can be revitalized through the expression of harmony as defined by Max De Pree in his conception of leadership formation: mutually edifying participation between persons who are stewarding God-given gifts. The first task of this paper is to define Chinese familism. This is followed by a comparative analysis of leadership formation within the Chinese cultural context, in light of the current leadership discoveries emanating from the West. The paper concludes with a presentation of potential ways in which familial ideals might be integrated with De Pree’s leadership principles.