Education in China, ca. 1840-present


In Education in China, ca. 1840–present Meimei Wang, Bas van Leeuwen and Jieli Li offer a description of the transformation of the Chinese education system from the traditional Confucian teaching system to a modern mode. In doing so, they touch on various debates about education such as the speed of the educational modernization around 1900, the role of female education, and the economic efficiency of education. This description is combined with relevant data stretching from the second half of 19th century to present collected mainly from statistical archives and contemporary investigations.

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Meimei Wang, Ph.D. (2019), Utrecht University, is a research fellow of Chinese modern economic history at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She has published many articles on education in China, including Spatial-economic development: The effect of urbanization on education in China, 1890-present (Routledge, 2020).

Bas van Leeuwen, Ph.D. (2007), Utrecht University, is a senior researcher at the International Institute of Social History. He has published many articles on education, global history, and China.

Jieli Li, BA, is an assistant researcher at the International Institute of Social History. She has published various articles on education and income, including Education since 1820 (OECD, 2014).
List of Figures and Tables
Reigns of Emperors in the Late Qing Dynasty
Chinese Terms

1 Developments in China’s Education System
 1.1 Introduction
 1.2 The Education System during the Qing
 1.3 Modernization of Education
 1.4 The Education System of New China

2 Quantifying the Enrolment in Education
 2.1 Literacy and Attainment
 2.2 Enrolment during the Qing Dynasty
 2.3 The Modern Education System

3 Curriculum and Teaching
 3.1 Traditional Education
 3.2 Modernizing Education
 3.3 Educational Curriculums in New China

4 Female Education
 4.1 Female Education in Qing China up to the 1860s
 4.2 Modernization of Education and Female Participation from the 1860s to the 1920s
 4.3 Solidification of Female Education after the 1910s
 4.4 Continuing Expansion of Female Education in New China

5 Education and Social Status
 5.1 Traditional Education in China
 5.2 Changing Social Backgrounds of Students in Modern Education
 5.3 Changes in Social Backgrounds of Students in New China

6 Effect of Education on the Chinese Economy
 6.1 Economic Theories on Education
 6.2 Chinese Experiences under the Traditional Education System
 6.3 The Limited Effect of Modern Education on the Chinese Economy during the Early Stage of Educational Modernization
 6.4 Regional Differences of the Effect of Modern Education on Economic Development
 6.5 Educational Change in New China and Its Effect on Chinese Economy
 Appendix A: Educational Attainment by County, ca. 1930–1950
 Appendix B: Enrollment Ratio by County and Sex, ca. 1870–1930
 Appendix C: Enrollment Ratio in Primary Education (excluding Sishu) in Zhejiang 1927, Anhui 1932, Jiangxi 1932, Guangdong 1934, Taiwan 1946, and Zhili 1928
 Appendix D: Share Girls in Total Students in Modern (excluding Sishu) Primary Schools in Zhejiang 1927, Jiangxi 1932, Guangdong 1934, Fujian 1930, and Zhili 1928
 Appendix E: Duration of Education ca. 1930–1950
 Appendix F: Family Background Students
 Appendix G: Education by Occupation
 Appendix H: Age Difference in Marriage by Level of Education
 Appendix I: Literacy by Age Class ca 1940
 Appendix J: Attainment versus Literacy
 Appendix K: Literacy versus Various Indicators
 Appendix L: Teacher Wages
 Appendix M: Teacher Wages by County, ca. 1930
 Appendix N: Subjective Income Quantile by Level of Education, 1995–2013
 Appendix O: Number of Teachers by Selected Counties ca. 1920
 Appendix P: The Number of Students by Province and Education Level in 1930
 Appendix Q: Ratio of Girls Enrollment in Modern (excluding Sishu) Education, ca. 1930
 Appendix R: The Number of Students by Province and Year in New China, 1950–2010
 Appendix S: Female Students by Level of Education, Province and Year in New China, 1985–2010
 Appendix T: Main Changes in Provincial Boundaries Changes since 1920
 Appendix U: Central Government Expenses on Education, 1936–2010
 Appendix V: Average Years of Modern Education in the Population aged 15 Years and Older by Province, 1922–2009
Economists, economic historians, sociologists, and generally all people requiring information and/or data on Chinese education.