Rethinking education in China

Date: 28 Aug 2017
Location: HS1-203, Bundoora Campus, La Trobe University, Australia

Recent years have witnessed mingled alarm and envy in the West at the supposed excellence of China's education system - epitomized by Shanghai's PISA success. But much public discussion of the context for that success, and of the nature of the education system that has produced it, remains worryingly superficial. Drawing on a new monograph, Education and Society in Post-Mao China (Routledge 2017), this talk re-examines the educational record of China during the four decades of 'Reform and Opening'. It argues that evaluation of this record depends very much on the evaluator's comparative perspective and ethical assumptions. Notwithstanding its impressive performance on many counts, education in Post-Mao China has played a key role in fostering radical social stratification - a role that is not accidental, but intrinsic to the system's design.

At the same time, the role assigned to education in political socialization - aimed partly at legitimating the system's radical shift away from egalitarianism - carries potential threats for the country's stability.

Edward Vickers is a Professor of Comparative Education at Kyushu University. His research focuses on the contemporary history of education in Chinese societies (mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong), with a particular focus on the role of schools and other public institutions in political socialization.

Time:12:00pm - 2:00pm

Light lunch included. Please RSVP by 24th August to

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