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postgraduate thesis: General education in Chinese higher education: a case study of Fudan University

TitleGeneral education in Chinese higher education: a case study of Fudan University
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Law, WW
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chai, W. [柴文玉]. (2013). General education in Chinese higher education : a case study of Fudan University. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5089972
AbstractThis study explores the role and meaning of general education in Chinese higher education in the face of ongoing social changes in China, using Fudan University (FU) as a case study. General education has been heatedly discussed and greatly promoted in Chinese higher education since the last decade of the 20th century. Since existing theories and conceptions of general education mainly focus on Western, especially American, higher education, there has been little exploration of the meaning and role of general education in China, which has very different sociopolitical and cultural traditions from those of many Western nations, especially in the context of economic globalization. Therefore, an exploration of the meaning and role of general education in Chinese higher education could help to provide either challenges or supplements to existing theories and conceptions of general education. This study adopted the qualitative case study with FU as the case to explore the research problem. It used three data collection methods – document collection and review, interviews and observation – to gain an in-depth understanding of the development and tasks of general education at FU during periods of social transformation of China from 1905 to 2004, and during the latest reforms to general education at FU, between 2005 and 2012. Data collected from historical documents identified that general education at FU had mainly assumed two persistent tasks during periods of social transformation of China between 1905 and 2004. The first task was to facilitate the transmission of core cultural values, as defined mainly by the leaders of the state in different periods, to help the state to preserve its national identity. The second task was to equip students with knowledge, capacities and values, mainly Western in origin, to facilitate the state’s economic modernization. Further analysis of documentary, interview and observation data also identified continuities in and changes to the sociopolitical/cultural and economic tasks of general education at FU between 2005 and 2012; specifically, that general education still transmitted state-promoted core cultural values and still equipped students with a wider range of knowledge and capacities, but the contents of those values and the nature of those knowledge and capacities had changed due to the further development of China’s market economy and the effects of economic globalization. Based on these findings, this study proposed a concept to understand the meaning and role of general education at FU in the context of ongoing social changes in China. This thesis argues that, at FU, general education can be interpreted as a curricular instrument for nation-building that helps China promote its sociopolitical/cultural and economic tasks by facilitating (a) the inheritance of selected Chinese and non-Chinese cultural values, and (b) the equipment of students with a broader range of knowledge and capacities to cope with China’s changing economy. This study identified that, to facilitate China’s nation building ambitions, general education transmitted to students (a) Chinese and non-Chinese (particularly Western) cultural values, and (b) both traditional cultural values and contemporary cultural values prescribed by different national leaders (and/or scholars) in different historical periods. Further, this study identified two tensions in general education for nation-building: (a) the tension between traditional and contemporary Chinese cultures, and (b) the tension between selected Chinese and non-Chinese cultures. This study shows the ebb and flow of traditional Chinese cultural values in the sociopolitical/cultural task of general education, and how it has been shaped by China’s nation building since the early 20th century under the economic and military challenges of foreign nations. The concept of general education proposed by this study helps to explain the persistence of the economic and the sociopolitical/cultural task of general education at FU during the periods of social changes of China from 1905 to 2012. The study also identified that the economic task of general education mandated the import of elements of Western culture and values and therefore created tension with the Chinese cultural values transmitted in general education’s sociopolitical/cultural task. The concept of general education proposed by this study has implications for existed theories and conceptions of general education (mainly Western in context) which do not show (a) the coexistence of and the tensions between traditional and contemporary national cultures in the tasks of general education, and (b) the coexistence of and tensions between the economic and sociopolitical/cultural tasks of general education. Further research is suggested into the complex relationships among and tensions between different cultures as general education facilitates nation-building.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectGeneral education - Study and teaching (Higher) - China - Case studies.
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/192827

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLaw, WW-
dc.contributor.authorChai, Wenyu.-
dc.contributor.author柴文玉.-
dc.date.accessioned2013-11-24T02:01:00Z-
dc.date.available2013-11-24T02:01:00Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationChai, W. [柴文玉]. (2013). General education in Chinese higher education : a case study of Fudan University. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5089972-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/192827-
dc.description.abstractThis study explores the role and meaning of general education in Chinese higher education in the face of ongoing social changes in China, using Fudan University (FU) as a case study. General education has been heatedly discussed and greatly promoted in Chinese higher education since the last decade of the 20th century. Since existing theories and conceptions of general education mainly focus on Western, especially American, higher education, there has been little exploration of the meaning and role of general education in China, which has very different sociopolitical and cultural traditions from those of many Western nations, especially in the context of economic globalization. Therefore, an exploration of the meaning and role of general education in Chinese higher education could help to provide either challenges or supplements to existing theories and conceptions of general education. This study adopted the qualitative case study with FU as the case to explore the research problem. It used three data collection methods – document collection and review, interviews and observation – to gain an in-depth understanding of the development and tasks of general education at FU during periods of social transformation of China from 1905 to 2004, and during the latest reforms to general education at FU, between 2005 and 2012. Data collected from historical documents identified that general education at FU had mainly assumed two persistent tasks during periods of social transformation of China between 1905 and 2004. The first task was to facilitate the transmission of core cultural values, as defined mainly by the leaders of the state in different periods, to help the state to preserve its national identity. The second task was to equip students with knowledge, capacities and values, mainly Western in origin, to facilitate the state’s economic modernization. Further analysis of documentary, interview and observation data also identified continuities in and changes to the sociopolitical/cultural and economic tasks of general education at FU between 2005 and 2012; specifically, that general education still transmitted state-promoted core cultural values and still equipped students with a wider range of knowledge and capacities, but the contents of those values and the nature of those knowledge and capacities had changed due to the further development of China’s market economy and the effects of economic globalization. Based on these findings, this study proposed a concept to understand the meaning and role of general education at FU in the context of ongoing social changes in China. This thesis argues that, at FU, general education can be interpreted as a curricular instrument for nation-building that helps China promote its sociopolitical/cultural and economic tasks by facilitating (a) the inheritance of selected Chinese and non-Chinese cultural values, and (b) the equipment of students with a broader range of knowledge and capacities to cope with China’s changing economy. This study identified that, to facilitate China’s nation building ambitions, general education transmitted to students (a) Chinese and non-Chinese (particularly Western) cultural values, and (b) both traditional cultural values and contemporary cultural values prescribed by different national leaders (and/or scholars) in different historical periods. Further, this study identified two tensions in general education for nation-building: (a) the tension between traditional and contemporary Chinese cultures, and (b) the tension between selected Chinese and non-Chinese cultures. This study shows the ebb and flow of traditional Chinese cultural values in the sociopolitical/cultural task of general education, and how it has been shaped by China’s nation building since the early 20th century under the economic and military challenges of foreign nations. The concept of general education proposed by this study helps to explain the persistence of the economic and the sociopolitical/cultural task of general education at FU during the periods of social changes of China from 1905 to 2012. The study also identified that the economic task of general education mandated the import of elements of Western culture and values and therefore created tension with the Chinese cultural values transmitted in general education’s sociopolitical/cultural task. The concept of general education proposed by this study has implications for existed theories and conceptions of general education (mainly Western in context) which do not show (a) the coexistence of and the tensions between traditional and contemporary national cultures in the tasks of general education, and (b) the coexistence of and tensions between the economic and sociopolitical/cultural tasks of general education. Further research is suggested into the complex relationships among and tensions between different cultures as general education facilitates nation-building.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50899727-
dc.subject.lcshGeneral education - Study and teaching (Higher) - China - Case studies.-
dc.titleGeneral education in Chinese higher education: a case study of Fudan University-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5089972-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5089972-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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