China has a history of revolutions, but the Chinese Communist Party launched the greatest revolution in modern times. A revolution that emancipated mind and thoughts; a revolution that boosted the spirit of social sacrifice; and a revolution that inculcated the notion of equity. For a long period after the establishment of the PRC, this spirit of service and devotion was consolidated with labels like “model workers”, “model cadres”, “model teacher” etc. Hence, even after the reform and opening up, one could easily find volunteers in the universities and community work gained special recognition in climbing the social ladder. However, gradually with the honorariums attached to education, the ground realities of teaching and learning have changed.
"In a country where egalitarian notions run high, it is surprising that most of the university campuses are devoid of students with physical disability."
"Education is a right and an opportunity to have better quality of education is a necessity. This being the aim and objective of every responsible state, it is also imperative for the state to create such environment."
Education is a right and an opportunity to have better quality of education is a necessity. This being the aim and objective of every responsible state, it is also imperative for the state to create such environment. Since time in memorial, China has had a culture of respecting those who guide the masses. Even during Mao’s time, ‘education campaigns’ of different nature were launched oft-and-on to educate the masses. Today, most educated class of people is a composite of creamy layer in the society and occupies top political positions. This being the case, education cannot be and should not be linked to material benefits. However, the ground realities speak volumes about the monetary linkages. All Conferences and Seminars impose stupendous fees even to students’ participation, all Professors seek ties with western universities as scholarships and fellowships boost their promotional chances, not all teaching is for dissemination of knowledge but for multiplying salary packages, and all scholarly discussions are with relationships based on exchange of gifts and favours. One wonders, in this race for money, what kind of social education is imparted to future generations. Are the educators involved in any social devotion or there is a march towards soul erosion?
Chinese philosophies advocated ‘Chinese as the base and learning from the west’. It seems that the learning from the west has overshadowed the base. As the state calls for expanding the horizons of education in China and as it enjoys the privilege of higher literacy rate among the developing countries, it will be inevitable for the state to look for the higher standards of quality education imparted with an inclusive approach. More importantly, it will be imperative for the state to establish diverse posts of high standard educational institutions in multiple cities. Commercialization of education will only lead to cultivating a degenerated society, while building a civilized society will remain as an objective.
(Dr. Geeta Kochhar is Assistant Professor, Centre for Chinese and South East Asian Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU, New Delhi)