Education taking new shape in China

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    By ERIN MARTIN

    The vice president of Beijing Normal University said educational opportunities are very important.

    “Schooling is the only way for upward movement,” said Yingjie Wang.

    Wang spoke Monday about the social changes and educational policy in China. He spoke as part of the International Lecture Series sponsored by The David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.

    Wang said it is difficult to be qualified to speak about these issues. He said he does not know about education in China and America in depth, but superficially.

    “China is in a dramatic change — no one is really qualified to talk about it,” he said.

    China is undergoing changes in economics and government, he said. For example, the economy is changing from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. Prices in stores used to be fixed, but now people need to compare prices.

    “The government role is shrinking,” Wang said.

    Wang said the universities need to adapt to the social changes. He said schools need to provide for all varieties in people’s jobs.

    Education policies need to be decentralized, Wang said. This change is a difficult one since China’s history is based on a central policy.

    “The next couple of decades are very important to China,” Wang said.

    Students in China are in transition from an ideological to a more practical application of education, he said. He said 20 years ago the content of education was to serve the country, and now it is to develop the individual.

    Wang is a professor of comparative education, and his responsibilities as vice president include international relations and personnel. He is no stranger to the United States, but this was his first visit to Utah.

    Joyce Chan, 30, a graduate student from Singapore studying educational leadership, said she appreciated Wang’s openness.

    “He tells you what is actually happening — he doesn’t hide anything,” she said.

    Weiqi Tian, a graduate student from Wuhan, China, studying educational literature, said although education is different in China, students could benefit from a combination of the two systems on a basic level.

    “In China, elementary school children have a lot of pressure. Here, they play more. I think a combination of the two would be good,” she said.

    Tian said she agrees the practical application of education is more emphasized here. She said school in China gives more emphasis to theory.

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