Ideology and education : a case study of the major debates and ideological conflicts in the development of contemporary Chinese education
This study is a critical enquiry into the relationship between ideology
and educational development. The People's Republic of China (PRC) has
been chosen to illustrate the particular case of engineering social
change through educational reforms. Ideological contradictions between
the dominant political ideology and the popular culture are reflected
in the major national debates on education. Overt statements of
individuals and groups indicate diverse normative patterns. When the
exponents of a political ideology endeavour to negate the traditional
culture, the dynamic of cultural reproduction is seen as ~n obstacle to
policy-making at all levels.
The relationship between ideology and education is defined in relation
to cultural reproduction and political hegemony (Part I, Chapter 1:1).
The concept of ideology is further ex~mplif;ed in the context of the
Chinese intellectual tradition of differentiating ideology from the
system of classical and philosophical thinking. While the Chinese
Communist ideology has been adopted as a symbolic instrument of domination,
the Chinese traditional way of thinking persists and continues to
influence people's way of thinking and behaviour (Part I, Chapter 1:2).
Two ideal typical models of Confucius' thinking and the thoughts of Mao
Zedong have been constructed to elucidate the contradictions between
the two nonnative patterns (Part I. Chapter 2).The basic problems of introducing a new ideology for Chinese education
are discussed in relation to the residue of traditionalism, Chinese
liberalism and the borrowing of foreign models. Together, they
contributed to the resistance of a traditional pattern of education to
change (Part I, Chapter 3).
The problem of modernizing education continues to engage the Communist
leadership in a prolonged struggle of the 'new' against the 'old'. The
conflicts are illustrated in the national debates on the contradiction
between popularization and the raising of standards (Part 11, Chapter
4), the relationship between theory and practice (Part 11, Chapter 5),
and red and expert (Part 11, Chapter 6).
Political and social integration lies in the philosophical synthesis of
establishing a system of modern Chinese thinking which has to be based
on the foundations of the Chinese cultural spirit and her adaptation to
the demand of modernity (Part Ill, Chapter 7). From this evolves a
general guideline for an alternative educational policy in China's new
long march (Part Ill, Chapter 8).