This week we explored China’s education policy in relation to its education policy for minority groups. We chose the article “Exclusionary Policies and Practices in Chinese Minority Education: The Case of Tibetan Education” by Bonnie Johnson and Nalini Chhetri of Pennsylvania State University.
– What kind of model:
*Nationalist-Cultural Model: Preservation of national cultural heritage; Education as infrastructure of solidifying common national-cultural identity; Collectivist; Extensive state intervention; Collective identity interests take precedence over individual rights
*Nationalist concept of culture
– What patterns we see:
* All about the patterns: they want to transmit a SINGLE, fluid culture, which means they need one cultural system to transmit
* Try to “pacify” minorities but they are still only a small part of what actually goes on
* Educational curriculum is set in stone for all of China
* Separate but distinct bilingual policies
* Chinese is used for all official and judicial purposes
– What are the contradictions:
* The educational system really makes exclusion a frightening reality. It is especially difficult for a linguistically- minority student to advance through the system.
* Provides mass education for nine years of schooling–however government’s
ability to provide mass education is limited by both economic and societal influences.
Economically, the task of building over one million schools (the number required to
implement this objective) is a strain on the limited resources of the government.
* Of the Tibetan children who enroll in elementary school, less than 10 percent will go on to junior high school. There is a second examination after Junior High School/ Middle School
to advance to high school, which is even more competitive than the first. Likewise a
third and final examination, called the “National Examination” is required to gain
admission to university.
* Chinese families have a ‘one child’ policy–but minority families are permitted to have more than one child, and are sometimes exempted from paying taxes to the central government.
– What is missing:
* Prior to 1951, Tibet had its own traditional form of education–monastic education.
Need some way to get back to that.
* Lack of Tibetan universities.
* Way to incorporate Tibetan students.
– What are consistent features:
*Goal of universal primary education
*Achievement measured by examination
*Uniform curriculum with nationalist message
*Teaching styles that emphasize authority of the teacher
*Demands for greater amount of recitation and memorization
– Our recommendations:
*Bolster higher education opportunities in Tibetan and support for Tibetan universities
*Tibetans should have a voice in the creation of this policy — bring in traditions from monastic education