Since the death of Chairman Mao in 1976, China has experienced a “Reform and Opening” period. In education, this has meant a change from an egalitarian to an elite system. Examinations emerged as the primary way of sorting students. Those who did well on various examinations rose to the next level, working their way up to higher education.
This system, combining credentialism, competition, and Confucian traditions, has had profound consequences, including a rise in inequality and a growing divide between urban and rural communities.
My guest today, Edward Vickers, has a new co-written book called Education and Society in Post-Mao China, detailing the past forty years in educational development. This book is the first monograph in English to offer a comprehensive analysis of China’s educational development since the death of Chairman Mao.
Edward Vickers is a Professor in the department of education at Kyushu University, Japan. He specializes in education and history in East Asia.