Korean J General Edu Search


Korean Journal of General Education 2015;9(4):143-167.
Published online December 30, 2015.
The Current Status and Challenges of Liberal Education in Chinese Universities - Centering on Beijing University and Tsinghua University-
Young-Ran Lee
중국 대학 교양교육의 현황과 과제
As university education, that is, the status of higher education is connected with national competitive power, many countries have paid great attention to its reform. China also intends to reorganize its higher education system for reform of university education under the conflicts between tradition and modernism. Since its reform and opening up, as the Chinese economy has developed and accordingly Chinese socialism has formed, China has had to find their own educational methods under the socialist market economy. To nurture competitive global elites, Chinese universities have had liberal education, that is, culturally-talented education conducted at the stage of bachelor programs. Recently, China has provided education focusing on reading oriental and western classics beyond liberal education centering on introduction or history. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the current status of liberal education in China, focusing on the educational systems and developmental process used in Chinese universities before examining the liberal education they provide. For this purpose, the current status of liberal education provided in Beijing and Tsinghua University, and future challenges were identified. In understanding the liberal education provided by Chinese universities, it is suggested that the directions and measures for Korean liberal education can definitely be verified. Liberal university education in China started with the reform projects in higher education such as the ‘211 Educational Reform’ and the ‘985 Educational Reform’ after early and mid 1992. The Chinese government classified universities into general, research and open colleges and declared that it would develop some of universities and departments to be world-class. Current liberal education in China was suffering, by not freeing itself from Chinese nature after the early and mid-1990s. Liberal education in Chinese universities have a few challenges to overcome. If so, what are the problems? First, enough time to select a basic curriculum should be given. Students should be able to adjust their time freely and arrange their own curriculum depending on their selection of subjects so that they can take classes when they want. Second, a bachelor program should be managed elastically. Students who can not acquire the credits defined within four years are allowed to add two years and finish their bachelor s program within six years. Third, students should be encouraged to read, write and debate voluntarily during class. The liberal education in Chinese universities should understand this importance and have wider perspectives to nurture the typical elites required by modern society.
Key Words: Chinese universities, liberal education, culturally-talented education, elective subjects


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