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On The Ethos Of Local Universities

Posted on:2006-08-25Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:F HeFull Text:PDF
GTID:1117360182471718Subject:Higher Education
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
The emergence and development of local universities worldwide since the 19th century has significantly propelled higher education forward. In China, the growth of local universities took place thanks to the reform and open door policy, and as a result of the deepened reforms of educational system. Several hundred local universities have been established, among which around a hundred have been promoted from three-year colleges to four-year universities at the turn of the century. On one hand, the growing emergence of these universities optimized the structure of higher education and helped to accelerate its popularization; on the other hand, problems appeared such as disorientation in ethos, monotonous training mode and lack of characteristics, which resulted from their blind imitation and unrealistic comparison with well established state universities. These issues are not unique to China. The similar high price was also paid in history by some developed countries. Seeking different routes of developing local universities to better suit their realities has become an urgent task in China, and is also the basic foundation and logic start point of this thesis. On the surface, local universities seem to imitate and compare themselves with state universities because the latter are more successful, stronger and therefore more attractive. Given a deeper analysis however, it will be clearly shown that behind such a phenomenon is the profound influence of the Western tradition, since the Renaissance, of valuing learning over cultivating practical technique. In China, despite of the constant shaking balance in history between learning and technique, learning is currently much more valued in universities, leading to especially the copying of running models by local universities, which is, theoretically, the consequence of stressing learning over technique. Therefore, the basis of the argument of this thesis is that different models must be pursued in running different types of universities, from the perspective of both learning and technique. In the history of development in higher education, learning and technique have undergone stages of integration, separation and reintegration. In the early stage, they were treated as a harmonious whole. Universities in medieval times were committed to academic teaching as well as vocational training. The separation between the two in higher education started after the Renaissance, and gradually developed into the tradition of valuing learning and neglecting technique. Such a tradition reached its peak in the time of Humboldt,who created the miraculous Berlin University, but meanwhile unprecedentedly degraded technique. Cai Yuanpei, past president of Beijing University, under the strong influence of Humboldt, introduced this philosophy to China and helped nurturing a long lasting academic tradition in the university. But as a result, schools and disciplines stressing pragmatic skills were depreciated and neglected. The haunting fog over the skies of existing Chinese local universities is indispensable with this tradition. However, the reintegration of the two gained new vitality in the mid 19th century in universities of the United States. On one hand, Americans absorbed German academic tradition and established research universities based on scientific research and postgraduate education; on the other hand, land-granted universities and state universities were set up in order to move towards the reasonable separation and integration at a deeper level. What happened in American universities indicated the start of reintegration of learning and technique after several hundred of years of separation. The blind imitation and comparison of Chinese local universities with their state counterparts shows that higher education in China remains distant from the trend of integration of learning and technique. The system of reasonable division, competitive development and self-perfection of learning and technique has not found its soil in China. This thesis argues that to overcome the awkward situation of local universities, a division of ethos is necessary start: integration of learning and technique with stress on the former in state universities; integration of the two aspects with focus on the latter in local universities. How to run local universities with the guideline of integrating learning and technique and focusing on technique? Three important guidelines are suggested in this thesis. The first is to advocate pragmatic education. Pragmatic education, which has been an important trend in the reform and development of higher education in the world since the mid 19th century, is reflected in the following aspects: reallocation of ethos in university positioning; integrated creativity in talents training; application of scientific research results; and cultivating elevation of characteristics. The second is to serve the locality. To serve the locality is the essential idea in running local universities. To achieve this aim, it isnecessary first to formulate a strategy aiming at higher service efficiency for the locality, by expanding the service content, constructing the new service models and optimizing the service system. The third is to orientate towards the masses. Orientation towards the masses is an important mission of local universities. At a time of worldwide popularization of higher education, two means of achieving this popularization are indicated in this thesis. One is the diversification of higher education. Local universities are themselves the result of diversification, during the process of which they undertake the task of popularizing higher education. The other means is the democratization of higher education. The aim is to create an inclusive educational environment, enabling even the underprivileged to enjoy higher education upon which local universities inevitably shoulder the historical responsibility. It is finally emphasized that in order to popularize higher education, local universities must be liberated beyond the tradition of elite education, and a quality philosophy should be established with diversity, integration and being adaptive to objectives and changes, for local universities to undertake the glorious mission of popularizing higher education.
Keywords/Search Tags:Local university, Ethos, Learning and technique
PDF Full Text Request
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