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Posts from the ‘School and education’ Category

Satan Lucky’s Floating World

Satan Lucky is the pen name of cartoonist and illustrator based in Beijing. He publishes some of his work on Weibo. His style is based on Ukiyo-e — literally “pictures of the floating world”, the traditional Japanese style of woodblock prints and paintings of nature, history, scenes from the theater and of geishas and other urban decadences.

Some of Satan Lucky’s cartoons depict fantastic beats that seem to have no connection with contemporary reality, while others can be read as critical commentary In the gallery below, for example, 404 (the error number most Web browsers indicate when trying to access a blocked site in China) is depicted as a beast that sits on the computer, blocking access to Youtube and Facebook, while Flesh Net Beggar refers to the way in which resourceful people can avoid paying fines to the Flesh Net Beggar and “jump over” the Great Firewall.   Read more

“Cash and gifts” will get your child into the right class

Last year the New York Times published an exposé on the culture of corruption in the Chinese schools admissions system, with rich parents able to buy their children into the best schools. But less well documented is that parents with children in primary and middle schools can actually pay to have their children placed in the better classes of the year-group. Despite official bans to the contrary, many schools disproportionately favor particular classes within a student year-group, lavishing it with better teachers and resources in order to boost test scores in an attempt to make the school more attractive to parents (and boosting bribes payable for admission). In this process some students get a much better shot at getting into leading high schools and universities.

The front page of yesterday’s Yunnan-based Spring City Evening News 春城晚报 carries the headline “Investigating the ‘unwritten rules’ of primary and middle school class allocation: some schools even allocate classes based on parental occupation”. The page-six feature article laments that no sooner had the ‘school admissions war’ in Kunming finished, than the ‘class placement war’ has begun.

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Selfless teacher leaves career in the city for “dream job” teaching rural kids

When Peng Jun (彭军) graduated in 2011, he was all set for a career in the city and stepping up the ladder of social progress. Yet at a time when the norm is to seek to build your own fortune in the world and raise a family, Peng decided to do something completely different. He left his prospects in the city, and joined a programme for sending teachers to rural schools while working for a minimal salary. Finding himself in a small rural school in a mountainous area of Hubei province, Peng came into his own, devoting himself to the comprehensive education of his students, while developing novel teaching techniques for “joyful”, “creative” and even self-critical education. In the face of a pitifully low salary and the resistance of his parents, Peng found his rural teaching job to be his dream job. The front page of the Wuhan Morning Post from the capital of Hubei province today recounts the story of a man whose selfless devotion to the education of underprivileged kids can serve as an inspiration in times when a self-centred and narcissistic pursuit of wealth is often the norm. Thanks to Weibo, Peng’s story is now front page news.

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“Black kid’s happy life” in Shenyang orphanage

On the front page of Shenyang Evening News (沈阳晚报) from the capital of Liaoning province today is a large picture and profile of a four-year-old mixed-race child — the “happy black kid” of the headline who ended up in a Shenyang orphanage after he was found abandoned on a street in the city. Surnamed Shen after Shenyang (沈阳) like all the children at the orphanage, the child was a source of amazement to the Shenyang Evening News journalist who went to the orphanage to check him out. Read more

How to build a good public life?


This is the 1510 Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

This week’s digest brings together two recent pieces which, in different ways, show the influence of the Western cannon on Chinese intellectual life. In ‘How to build a good society’, Zhant Tianpan reviews professor Ren Junfeng’s book on civic virtue and civic government, itself based on a reading of Toqueville’s “Democracy in America”. In ‘Love and Justice’, Professor Chen Hongguo proposes a ‘reading list’ of nine key texts for thinking broadly about this topic, a majority of which reflect ‘universal’ European and American experience. Read more

Can you blame the post-eighties generation?

This is the China Writing Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

This week’s digest takes a look at the Chinese Gen Y – generally known as ‘the post-eighties’ (80后) – through three posts written by representatives of this generation. Xi Mu confronts an older friend’s criticism that the post-eighties are spoilt apolitical only children by putting forward a number of concrete grassroots initiatives led by them. Written from a Christian perspective, Tan Ni’s article reflects on history to try and understand how the second-hand memories of the Cultural Revolution affected the post-eighties. Finally, Zhang Junkai takes us across the straits to consider the common experiences of the post-eighties generation in Taiwan. Read more

The year of the breastfeeding flash mob in China – a father’s account

This has been the year of the flash mob in China, the breastfeeding flash mob to be exact. In May, August and September of this year, Chinese mothers bared their breasts in public to help galvanize a tiny yet growing movement that encourages natural births over Caesarian sections and breastfeeding over infant formula. Read more

Against national education – reflections on the Hong Kong hunger strike

This is the Thinking China Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

In the first week of September 2012, a group of high schools students from Hong Kong organised a public hunger strike to oppose new ‘national and moral education’ classes – dismissing them as a form of brainwash. More protesters joined them, including a 63 year old teacher, attracting considerable attention from Hong Kong citizens and the media. After ten days of protest, and hundreds of thousands of supporters attending a wide range of events, the government finally made concessions, proposing to no longer make these classes compulsory, but leaving schools to decide whether they should be implemented.

1510, in collaboration with the news website CoChina, published a special magazine issue on this event. This week’s post proposes to follow the course of events presented in that issue, and a text engaging the questions raised by mainland Chinese internet users regarding the events. Read more

Education and critical thinking

This is the Thinking China Digest, a weekly roundup of recent essays and articles published on the Chinese web, with links to translations on the Marco Polo Project.

This week’s post proposes to look at three recent articles exploring the connection between the Chinese education system and the development of critical thinking. Huang Yufeng compares the Chinese Gaokao with overseas examination systems, Zhang Tianpan denounces the manipulation of official data, and Fu Guoyong reflects on the purpose of education, looking back at the Chinese Republic. Read more

Photos of Hong Kong’s anti-national education protest

This photo gallery of the anti-national education protest in Hong Kong is by Danwei contributor Hudson C. Lockett IV, a Beijing-based freelance writer and photographer. His last article for Danwei was on ecologist Xie Yan’s fight against bad conservation laws in China. Follow him on Twitter here. Read more