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The tensions of general education reform in China


This qualitative inquiry examines the tensions that general education colleges face while initiating reform in China, how students characterize these tensions, and what conditions account for the tensions. The views of 18 college students were documented through individual semi-structured interviews to uncover the themes related to the tensions, and the transcripts of the interviews were analyzed using thematic coding. This study identifies multiple tensions that arise surrounding general education programs including the tension of the “tao of universities” versus the “use of universities,” “general-discipline fusion” versus “general-discipline separation,” and “core curriculum” versus “fragmented curriculum.” The study also discusses possible ways of easing and resolving these tensions so that services and programs can be enhanced.

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This study was supported by Tsinghua Univeristy Inititive Scientific Research Program (Grant No. 2021THZWYY01).

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Correspondence to Kun Yan.

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Yan, K., Zhang, Y. The tensions of general education reform in China. Asia Pacific Educ. Rev. (2022).

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  • General education reform
  • Tensions
  • China