Risen from the Chaos: The Emergence of Modern Education in China

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


In China, the attempt to publicly provide mass education to its population came relatively late, after the twentieth century. Replacing the traditional Confucian teaching system, a fully Western-inspired new education system was introduced at the dawn of the twentieth century as a route to national salvation. This chapter studies this critical juncture of Chinese history by first reviewing the expansion and virtues of the new system. I further discuss the driving forces and challenges. The real implementation of this national education system was highly decentralized and the de facto power was in the hands of local governments and local political elites; therefore, the variations in mass education provision across regions and through time were determined by the different preferences of local elites and the political and economic opportunities that they faced in a rapidly changing context.


Education Political elites China 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York University ShanghaiShanghaiChina

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