Portraits of Influential Chinese Educators

Ruth Hayhoe

2006, 398 pp.

ISBN 978-962-8093-40-3

HK$50 (local), US$8 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer


China’s economic rise has surprised the world, and most governments and large corporations feel the need for a China-strategy to shape their relations with this emerging super-power. What do they know, however, about the educational ideas and achievements that have contributed to this economic success? Names of political figures such as Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin are household words, yet how many people have heard of Li Bingde, Gu Mingyuan, Lu Jie or Ye Lan?

Substantial research has been done on Chinese educational development by Sinologists and Comparative Educationists, making a wealth of data and analysis available to the specialist reader. Most of these studies have been framed within Western social science parameters, integrating an objectivist assessment of Chinese education into the international research literature.

This book conveys an understanding of China’s educational development from within, through portraits of eleven influential educators whose ideas have shaped the educational reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. They are portrayed in the context of their cultural heritage, families, communities and schools, offering their own deeply reflective interpretations of Chinese education. The book is written for the general reader, to provide glimpses into the educational context of China’s recent move onto the world stage.

Ruth Hayhoe is Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, President Emerita of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, Past President of the Comparative and International Education Society, and an Associate Member of the Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong. She has written extensively on higher education in China and on educational relations between China and the West. She is an Honorary Fellow of the University of London Institute of Education, and was awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government and the title of Commandeur dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques by the Government of France in 2002. In the same year she was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Education by the Hong Kong Institute of Education.