The Chinese System of Public Education

The Chinese System of Public Education

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The Chinese System of Public Education

The Chinese System of Public Education

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Excerpt

The intellectual classes among Oriental peoples are keenly conscious of the need of the Orient for Western learning. There is a corresponding need, not so keenly felt however, of a knowledge of Eastern learning and of Eastern aspirations and accomplishment on the part of the Western world. This volume by Dr. Kuo portrays the recent efforts of the largest and in many respects the greatest of Oriental peoples to obtain such a familiarity with Western learning. At the same time it places in a clear light the stages in the long evolution of the native culture and of the educational system of the Chinese. In doing this the author has made a contribution of great importance to the Western knowledge of Eastern conditions.

Sympathetic Western observers who have been long in contact with the Chinese give as their impression that, while there are differences between these people and the Occidentals in point of view and in method of approach, there is no fundamental difference in intellectual character, certainly no inferiority. The ethnologist and the sociologist re-enforce the opinion of the empirical observer. Their judgment is that the distinction between the Oriental and the Occidental lies in technique and in knowledge, not in intellectual caliber. It is because the conception of life's values held by the Chinese is so different from that of Western peoples, that they have failed to develop modern technique and scientific knowledge. Now that they have come to place a new value upon these, there can be no doubt that rapid and fundamental changes will result.

Progress is largely the product of intelligence; while intelligence is the product of intellect and knowledge, just as physical force is the resultant of mass and momentum. The Chinese as a people possess the mass but not the momentum. If modern scientific knowledge be added to the intellectual qualities which the Chinese possess, the result will be one which the Western world cannot but respect and value.

The recent achievements of the Japanese in various lines of endeavor, militant, commercial, scientific, are excellent illustrations. It may be that these products of modern life are of no more intrinsic value to the Oriental peoples than those . . .

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