Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Individualization: Future of Standardized School Development

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Individualization: Future of Standardized School Development

Article excerpt

Abstract

Standardized school development plays an important role in narrowing school gap and offering equal access to education. During implementation, however, educational authorities tend to fall into the trap of equal distribution of educational resources, centralized management and homogeneous education. It is essential and viable to individualize standardized schools with the benefits of favorable national policies and international precedents. Individualized school features flexible development, self-management, diversified evaluation system, and school structure where differentiation and equilibrium coexist.

Key words: Characteristic development; Standardized school development; Equilibrium development

INTRODUCTION

Standardized school development plays an important role in narrowing school gap and offering equal access to compulsory education. Since the issuance of Opinions on the Promotion of Further Compulsory Education Fairness in 2005, "the nation has attached great importance to standardized school development" (Liang, 2005). Heated discussions have also been conducted in academia and among practitioners. Nevertheless, the past few years have seen standardized school development going through a bumpy path and its effectiveness is thrown into doubt. In view of such, this paper aims to analyze some of the pitfalls during the development process and discuss the development of standardized school from the perspective of individualization.

1. PITFALLS DURING STANDARDIZED SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT

1.1 Equilibrium Distribution of Educational Resources Being Hindrance of Educational Fairness

"Standardization" in this context refers to standards of running schools which are defined by educational authorities in line with relevant laws and rules and related to faculty, curriculum, educational hardware and school management. The purpose of such standards is to ensure all students have the equal access to education. But without a correct understanding of educational fairness which is too often mechanically mistaken as sameness, this could only lead to the opposite. For example, many regions recently have been trying to promote fairness by equally allocating educational resources and measure fairness with simple indicators. For the sake of "fairness", they even try to strengthen the "underachievers" at the expense of the "overachievers". In terms of economics, educational fairness means that citizens have the same access to educational resources, which can be realized through standardized school development. While in terms of pedagogy, the ultimate goal of education is the development of human. Besides considering equal access and resource allocation, it should also give a thought to the uniqueness and otherness of different individuals. As Aristotle described in the "Proportionate Equality" proposition, "there are two types of equality, amount equality and proportionate equality. The former means that the absolute number or amount of everyone is the same while the latter means that everyone gets their due proportion" (Aristotle, 1965). Therefore, fairness is different from sameness. Equal resource allocation in the case of standardized school can only disindividualize schools and students, even then does no good to their development.

1.2 Centralized Management Restricting Initiative and Dynamism of Schools

For quite some time, schools in China are administered by government and operate in line with external standards and procedures. The reform and development of schools also subject to external power. Since the new curriculum reform, the concept of "three-tiered curriculum" has been vigorously advocated. Nonetheless, with the restriction of exam-oriented education, self-management of schools are reduced to "dancing in shackles". Schools remain the "copier" and "microphone" of superior educational authorities. Currently, to balance the educational strength of different regions and schools, relevant government authorities give full play to their role and exercise centralized management by making specifications and restrictions on faculty, curriculum, school layout, teaching attachment and school management. …

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