Imperial China's Last Classical Academies: Social Change in the Lower Yangzi, 1864-1911

By Barry C. Keenan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Power and Conflict: Jiangsu’s Local
Educated Elite, 1906–1911

The unprecedented formation of community and privately funded public schools from 1901 to 1906 in Jiangsu province was managed by the swollen local educated elite generated largely by the expansion of local education in Jiangsu after 1864. But local conflicts and abuses abounded in the five years after 1906. The lack of firm centralized controls over proliferating local institutions generated confusion and increased local dissatisfaction. The extraction of the provincial directors of education from each province in 1906, in particular, invited conflicts among sections of provinces and between different social status groups, while setting up competition for inadequate resources that had previously been resolved according to the ground rules set by the office of the provincial director of education.


The Local Power of Jiangsu’s Educated Elite

As in Guangdong province, the expansion of gentry-financed schools after 1904 served the immediate needs of families for whom education promised success.1 But the poor in Jiangsu had also gradually to be served by new public schools, the funding for which had to be found locally. New and often unwanted forms of local taxation, affecting farmers as well as merchants, were tried. Confiscation of religious property for school use further pitted directors of local Offices to Encourage Education against local interest groups.2

1 Rhoads, Republican Revolution, 76.

2 See Borthwick, Education, 103; Philip Kuhn, “The Development of Local Government,” in The Cambridge History of China, ed. John Fairbank and Albert Feuerwerker, 13:340; Wang Shuhuai, Qingmo Minchu Jiangsu sheng de xinshi jiaoyu, in Zhongyang yanjiu yuan guoji Hanxue huiyi lunwen ji, 263ff.

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