Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/447

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UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN CHINA

complex to be discussed here, the intellectual life of China remained upon nearly a dead level, while the western world was advancing from medieval ignorance to twentieth-century enlightenment.

The beginning of modern education in China must be ascribed to missionary influence. As soon as the first missionaries had learned something of the Chinese language and civilization they set about teaching those whom they were able to reach something of western knowledge as a necessary preliminary to evangelical work. Thus missionary bodies were sending out educational pseudopodia throughout the nation which could not be without effect in its mental life. The more astute statesmen engaged for their children foreign tutors, some of whom were later prominent in influencing progress, and many young men were sent abroad to study.

But perhaps the most powerful factor in encouraging the introduction of modern education into China was the Chino-Japanese war of 1895. The lesson of that conflict was a plain one, and the meaning was brought home to his countrymen by Chang Chih-tung in his "Chuen Hioh Pien," which, translated into English as "China's Only Hope," is widely known. This epoch-making treatise received the sanction of the emperor and was ordered to be published and circulated throughout the empire. In 1898 the emperor, influenced by Kang Yu-Wei and others, among other radical reforms, ordered the establishment of modern schools in all unused temples. The Empress Dowager's coup d'état followed, and soon after the volcanic upheaval of 1900. The lesson of this, added to that of 1895, was painful but convincing. In 1902 the present educational system was established by imperial decree, and in 1905 the old system was similarly abolished.

Chang Chih-tung had strongly urged the advisability of making use of all that the Japanese had done to adapt western culture to oriental needs, and it naturally followed that the scheme for a national system of education was largely modeled after that of Japan, of which a full discussion by H. Foster Bain may be found in an earlier number of this journal. The system now in force may be briefly summarized as follows:

Primary schools (a five-year course) are to be opened everywhere throughout the empire. Higher primary schools (four-year course) are to be established in the district towns the graduates of these receive the hsiu-ts'ai degree. Middle schools (five-year course) are to be established in prefectural cities. High schools (often called provincial colleges) (a three-year course) are to be opened in every provincial capital, their graduates receive the degree of Chü-jên. A university at Peking completes this scheme, awarding the degree of Chin-shih. Advanced technical schools are apparently not to be included in the university, but are separately established. The courses of study to be followed are largely modeled upon Japanese practise, Chang Chih-tung having been