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‘The New Orientalism’: Western Images of the Chinese Education System as a Source of Policy Borrowing

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Abstract:

The recent global trend of educational policy borrowing is to use the features of ‘world- class’ educational systems (top performers in international surveys such as PISA and TIMSS) as evidence to justify domestic reforms. East Asia, especially Shanghai-China, has frequently been referenced as the ‘inspiration’ for educational reforms in many countries, including England. However, the extent to which the features identified by the UK government accord with the understandings and perceptions of practitioners and scholars within China has not been subjected to critical scrutiny. The overall purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the ‘representation’ and the ‘reality’ of Chinese education systems. It specifically focuses on school autonomy which has featured prominently as the basis for reform initiatives in England. The analysis demonstrates that the images of high performing Chinese education system represented by the UK government are both selections and distortions of the ‘reality’ in China, designed to legitimate preferred reform directions. Accordingly, looking to the East, which seems to run counter to the ‘West-to-Rest’ flows to date, does not necessarily lead to a better Western understanding of the East. Moreover, looking East for the ‘global standard’ of ‘world-class’ education system – a view produced by western policy networks - can be read as a new form of ‘Orientalism’. This discussion thus opens the possibilities for contemplating how post-colonial theoretical resources might be further developed to inform research on educational transfer.
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Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p720285_index.html
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MLA Citation:

You, Yun. "‘The New Orientalism’: Western Images of the Chinese Education System as a Source of Policy Borrowing" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p720285_index.html>

APA Citation:

You, Y. "‘The New Orientalism’: Western Images of the Chinese Education System as a Source of Policy Borrowing" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p720285_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: The recent global trend of educational policy borrowing is to use the features of ‘world- class’ educational systems (top performers in international surveys such as PISA and TIMSS) as evidence to justify domestic reforms. East Asia, especially Shanghai-China, has frequently been referenced as the ‘inspiration’ for educational reforms in many countries, including England. However, the extent to which the features identified by the UK government accord with the understandings and perceptions of practitioners and scholars within China has not been subjected to critical scrutiny. The overall purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the ‘representation’ and the ‘reality’ of Chinese education systems. It specifically focuses on school autonomy which has featured prominently as the basis for reform initiatives in England. The analysis demonstrates that the images of high performing Chinese education system represented by the UK government are both selections and distortions of the ‘reality’ in China, designed to legitimate preferred reform directions. Accordingly, looking to the East, which seems to run counter to the ‘West-to-Rest’ flows to date, does not necessarily lead to a better Western understanding of the East. Moreover, looking East for the ‘global standard’ of ‘world-class’ education system – a view produced by western policy networks - can be read as a new form of ‘Orientalism’. This discussion thus opens the possibilities for contemplating how post-colonial theoretical resources might be further developed to inform research on educational transfer.


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