delivered By Dr. Lo Chia Lun
Chancellor of National Central University at the meeting of the Nanking Rotary Club, (Dec. 6, 1934)

When you asked me, a man in educational work, to speak, I venture to guess that perhaps you would like to test my limited knowledge and information in the Chinese education field. Therefore, I beg leave to bore you for a few minutes on the present educational tendencies in China.

Of course, the most rudimentary education is elementary education. I remember when I was young, I was still required to recite and to commit to memory the Thirteen Classics, word by word. And if I failed to do so, the bamboo in the hand of the teacher was making a frightening noise on his desk. Although my teacher gave me a few lessons in geography, history, etc., yet all those subjects were condensed in rhythmic verses which were also to be memorised. Now look at the boys and girls in the grade schools, and see what interesting things they are learning, and how eagerly they are participating in various activities. You will realise what a liberation there has been in Chinese educational thought and educational method. In 1912, only 2,793,633 boys and girls were entitled to enjoy this kind of privilege. But in 1932, 11,667,888 boys and girls shared the fruits of this great educational emancipation. I wish to point out that this emancipation has been brought about not only by the introduction of the Western educational method, but also by the literary renaissance, which has made the transmission of knowledge through "Pei Hua," or the spoken language, possible.

As to secondary education, no little progress has been gained. The curriculum has been more scientifically organized, the teaching staff more carefully selected, instruction better conducted. The Ministry of Education has been constantly trying to raise the high schools throughout China to a prescribed standard, and has achieved good results. The introduction of Boy Scouts education, and the emphasis on athletics have improved the physique of boys and girls. The joint examination system, or, That is to say, the system which empowered the educational bureaux of the different provinces arid municipalities to give the graduation examination to all qualified candidates of high schools collectively, has had the effect of raising the standard of the aforesaid schools.

In 1912, there were only 52,100 mgh school students, but in 1931, the number increased to 403,134. Of course there are various criticisms of secondary education. The most serious criticism is that many Of the high school graduates, if they cannot afford to enter college, are not qualified to be admitted in college, cannot find a suitable profession, as they are not so trained as to be fit for many kinds of work. But this criticism can be easily met, if one does not fail to notice the different ramifications of secondary education, such secondary normal schools, industrial schools, and other kinds of vocational schools. We do not doubt that these schools can be and should be improved, but, besides the improvement, there still exists the problem of the lack of a sufficient number of grade schools, factories, and modernized farms, which can admit those graduates. We hope the advocates of vocational education will see to this problem, as its solution is beyond educational reform itself.

Now, let us turn to higher education, which I may know a little better. In 1912, there were only four universities and 481 students in China. But twenty-two years later, China has 82 universities and colleges, which makes the sum total III—and has 43,519 students, which is almost twenty times more than the number of students in 1912. The proportional increase in the number is surprising if you compare it with that of elementary and secondary schools and students.

But if you consider the number of high school graduates every year, you will not be surprised that this number is a natural consequence ? to meet the existing demand. In 1912, the annual expenses of the four universities were only $755,730, but last year the amount increased to $34,650,000. Of this sum, about &/% million dollars were actually spent for buildings, library, and laboratory equipments, During the two years of my administration of the National Central University, we alone spent about one-half million dollars each year, for the aforesaid appropriations. As you know, many of those universities and colleges were bamboo shoots—nay, some might be mushrooms,—during the years 1920 to 1923. Some of them naturally had a premature birth. But, through the strict enforcement of ministerial regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Education during the last two years, more than twenty of the public and private universities and colleges have already been closed, and the rest of them, which comprise the previous figures, are gradually being lifted up to a better standard.

According to the classification of the Ministry of Education the colleges are divided into two groups, according to the nature of the subjects which they are teaching:— Group A, or Liberal Arts Group, consists of the colleges of literature, law, commerce and education; and Group B, or Science Group, consists of colleges of Natural Science, agriculture, engineering and medicine. In the year 1931, of the sum total of 44,000 students, 74 1/2 per cent, belonged to the group A Colleges, but only 25 1/2 per cent, belong to the Group B Colleges. But during the last two years, the tendency has been shifted. The complete statistics of those years are not immediately available to me. Yet, according to my personal experience, out of the sum total of the successful candidates admitted to the Central University this year, about 70 per cent, belonged to the Group A Colleges. I think this is sufficient indication of the changing tide.

Perhaps the most important thing for a university or a college is the academic atmosphere. Two years ago, you all remember there was great turmoil of students, which effected almost all institutions of higher learning. The academic prospect at that time was very dark. But that darkness disappeared with the storm, since which serenity has prevailed. Both professors and students are enjoying academic tranquillity. They have been working harder and accomplishing better results. No sabotage, no posters, no demonstrations. This was brought about not only by the strict enforcement of discipline, but also by the awakening of the students themselves to the realization that national problems cannot be solved by such a childish method, and that the best way of helping the nation to cope with the unprecedented national crisis is to secure for themselves better education and better preparation. The indefatigability of the professors in their teaching and research work is by no means a small achievement.

In regard to research work, the results are very encouraging. Although Natural Sciences were transplanted on the Chinese intellectual soil not so very long ago, yet now we have several departments, such as geology, physics, psychology, etc., which can be compared with those of leading universities in the West. If you look at the important scientific journals in Europe and America, you will find frequent contributions of Chinese scholars. If you examine the index authoritative scientific references, such as "Handbuch der Chemie" or "Handbuch der Physick," you cannot fail to notice the names of Chinese scientists. Of course, the progress recently made in China in philology, history, archaelogy, and other kinds of Sinological studies, needs no mention. The laudable work of the Academia Sinica is also a great stimulus to the professors in universities and colleges. Its work and that of the university professors, if time be given, will surely bring about still more remarkable fecundity and fruition.

A word perhaps is needed concerning the governmental policy of sending students abroad. During the past two years, the government has adopted a very strict policy in selecting maturer and better prepared students to study in foreign countries by giving them a strictly competitive examination. Between 1932-34, 1197 students were abroad, and they could only get their permit from the Ministry of Education by showing their college graduate's diploma. Those who want to take the examination conducted by the Sino-British Boxer Indemnity Foundation, are required to have two years' experience after graduation from college. The better results of this policy can almost be foretold with certainly.

On October 10 last, Dr. Hu Shih delivered a lecture in Peiping on "Optimism in the Pessimistic Current." The title is prophetic. We educational workers are not satisfied with present conditions. We are badly in reed of reform and improvements. We do want better equipment and more healthful environment. We cannot paint an entirely rosy picture. But we clearly see some buds of roses in the vast field of thorns. We need hard work, patience and Time. Because only hard work, patience and Time will bring a better younger generation to steer Chinese national affairs and to create brighter future for this country of a great old civilisation.

(From the "DIGEST of the SYNODAL COMMISSION" Vol: 7)

- Malaya Catholic Leader, February 2nd, 1935 (1935.pdf pp45)

Science and Religion.

ASTRONOMY AND CATECHISM

 

Address on Education delivered

By

Dr. Lo Chia Lun

Chancellor of National Central University at the

meeting of the Nanking Rotary Club, (Dec. 6, 1934)

When you asked me, a man in

educational work, to speak, I venture

to guess that perhaps you

would like to test my limited knowledge

and information in the

Chinese education field. Therefore,

I beg leave to bore you for a

few minutes on the present educational

tendencies in China.

 

Of course, the most rudimentary

education is elementary education.

I remember when I was young, I

was still required to recite and to

commit to memory the Thirteen

Classics, word by word. And if I

failed to do so, the bamboo in the

hand of the teacher was making a

frightening noise on his desk.

Although my teacher gave me a

few lessons in geography, history,

etc., yet all those subjects were

condensed in rhythmic verses

which were also to be memorised.

Now look at the boys and girls in

the grade schools, and see what

interesting things they are learning,

and how eagerly they are

participating in various activities.

You will realise what a liberation

there has been in Chinese educational

thought and educational

method. In 1912, only 2,793,633

boys and girls were entitled to

enjoy this kind of privilege. But

in 1932, 11,667,888 boys and girls

shared the fruits of this great

educational emancipation. I wish

to point out that this emancipation

has been brought about not only

by the introduction of the Western

educational method, but also by the

literary renaissance, which has

made the transmission of knowledge

through "Pei Hua," or the

spoken language, possible.

 

As to secondary education, no

little progress has been gained.

The curriculum has been more

scientifically organized, the teaching

staff more carefully selected,

instruction better conducted. The

Ministry of Education has been

constantly trying to raise the high

schools throughout China to a

prescribed standard, and has

achieved good results. The introduction

of Boy Scouts education,

and the emphasis on athletics have

improved the physique of boys

and girls. The joint examination

system, or,  That is to say, the

system which empowered the

educational bureaux of the different

provinces arid municipalities to give

the graduation examination to all

qualified candidates of high schools

collectively, has had the effect of

raising the standard of the

aforesaid schools.

 

In 1912, there were only 52,100

mgh school students, but in 1931,

the number increased to 403,134.

Of course there are various criticisms

of secondary education. The

most serious criticism is that many

Of the high school graduates, if

they cannot afford to enter college,

w are not qualified to be admitted

in college, cannot find a suitable

profession, as they are not so trained

as t o be fit for many kinds of

work. But this criticism can be

easily met, if one does not fail to

notice the different ramifications of

secondary education, such secondary

normal schools, industrial

schools, and other kinds of vocational

schools. We do not doubt

that these schools can be and

should be improved, but, besides

the improvement, there still exists

the problem of the lack of a sufficient

number of grade schools, factories,

and modernized farms,

which can admit those graduates.

We hope the advocates of vocational

education will see to this

problem, as its solution is beyond

educational reform itself.

 

Now, let us turn to higher education,

which I may know a little better.

In 1912, there were only four

universities and 481 students in

China. But twenty-two years later,

China has 82 universities and

colleges, which makes the sum total

III—and has 43,519 students, which

is almost twenty times more than

the number of students in 1912.

The proportional increase in the

number is surprising if you compare

it with that of elementary and

secondary schools and students.

 

But if you consider the number

of high school graduates every

year, you will not be surprised that

this number is a natural consequence

? to meet the existing demand.

In 1912, the annual expenses

of the four universities were

only $755,730, but last year the

amount increased to $34,650,000.

Of this sum, about &/% million

dollars were actually spent for

buildings, library, and laboratory

equipments, During the two years

of my administration of the National

Central University, we alone

spent about one-half million dollars

each year, for the aforesaid appropriations.

As you know, many

of those universities and colleges

were bamboo shoots—nay, some

might be mushrooms,—during the

years 1920 to 1923. Some of them

naturally had a premature birth.

But, through the strict enforcement

of ministerial regulations

promulgated by the Ministry of

Education during the last two

years, more than twenty of the

public and private universities and

colleges have already been closed,

and the rest of them, which comprise

the previous figures, are

gradually being lifted up to a better

standard.

 

According to the classification of

the Ministry of Education the colleges

are divided into two groups,

according to the nature of the subjects

which they are teaching:—

Group A, or Liberal Arts Group,

consists of the colleges of literature,

law, commerce and education;

and Group B, or Science Group,

consists of colleges of Natural

Science, agriculture, engineering

and medicine. In the year 1931,

of the sum total of 44,000 students,

74 1/2 per cent, belonged to the

group A Colleges, but only 251/> per

cent, belong to the Group B Colleges.

But during the last two

years, the tendency has been shift,

ed. The complete statistics of

those years are not immediately

available to me. Yet, according to

my personal experience, out of the

sum total of the successful candidates

admitted to the Central University

this year, about 70 per cent,

belonged to the Group A Colleges.

I think this is sufficient indication

of the changing tide.

 

Perhaps the most important

thing for a university or a college

is the academic atmosphere. Two

years ago, you all remember there

was great turmoil of students,

which effected almost all institutions

of higher learning. The

academic prospect at that time was

very dark. But that darkness disappeared

with the storm, since

which serenity has prevailed. Both

professors and students are enjoying

academic tranquillity. They have

been working harder and accomplishing

better results. No sabotage,

no posters, no demonstrations.

This was brought about not

only by the strict enforcement of

discipline, but also by the awakening

of the students themselves to the

realization that national problems

cannot be solved by such a childish

method, and that the best way of

helping the nation to cope with the

unprecedented national crisis is to

secure for themselves better education

and better preparation. The

indefatigability of the professors

in their teaching and research work

is by no means a small achievement.

 

In regard to research work, the

results are very encouraging. Although

Natural Sciences were

transplanted on the Chinese intellectual

soil not so very long ago,

yet now we have several departments,

such as geology, physics,

psychology, etc., which can be compared

with those of leading universities

in the West. If you look

at the important scientific journals

in Europe and America, you will

find frequent contributions of Chinese

scholars. If you examine the

index authoritative scientific references,

such as "Handbuch der

Chemie" or "Handbuch der Physick,"

you cannot fail to notice the

names of Chinese scientists. Of

course, the progress recently made

in China in philology, history,

archaelogy, and other kinds of

Sinological studies, needs no

mention. The laudable work of

the Academia Sinica is also

a great stimulus to the professors

in universities and colleges.

Its work and that of the

university professors, if time be

given, will surely bring about still

more remarkable fecundity and

fruition.

 

A word perhaps is needed concerning

the governmental policy of

sending students abroad. During

the past two years, the government

has adopted a very strict policy in

selecting maturer and better prepared

students to study in foreign

countries by giving them a strictly

competitive examination. Between

1932-34, 1197 students were abroad,

and they could only get their permit

from the Ministry of Education

by showing their college graduate's

diploma. Those who want to take

the examination conducted by the

Sino-British Boxer Indemnity

Foundation, are required to have

two years' experience after graduation

from college. The better

results of this policy can almost be

foretold with certainly.

 

On October 10 last, Dr. Hu Shih

delivered a lecture in Peiping on

"Optimism in the Pessimistic Current."

The title is prophetic. We

educational workers are not satisfied

with present conditions. We

are badly in reed of reform and

improvements. We do want better

equipment and more healthful environment.

We cannot paint an

entirely rosy picture. But we

clearly see some buds of roses in

the vast field of thorns. We need

hard work, patience and Time.

Because only hard work, patience

and Time will bring a better younger

generation to steer Chinese national

affairs and to create brighter

future for this country of a great

old civilisation.

 

(From the "DIGEST of the

SYNODAL COMMISSION" Vol: 7,

- Malaya Catholic Leader, January 19th, 1935 (1935.pdf pp45)

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