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NYU Joins Up With ECNU to Promote Open Discussions

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china education

I recently read that New York University will open a joint program with the East China Normal University.

According to the spokesmen from both institutions, the program will follow a western style curriculum. China’s academics have hailed the move as they believe it can help rid China of the “bureaucracy and academic plagiarism” of many Chinese institutions.

I whole-heartedly agree with this assertion, it is the idea that the school will have “small classes that encourage open discussions” that I question.




While pursuing my doctorate in China at the premier institution of its kind, I have learned a few things, one of which is that discussion is anything but open. Part of this is cultural as traditionally Chinese students were to be passive participants in the learning process and digest then memorize what was handed out to them.

Although this has changed somewhat, the governance of China has not.

The reality of Chinese education became shockingly obvious from the beginning of my pursuit of a Doctorate in the People’s Republic of China.

Unbridled by the cultural Chinese mores obliging one to be an inactive part of the learning process, my American colleagues and I buried our professors with questions that they were uncomfortable with, and stated they would not be allowed to answer.

Aside from this, in one particularly interesting course, the professor told us that he was unable to offer us his PowerPoint slides for the class, per the mandates of the ‘powers that be’.

It was then brought to our attention that at least one professor in our university was under house arrest and his classes, materials and his life were closely monitored.

As I sit and ponder the new NYU Chinese endeavor, I cannot but help wonder just how open or western the program will be allowed to be.


Image Credit: NYU

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

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