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DISPUTES ON THE QUESTION OF WARTIME EDUCATION AND THE FORMATION OF AN EDUCATIONAL POLICY FOR THE GUOMINDANG IN THE WAR by Hu Kuo-tai By the end of March 1938, nine months after the Lugouqiao Incident , China •s weal thy and densely populated east coast was occupied by the Japanese. Japan, despite attempts at intervention by the Western Powers, refused to withdraw and China was on its own. But what steps had China taken during those nine months to motivate and equi~ its population to cope with the needs of war? Before the outbreak of war, Chiang Kai-shek constantly urged the Chinese people to save China from national deterioration by strengthening education.[l] Education, according to Chiang, was the nation•s most powerful weapon and so in this time of war, effective policy-making in this area was crucial. The GMD also regarded education as the most important means to achieve its goals.[2] But the nine months which followed the outbreak of the Lugouqiao Incident saw this potential weapon lose its ammunition: campuses were bombed, equipment and books lost, and faculty, staff, and students forced to flee inland. The GMD government was thus faced with the problem of needing to reconstruct higher education facilities and simultaneously to correct certain pre-existing defects in the education system, defects which Chiang felt had hampered the war effort. But this was not all. Government strategy also recognized the serious threat of the CCP which' while also believing in the centrality of education, were constantly expanding its influence among the youths in universities. Thus when the GMD finally laid down its education policy at the Extraordinary Congress in March 1938, there were two main aims for educational policy: reform and control over campuses. This paper is concerned with the three main phases in the formulation of this policy. First it will discuss the initial debates about wartime education which started before the Luguoqiao Incident and continued with force and vigor to pressure the GMD to take up specific proposals. The GMD, however, was generally suspicious and mulish. The next phase is characterized by the activism of impatient students. The formation of unofficial student armies forced the GMD 1 s hand; and it responded by setting up its own military training 30 courses, which not only quickly lost their initial attraction (despite student eagerness to 1earn military skills), but even proved to be fertile breeding grounds for broader anti-government sentiment. Furthermore, this section will examine the formation of a national student union which formulated policies presented to the GMD Extraordinary Congress of March 1938, and the GMD attempts to thwart such unionization. In the third and last section of this paper we will examine the final form of GMD education policy formulated at the Extraordinary Congress, w.~th its ~mpha-sis on reform and control of campuses. Th~ contradictions inherent in the policies of reform and reconstruction and those aimedlat control is the subject of a wider field of study, broadly analyzed in this paper. Part One - The Initial Climate of Debate The Participants in the Debate Immediately after the outbreak of the Lugouqiao Incident, the media, intellectuals and educational circles within both the CCP and the were discussing such educational issues as: how should China's education sys tern be changed to cope with special wartime needs; What should be the role, principles and goals of education in·wartime; and how should these goals be achieved? These discussions continued for nine months until the Extraordinary Congress of the Guomindang in March 1938 stilled debate.·Meanwhile, during the nine month period of government deliberation, certain groups established training schools to prepare cadres for war service. These schools attracted a great number of students eager to fight the invaders. Schematically these various groups can be divided into two: combat educationali'st; and peacetime educationalist. The first maintained that it was essential that China carry out "wartime education" ( zhanshi jiaoyu), which meant the complete replacement of conventional education with practical training for war. Its goals were to encourage students to join the army, to mobilize and organize the masses, and to teach basic military knowledge and skills. The second group, however, insisted that China...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-5065
Print ISSN
1521-5385
Pages
pp. 30-56
Launched on MUSE
2021-05-25
Open Access
No
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