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  • The Logic of China's New School Reforms: Selected Essays on Education by Qiquan Zhong
  • Shuning Liu (bio)
Qiquan Zhong. The Logic of China's New School Reforms: Selected Essays on Education. Translated by Hua Wan. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2022. 241 pp. Hardback $258.00, isbn 978-90-04-47011-8.

The official launch of the New Curriculum Reform (xin kegai) in Chinese elementary and secondary schools in June 2001 marked a crucial milestone in the history of educational reform in the country. This unprecedented nationwide education reform aims to promote quality-oriented education (suzhi jiaoyu) through reforming multiple aspects of Chinese education such as its curriculum goals, structure, and content; pedagogical approaches; curriculum assessment; teacher training; and school management systems. Qiquan Zhong's The Logic of China's New School Reforms: Selected Essays on Education addresses the wide scope of the new curriculum reform in China. The book discusses a series of educational theories undergirding the New Curriculum Reform and the educational practices emerging in the reform. As Zhong highlights in the preface of the book, curriculum reform is at the center of school reform, and it is also key to reconstructing China's outdated education system. The core of curriculum reform is classroom activities while teachers' professional development is the primary concern of classroom reform. Thus, the twelve chapters of the book focus on the issues particularly related to curriculum reform (chapters 1–4 and 6), classroom teaching and culture (chapters 5 and 8), teacher education (chapters 7, 9, and 10), as well as various reflections on relevant theories (chapters 11 and 12).

Many readers of this journal may still want to know: Who is Qiquan Zhong? Qiquan Zhong is a professor in the School of Education at the East China Normal University (ECNU). He serves as the Honorary Director of the Institutes of Curriculum and Instruction and of International and Comparative Education at ECNU. Born in China in 1939, Professor Zhong is the author of more than 20 books and 100 journal articles on educational research and new curriculum and education reform in China. He has been selected and has served as Chair Councilor of the national Experts Working Committee for the New Curriculum Reform in Basic Education. He is also a leading scholar in the field of education in China who advocates for student-centered education in the current curriculum reform. Since the 1980s, Zhong has been a visiting scholar in several Japanese universities and has been invited to various universities in the United States and European countries for academic activities. These experiences not only enrich his international perspectives on curriculum and educational reforms, but also establish him as a pioneer in the field of comparative and international studies of curriculum theory and practice in China. He has actively introduced cutting-edge educational ideas from all over [End Page 242] the world to Chinese scholars, graduate students, and policymakers to propel the ongoing curriculum reform movement, which is well reflected throughout the book The Logic of China's New School Reforms. I will discuss the intricacies of this shortly.

Contemporary Chinese education is in a state of crisis, and quality education (suzhi jiaoyu) is proposed as a solution in this critical time (Zhong 2006). Education for economic development has become the dominant discourse that guides educational reforms in contemporary China (Liu 2020). In the era of globalization, the knowledge economy increasingly depends on new information and technologies. To meet the demands of the burgeoning knowledge economy on a global scale, the Chinese government aims to utilize the new curriculum reform to produce innovative talents who can further the international competitiveness of the state. Zhong's interpretation of quality education is in alignment with the Chinese state's education ideology. Developing well-rounded students is highlighted as central to quality education in The Logic of China's New School Reforms. The book clearly points out that to meet social needs, the new reform must transform examination-oriented education into quality-oriented education, shift knowledge-based curriculum to student-centered curriculum, and transform lecture-centered teaching models into dialogue-based teaching. Zhong underscores that teachers play a key role in the new reform movement, elucidating...