RED AND EXPERT: Education in the People Republic of China by Ruth Gamberg

RED AND EXPERT: Education in the People Republic of China

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Gamberg, an education instructor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, visited China in 1973 and 1975, and her honeyed description of what she observed is both unconvincing and doctrinaire. ""In China, it is said that 'life is education; all of society is our classroom,' "" and everywhere she finds people of all ages using every minute of their lives productively, especially since the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Egos rarely surface, hormones don't exist, and the few cases of mild resistance or academic weakness have happy, collectivized resolutions. From kindergarten on, children are encouraged to help one another, and this emphasis on collectivity extends into factory and field work and into university life as well. Everyone conforms with a smile, and quotations from Mao dominate conversations and apartment decor. The PLA is ""loved by the people,"" the Red Guards are ""models of revolutionary enthusiasm,"" and violence is no longer necessary in today's class struggle--group persuasion has been substituted. Mental institutions and prisons do exist--at least in a footnote--but none of their inmates was interviewed and the behaviors that warrant admission are not identified; similarly, the few May 7th Cadre School folks who ""cling to a sense of their own special dignity"" are not represented either. A quietly skewed perspective, ideologically consistent but undiscriminating.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1976
Publisher: Schocken