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On Quentin Pan's Liberal Education Thoughts

Author: WenHuaXi
Tutor: JiangGuoJun
School: Hunan University
Course: Higher Education
Keywords: Quentin Pan liberal education thoughts social adjustment liberaleducation general education modern university system
CLC: G640
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 28
Quote: 0
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Abstract


Quentin Pan(1899—1967) is a well-known sociologist, eugenist, ethnologist andeducator in modern China. He has devoted his whole life to teaching and research onuniversity education, assumed leading positions at department and university levels over along period of time, left us rich works on education, and developed a unique system ofhumanities education thought. Therefore, he is not only an educator, but also an educationthinker. Among others, liberal education forms an important part of his humanities educationthoughts.This thesis consists of three parts, namely, the formation of his liberal education thoughtsand related social backgrounds, implications and originality of his thoughts as well as therevelations on general education in universities at present. This thesis proposes that Pan’seducational backgrounds, teaching experience and social backgrounds are the three elementsthat have played an important role in the formation of his liberal education thoughts.According to Pan, universities in China attach, in contrast to specialized education, lessimportance to general education. Therefore, he suggests that university education must focuson general education rather than specialized education, namely, general education should takepriority over specialized education. Pan also proposes that courses of humanities should bestrengthened while conducting general education, and students should be able to teachthemselves.The originality of Pan’s general education thoughts lies in his proposition that theultimate purpose of education is to teach students how to behave in society, namely, to teachstudents how to adjust themselves to the norms of their society and to form asocially-acceptable character. This unique idea of “social adjustment” serves as the theoreticalorigin of his liberal education thoughts. He holds in high esteem freethinking throughout hislife, and free education characterizes his liberal education thoughts. He has a clearunderstanding of the prerequisites for conducting liberal education, and proposes atriangle-theory of freedom, democracy and education with democratic politics being thenecessary condition.The revelations Pan’s liberal education thoughts have on present-day general educationare as follows: he makes us realize that it is far from easy to shift specialized educationalconcept to general educational concept; ideological and political courses belong topropaganda, hence should not be included in the system of general education; the principle of attaching importance to humanities should be adhered to while constructing the system ofgeneral education courses; general education should be based on the modern universitysystem under the concept of free education.

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