While most Chinese applicants to US universities apply only to top Ivy League schools, a small but rapidly increasing number have started applying to a wider variety of liberal arts colleges. A liberal arts education can be a tough sell for entrants into the Chinese labor market, where immediate technical proficiency is expected. But the long-term advantages of a broader and more conceptual education are forming part of China’s debate on where its educational system should be headed. Currently, the liberal arts are practically unheard of in China’s universities; most curricula revolve around research and technical training. However, some universities have started experimenting with liberal arts programs and classes. Many educators now believe that in order for China to move beyond low-cost manufacturing and become a truly developed nation, it must foster the creative thinking and skills provided by a liberal arts education. Some, however, question whether China’s current political system could support a nation of critical thinkers. It may have no choice if and when those exchange students return home. – YaleGlobal
Monday, February 15, 2010
© 2010 Newsweek, Inc.