“Past, Present, and Future of Chinese Language Education” Symposium Held at PKU
Peking University, Oct 27, 2010: On October 24, the symposium of "Past, Present, and Future of Chinese Language Education" was held by Department of Chinese Language and Literature of Peking University (PKU) in Tan Siu Lin Center for International Study. 35 guests From Korea, Japan, Singapore, the United States, mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, attended the symposium. As the representatives of the organizer, Prof. Chen Pingyuan, Dean of Department of Chinese Language and Literature, as well as Prof. Yan Jiayan, Prof. Sun Yushi, and Prof. Wen Rumin, former Deans of the department, attended the meeting.
Prof. Chen Pingyuan pointed out that this conference did not only concern the topic of historical research, but also related to the current teaching practice. The administration board of the department had a big influence on the development of academic subject, because they could address issues concerning education and scientific research more effectively. In order to promote the overall development of Chinese literature, department leaders needed to develop an appropriate assessment system and incentive mechanisms, which could best encourage teachers. Additionally, issues such as how to deal with the relationship between teaching and research as well as how to objectively reflect achievements of teaching were also worthy of attention. Chen concluded by emphasizing on the importance of combining one's professional knowledge with the attention to social, life, and political reform problems, and the ability to integrate individual work with the destiny of our country. He said it was the PKU tradition should not be forgotten.
Prof. Sun Yushi suggested that we should understand clearly that "holding tradition and innovating", the goal of university education and academic research, tended to become vague under the impacts from the inclination of utilitarianism, the marketization, the industrialization, and the media-orientation of the academic world. Then, Sun proposed that high level talents and valuable academic achievement were pivotal in avoiding the occurrence of this situation, and in order to achieve this goal, certain changes needed to be made to the current assessment system.
Prof. Yan Jiayan presented his viewpoints in the speech "From the discovery of contemporary literature to the modern changes of this discipline", in which he discussed the starting point of modern Chinese literature and issues related to the development and evolution of modern Chinese contemporary literature.
Prof. Wen Rumin suggested that we should think about our own positions and what we are able to achieve in the end. He emphasized on two issues: first, the significance of providing opportunity for young people; second, the value of undergraduate education and personnel training. He said that despite the difficult situation, we should still do our best to contribute to the development of the academic world.
Other representatives from universities in Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan also discussed on the same issue respectively and hoped PKU Department of Chinese Language and Literature to play a leading role in future international academic exchanges. The conference reached a consensus that language education should be diverse and innovative while maintaining its tradition, and search ways to realize interdisciplinary cooperation. Prof. Zang Dongchion from Korea University said, "PKU's efforts and achievements in the field of pure knowledge will set an example for Chinese studies and Chinese literature research community globally."
Representatives from Beijing Normal University, New York University, Sichuan University, Wuhan University, and Lanzhou University also put forward their own views on the crisis and opportunity of Chinese language education in the process of globalisation. Prof. Zhang Jian from Beijing Normal University gave a speech named "Talking about the internationalization of Chinese language education". He pointed out that the development of Chinese language education should not blindly follow the footsteps of Western education, but reflect on and learn from their experience and lessons. Prof. Cao Shunqing from Sichuan University emphasized on the importance to activate traditional Chinese and Western culture in the modern literature and pass them down in university education, which may result in a transform in Chinese language education.
The symposium is part of the centennial of PKU Department of Chinese Language and Literature, whose purpose is to promote the international dialogue in the development of Chinese language education from a new starting point.
Translated by: LI Xiaomeng
Edited by: Su Juan
Source: PKU News (Chinese)