New Progress in Research in Chinese Education NGOs

One of the most concerned challenges is not to build civil society or public sphere in China.

One of the most concerned challenges is not to build civil society or public sphere in China.

Led by Prof. Zhou Yong and Dr. He Shanyun, the task group of the Educational Movement for Social Justice of Chinese NGOs has accomplished the following works within recent 3 months. First, a new one day workshop was organized on June, 5. The issue of the workshop was the Conceptualization of Social Transformation and NGO in Contemporary China. Three young sociologists of education were invited to have theoretical discussion on this issue. The workshop was well informed that, since the end of 1990s, ‘civil society’ and ‘public sphere’ have been widely adopted by scholars to examine the meaning of Chinese NGOs’ activities with the context of changing Chinese society. China may have witnessed this kind of civil group, including NGO, whose aim is to develop independent ‘civil society’ or ‘public sphere’. However, in our study, we have only found Chinese NGOs dedicating to develop social space within the system shaped by the state power. To our case NGOs, one of the most concerned challenges is not to build civil society or public sphere in China, but to get support from the government, and develop good cooperation with state power, since the latter has also put social justice on its agenda of social and educational reform. So we argue that, compared with civil society or public sphere, social justice and state power controlled social change are more valid conceptions for explaining Chinese education NGOs’ activities.

The second achievement comes from the field work in the city of Tong Ling, An Hui Province. From June 18 to 20, we were invited by an education NGO to observe its teacher professional development program for rural schools of An Hui. Based on this involvement, we are sure that for those practice oriented education NGOs, the most common way of developing educational and social justice is to provide rural teachers with good professional development programs. This way is also been found in one of our case NGO, the Cherished Dream Foundation. By the way, we are requested to give a lecture for the rural teachers. And the topic of our lecture is how to write educational narratives which are full of social significance.

The last major achievement is to attend PERI Nepal meeting. From August 18 to 20, Zhou Yong, the head researcher of our task group, reported his progress on the study in Chinese education NGOs’ contribution to educational and social justice, and got constructive suggestion from Prof. Geoffrey and Susan. The other wonderful result is to know many young scholars who are form southern Asian countries, and discuss social justice and education reform with them. We are glad to see that in this area, a new energetic force of justice is growing under the support of PERI. We are sure that those young scholars will do contribution to educational and social justice in future.


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