From Educational Crazes to Educational Crises



The ways in which the key generation-shaping events contributed to the main educational trends and attitudes will be addressed in this chapter. The reinstatement of the entrance examination system led first to exam ‘fever’, a higher education ‘craze’ and ‘diploma fever’ at the time when Deng Xiaoping’s star was rising. The official emphasis on education in general, and science and technology in particular, helped to popularise the ‘four modernisations’1 early in the decade and the open door policy of increasing contacts with other countries, particularly western ones, was also a feature of the new regime. The chances to study overseas increased as a result of the shifts in policy and many young intellectuals joined the ‘going abroad tide’ (chuguo chao). What began as a ‘new dawn’, however, became a familiar, premature sunset and by the late 1980s there was despair and pessimism. The growing educational crisis seemed to reach a turning point in 1988 with the devaluation of knowledge a major ‘hot topic’ (redian) amongst young intellectuals. Poor rewards for academic careers seemed particularly disappointing after the initial expectations of higher education.


High Education Young People Middle School Social Position Cultural Revolution 
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Copyright information

© Ruth Cherrington 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Veliko Turnovo UniversityBulgaria

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