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“Revisiting Modern Teacher Education in Pre-1949 Chinese Universities ─an exhibition of Minguo books donated by Dr Lai Kwok Chan”
China suffered from foreign invasion and internal upheaval during the first half of the 20 th Century. Set against this background, a large number of intellectuals worked hard under austere conditions and made a remarkable contribution to the creation of a modern school system, including teacher education, in China as a key for national survival and self-strengthening.
During this period many intellectuals who studied in America and Europe returned to China, and were employed in these tertiary teacher education institutions. They brought in western educational theories and research methods, and published textbooks and reference books, contributing tremendously to the development of modern teacher education in China at the time.
This exhibition mainly showcases a number of textbooks and reference books used by Mr Lai King-man and MsYeung Chung-wah while studying at the Teachers College (literally normal college) of National Zhejiang University between 1943 and 1947. These have been generously donated to the Hong Kong Museum of Education by their son (and now Director of Strategic Planning and of the Centre for Development and Research in Small Class Teaching of The Hong Kong Institute of Education) Dr Lai Kwok Chan.
This series of textbooks covers the major part of curriculum taught in university teacher education in China during this politically and socially challenging time. Altogether 28 textbooks - mainly covering educational research and theory during the 1930s and 1940s - have been selected for display, including the University Collections (Da xue cong shu) published in Chinese by The Shanghai Commercial Press.
In making this donation, Dr Lai commented that these books are a tribute to educators, teachers and student s of teacher education institutions who made a great contribution towards modern education in China despite the wars and civil unrest of the 1930s and 1940s. Many graduates of these institutions - including Dr Lai’s parents - moved to Hong Kong prior to 1949 and continued to make a significant contribution to the rapid post-war development of education in Hong Kong, particularly in the development of village schools and rural education.
Mr Lai King-man and Ms Yeung Chung-wah were originally from the county of Maoming (now known as Gaozhou), Guangdong Province. Because of their academic achievements, they were sponsored by the government in 1943 to study at National Zhejiang University. The university was then re-located to interior Guizhou Province in order to avoid attacks from Japanese forces, and here they had to live in very austere conditions. After the surrender of Japan, they transferred back to the University’s original campus in Hangzhou via Hong Kong to finish their final year’s study. They graduated in 1947 and stayed in Zhejiang Province to undertake their teaching practice in a normal school. Soon after, China was embroiled in a civil war, and the two of them settled in Hong Kong. They taught at a number of village schools for over 30 years, dedicated to the nurturing of the next generation.
Following his parents’ footsteps, Dr Lai served as a secondary teacher, an Inspector of Schools, a principal lecturer at the Grantham College of Education and later he joined The Hong Kong Institute of Education. Some twenty-three valued artifacts and a number of photos are on loan also from Dr Lai, including a 1947 group photo of professors and graduates of the Department of Education at National Zhejiang University and a staff and graduate list of the University in the same year. Also on loan are the graduate certificates of Mr Lai King-men and Ms Yeung Chung-wah, issued by the Governments of the Republic of China and th e People’s Republic of China, as well as photos taken whilst they were teaching at village schools in the New Territories and pursuing further studies at the then newly established Grantham Teacher Training College.
The collection of books and artifacts on display survived the wars and unrest of the 1930s and 1940s , and had never been displayed previously. The y provide an invaluable insight into the historical development of teacher education in modern China during this era and the contribution of Chinese intellectuals to post-war education in Hong Kong.
Visitors can use the computers in the Museum to browse the full contents of the collection of textbooks on display in the exhibition.
Downlaod the Chinese leaflet PDF
Download the English Exhibition Guide PDF