Wandering in West China

May 16, 2016   |   International Dialogue

By Ruth Hayhoe

After four days in Chongqing, I moved on to Lanzhou, the capital and largest city of Gansu Province in Northwest China. OISE had a CIDA supported partnership with Lanzhou’s NorthwePicture1st Normal University from 1989 to 2001 in which some of China’s first doctoral students in education after the disastrous Cultural Revolution were nurtured. One now serves as Director of Education for the province of Gansu, with a population of 27 million, another as vice president of the university. We had a great time recollecting the rich collaboration in areas such as minority studies, bilingual education and women’s education. We also made plans for a lecture series I will give there next year.

My next stop was Kunming, a city in the far Southwestern province of Yunnan that borders Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos. Here I gave a series of four lectures for graduate students and young faculty at Yunnan Normal University, and also visited Yunnan University, the local comprehensive university. This is a beautiful city known as “four seasons spring” due to its high altitude. However, its geographical location has made it challenging for its universities to attract and keep well qualified faculty. It was a pleasure to get to know about twelve young scholars with strong PhDs who had come back from major universities on the East coast to serve and are working hard to build up their education programs.


Kunmig, “four seasons spring”

Next, I flew to the eastern city of Guangzhou, which has a population about the size of Ontario’s. I did lectures at both South China Normal University, a provincial institution whose dynamic program reflects the prosperity of the region, and Sun Yat Sen University, a national comprehensive university with a relatively new faculty of education.

Hong Kong is just two hours away by train. I gave my last lecture of this tour for the Comparative Education Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong. Here I stayed in my endowed apartment at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, where I still try to be helpful as president emerita. Its big news is that the final step in its retitling as the Education University of Hong Kong is expected to be completed by the end of May.

Leave a Reply