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Columbia Hosts Symposium to Explore Education in China & U.S.

Chinese Students at Columbia University

Photo courtesy of Columbia University

China has continually led the U.S. in educational rankings for math and science achievement. Even with such a solid standing Columbia University's Teachers College has reported that more and more Chinese students are attending college and high school in the United States--and many of them have gone on to become teachers themselves. America has been influencing Chinese schools in ways we don't yet fully know.

Teachers College is hosting a one-day event on October 25 that gathers together American and Chinese educators along with government officials to discuss how each country can share its educational best practices. The Kuo Ping Wen Symposium is named for the first Chinese national to receive a Ph.D from Teachers College and 2014 marks the centennial of his achievement. Kuo Ping Wen is called "China's First Global Educator."

Teachers College's press release provided some background on Kuo Ping Wen:

In addition to his contributions to education in the U.S. and China, Kuo helped to foster diplomatic relations between the nations through education and cultural exchanges. He was elected three times as Vice Chairman of the World Education Congress and was Director of the China Institute, which he founded with Monroe, from 1926 to 1930. He was part of a Chinese delegation associated with the early formation of the United Nations and became the deputy director of United Nations Relief Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA).

In his later years he founded the Sino-American Cultural Society and acted as its President in Washington, D.C. In the early part of the 20th century, TC professors, including Dewey, Paul Monroe, William Heard Kilpatrick, H. O. Rugg and W. H. McCall, travelled to China, cross-pollinating each country with educational ideas and promoting social as well as educational reform. U.S. - China relations cooled during the Cultural Revolution of the 1950s but were revitalized in recent decades.

Chinese institutions represented at the symposium include East China Normal University, National Taiwan Normal University, the National Institute of Education Sciences along with other colleges and organizations.

The keynote speaker will be Vice Chairman Hongyu Zhou, Standing Committee of Hubei Provincial People’s Congress.

For more information about the symposium, visit tc.columbia.edu/kuopingwen/.

Corrie Kerr, Education World Editor

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