What kind of education is fundamental to the nation? – 什么样的教育才是立国之本? – English

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‘Education is the foundation of the country’: we’re very familiar with this statement today, it’s even been used as a slogan for us to shout. However, 当一个古老民族尚未从科举制迈出来时,要说出这句话,不仅要有超前的眼光,还要有辞旧迎新的大勇气。On June 18 1904, a talent comparable to Li Qingzhao, poetess Lu Bicheng, published an article in Tianjin’s ‘Da Gongbao’ entitled ‘education is the foundation of the country’.

At the beginning of the century, facing an era of rapid change, she reliased that China had entered a highly competitive world, 从兵战、商战到学战,她分析,如以为兵战可恃,当亚历山大、拿破仑鼎盛时期,威震全欧,谁能与之争锋?然而一旦战败,惊骇一时的武略也就随之湮灭。如以为商战可恃,上古埃及、波斯等国的工艺商业也不可谓不盛,如今早已散为流亡之种族。世界上真正有持久竞争力的还是学术,在她当时有限的了解中,想到了培根、笛卡尔、孟德斯鸠、卢梭等人,认为他们掌握着转移世界的大权,这不是世上眼见的那种权势,却是19世纪文明的原动力。“文明的原动力”——这个说法很精彩,是包括她在内的那一代中国读书人对此难得的认知。一个民族要产生自己的培根、笛卡尔、孟德斯鸠、卢梭,需要“兴学校、隆教育”,她认为这是“当今之急务”。

当时新教育初兴,与千年浸染的旧式教育相比,无疑是一颗幼苗,尚不大为国人理解,国人念兹在兹的还是秀才、举人、进士的功名。And so, she wanted to shout out about the importance of the new education, state the reason why ‘education is the foundation of the country’, and said: “教育者国家之基础,社会之枢纽也,先明教育,然后内政外交,文修武备;工艺商业诸端,始能运转自由,操纵如意。若教育一日不讲,则民智一日不开;民智不开,则冥顽愚蠢,是非不辨,利害不知。所知者,独自私自利而已。”

Lu Bicheng, coming from the old education model, and herself an outstanding performer in the old lyrical tradition, was nonetheless very keen on new education. 在举世瞩目于富国强兵之际,把目光投向了迂缓的教育,认为富强的根本,“非兴学校为普通强迫教育不可”。相距一百一十年,我们的外部环境早已发生变化,教育已然普及,and the problem has also shifted. The question we must ask today is not whether education is the foundation for the country, but what kind of education can be the foundation for the country. What kind of education can become a ‘driving force of civilisation’? What kind of education can lead to true enlightenment, rather than selfish access to culture for intellectuals? 吕碧城当年还用不着思考、来不及面对的这些问号就在我们的面前。To put it bluntly, 就是要认清教育的目标,如果把富强作为目标,教育不过是手段,教师和学生充其量也只是作为机器上的零件,终究还不是主体。如教育是以开民智为目标,也就是以造就具备健全心智、有明辨是非能力的人为目标,教师和学生独立思考能力的养成就是第一位的,没有独立思考,一切不过是原地打转,做做习题,背背标准答案,练练应试技巧,教教答题诀窍,这样的教育能不能成为立国之本,我相信答案是不言自明的。Such education can at most only promote the selfish interest of generation after generation of intellectuals, but will not constitute the driving force of civilisation.

An education that will serve as the foundation of the nation will need to have idealism as a background, rather than the day to day confused quagmire of realism. Whether we look back at the Confucean tradition or the Ancient Greek tradition, in essence, the true meaning of education is about freedom and independence, 教师凭着独立、自由之精神,在知识和精神世界里驰骋,学生同样要凭着独立、自由之精神,在知识和精神世界里求索,老师与学生,老师与老师、学生与学生,他们的生命相互碰撞,相互连接,在课堂内外彼此启迪,彼此建造,彼此成全。通过教育每个人的思想天空进一步拓宽,每个人精神的翅膀进一步展开,这样的教育才是令人向往的,也是教育的现实中所匮乏的。一旦失去独立与自由的精神,教育绝不可能成为立国之本,在一个教育普及的时代里,我们到底要什么样的教育,尤其值得深思。When considering this question, many people adopt a realistic perspective and start from the existing conditions. In truth, there is nothing wrong with that, but at no time can we lose track of the actual bottom line, at no time can we forget about the distinction between ‘what it is’ and ‘what we want’, we cannot continually lower standards, continually accept a fait accompli, until eventually, all goals and directions are lost. 重新找回方向和目标,需要向教育的真谛回顾,那是吕碧城时代还无须直面的问题。

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Source : aisixiang

About julien.leyre

French-Australian writer, educator, sinophile. Any question? Contact julien@marcopoloproject.org