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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 17. July 18th, 1973

Political Basis of Education

Political Basis of Education

The fundamental difference between New Zealand and China in this field (as in all others) is that in China the political basis of education is made explicit. In New Zealand it is subtely disguised as the development of the individual in order to take part in "social democracy".

The skills that are learned at pre-school level to prepare children for higher levels of education, are superficially similar in both countries, but the motivations for teaching differ enormously. This was obvious from watching the children in different classrooms and listening to their singing, dancing and play acting. A small group in costumes acted out the story of a newcomer to the kindergarten who decided that it was too hot to take part in health exercises that were part of the curriculum for all children. The rest of his new comrades were very surprised at this attitude and wished to help him understand the reason for taking part. They told him that they were doing exercises to become fit and healthy and better able to do their job in the community — serving the people. The boy began to realise this and with mutual help from his comrades he learned and decided to join in.

In this way the children become aware of the values of their revolutionary society — that their education is to enable them to carry out Mao Tsetung's thoughts and serve the people. In order to do this well, pupils are also taught the principles of selflessness and self-reliance.