Education Journal


1989.第17卷第2期(Vol. 17 No. 2).pp. 102–113



Art Education for the People: Mass Cultural System and Urban-Rural Arts Education in China's Shaanxi Province

盧乃桂(Leslie Nai-Kwai LO)




Since the emergence of nonformal education, studies in the field have concentrated on its contribution to the alleviation of poverty and the improvement of productivity of the work-force. Little has been done to bring interested readers into the pedagogical context of nonformal education, and explore educational issues that pertain to the personal development of its participants. The purpose of this paper is to highlight educational and pedagogical issues in nonformal education programs for the visual and performing arts in China's Shaanxi province. The mid-western province has a wealth of folk culture and is representative of middle-income China. Altogether, four major educational issues are discussed: (1) dissemination of "correct" knowledge in arts courses; (2) setting minimum standards of proficiency; (3) defining the proper perimeter of nonformal arts education; and (4) integration of tradition and modernity, indigenous and foreign in the pedagogy. The research method employed in this paper combines content analysis of Chinese written materials, interviews with participants, and in-class observations. It concludes that nonformal arts education programs, as found in the Mass Cultural System, are to disseminate relevant knowledge and skills. Given its limitations, however, the programs fall short of cultivating creative, inquisitive, and insightful talents.