Critical citizenship in China and Australia: A comparative study on the curriculum guidelines

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In an increasingly globalized world, the appeal of cultivating the critical mind seems to escalate across different societies. The driving forces may include changes in the production and dissemination of knowledge, an increase of global issues beyond the sovereign state, and the needs for an innovative workforce in global economic competition (Johnson & Morris, 2010). For many states, nevertheless, the notion of “critical citizens” may constitute a perennial dilemma: developing an obedient populace on one hand and cultivating creative and critical thinking on the other (Tyack & Cuban, 1995). Thus, “being critical” becomes both a desirable and undesirable component in nurturing active citizenship. This study employs a comparative perspective to analyze the role of being critical in nurturing the future citizens in the Chinese and Australian national curriculum guidelines. A comparison will be made between the Civics and Citizenship Curriculum in Australia and civics and citizenship curriculum guidelines by the Chinese Ministry of Education over the most recent decade. (Hong Kong and Macao are not included in this study due to their separate education systems and also different curriculum guidelines). The findings of this study indicate how ‘being critical’ is embodied in the national citizenship curriculum in the two nations that differ significantly in both the cultural traditions and political systems, and how critical mind is integrated with their respective overall aims and learning objectives.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015



Zhao, Z. (2015, June). Critical citizenship in China and Australia: A comparative study on the curriculum guidelines. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy: Leaders, Values and Citizenship in 21st Century Education, held in conjunction with 11th International CitizED Conference and the Arts, Humanities and Literature Conference 2015: Redesigning pedagogy: Leaders, values and citizenship in 21st century education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.