Multileveled citizenship education in Beijing: Liberation with limitation

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In recent years, there has been remarkable growth in academic interest about citizenship education in the age of globalization. Many societies have incorporated the idea of multiple identities into their citizenship education policies and/or curricula. China is no exception. Since the 1990s, the scope of China's citizenship education policy has broadened from its original exclusive emphasis on politico-national identity to include elements of multiple identities at four levels: global, national, local, and self. Still, little is known about what students actually learn and develop. With reference to three secondary schools in Beijing, this study investigates students' perceptions of multiple identities at the aforementioned four levels and the ways in which students form multiple identities. The study uses a mixed methodology of questionnaires and interview surveys to collect data, and adopts the theoretical framework for multileveled citizenship education (MCE) to guide analytical schema. Findings from the study show that MCE in Beijing has the strength to encourage individuals' engagement in various domains of human activities within and beyond national/local borders. In doing so, students could enjoy a certain degree of individual liberty to experience and develop relations between self, city, country and the world. The study also identifies the limitation of MCE in Beijing, i.e., the transmission of MCE mainly seeks to socialize students to a particular set of values and knowledge at cognitive and affective levels; developing students' evaluative orientation towards civil society is lacking. This study suggests the need for China's educational policymakers and practitioners to incorporate thinking, value, and judgment at evaluative level into MCE. It is important for China to foster young people to become reflective and responsible citizens, especially as China is playing an increasing important role in the global community.


ConferenceThe 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society: "Education is that which liberates" from the Sanskrit "Sa’ vidya’ ya’ vimuktaye"
Abbreviated titleCIES 2011
Internet address


Pan, S.-Y. (2011, May). Multileveled citizenship education in Beijing: Liberation with limitation. Paper presented at the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Montreal, Canada.


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