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UPDATED: September 19, 2010 NO. 38 SEPTEMBER 23, 2010
100 Years of Chinese Education

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature (DOCLL) of Peking University. On March 31, 1910, the Imperial Capital University (the predecessor of today's Peking University) was established, with a Chinese literature school as an independent teaching unit. DOCLL was born at that moment. Chinese language and literature officially became an independent department of China's higher education. It also indicated the transformation of traditional Chinese language and literature teaching into a modern system of education. During the past 100 years, the department has developed into three majors: language, literature and bibliography and textual criticism.

In addition to Chinese linguistics and literature, DOCLL also covers Chinese history and even foreign languages and cultures.

Over the past 100 years, DOCLL has graduated more than 8,000 bachelors, 2,300 masters and 600 doctors. The total number is nearly 20,000 when international students, visiting scholars and auditors are included. The department has a galaxy of talent and has produced numerous great scholars and celebrities.

Greater numbers of international students have been progressively attracted to DOCLL. Foreign students have been allowed to study there since the 1940s. During these decades, the number of international students has been expanding, with Japanese, Korean, European and U.S. students in the majority. Besides, many foreign students and visiting scholars come to the department each year for further education. Most of the world's renowned Sinologists have visited the department. It has become a platform for academic communication about Chinese language and literature.

DOCLL has carried on the tradition and spirit of Peking University, which is academic freedom and active involvement in social affairs. As a teaching and research agency of local language and literature, the unique feature of the department is teachers and students focus on not only academic studies but also real-life problems, merging themselves with the fate of the nation.

Due to overemphasis on economic significance of social programs, studies of human and social sciences have been gradually marginalized in China. In these circumstances, DOCLL insists on not prioritizing vocational training over other roles of higher education. From its point of view, university education is meant to teach students to find the most suitable life path, build a solid foundation for a life of knowledge acquisition and ensure students' overall development.

In recent years, facing the new situation, DOCLL has undertaken rigorous reforms of its talent cultivation model, the setting of courses and its research. Because of its leading status in human and social sciences education in China, the exploration and innovation of DOCLL has positive and far-reaching significance for other higher learning institutions.

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