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Raising Quality, Fostering “Creativity”: Ideologies and Practices of Education Reform in Beijing


T. E. Woronov is an assistant professor in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona (


Critics of education in China call for increasing students' “creativity” as key to improving the nation's education. This article examines the idea of children's “creativity” in Beijing, associated with an education reform movement called “Education for Quality.” On the basis of ethnographic research in three elementary schools in Beijing, I argue that efforts to increase students' creativity flounder both on structural impediments within the Chinese educational system and on contradictions inherent within the ideology of children's “quality.” [China, education, quality, ideology]

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