What’s an educator’s job beyond teaching?
郭位 Way Kuo
WHEN news comes of a breakthrough contribution made by foreigners, some Chinese people would respond by dismissing it as nothing new, citing ancient classics to claim that the same thing existed in China long, long ago.
Such claims may have some validity, but the question remains why the ideas or concepts that sprouted early in China failed to grow and take root there.
In the West, research – both in spirit and in practice – has been a time-honoured tradition, and is held in even higher regard today. It advocates enquiry into all phenomena through independent thinking and objective criticism.
Research is based on facts and aimed at seeking knowledge and innovation. It applies not only to science and technology, but also to the arts, humanities, and philosophy. Not only should research boost education by enriching materials for teaching and promoting education reforms, but it should also help to make business and government operations more efficient. Researchers should focus on human needs and set clear goals in their work for the maximum benefit of the largest majority.
Educators, besides “promoting theories, imparting knowledge, and answering queries”, should encourage research, namely “the study of Nature’s phenomena to seek knowledge” as advised by ancient sages of China. Educators today should emphasize research not only in universities but also in schools for young kids, making it a key link in education of our modern times.
英國不再是當年的 “the workshop of the world”，中國也不應永遠做「世界代工廠」。創新研究，正是發展的方向。中國快速脫離貧困落後，走向富裕文明；當今要務，是爭取除「中國製造」外，更發展出「中國創造」的轉變。
Just as England today is no longer “the workshop of the world” it once was, so China should stop serving as “the OEM factory of the world”. The right way forward is to pursue research that leads to innovation. As China is fast shaking off poverty and backwardness to become a wealthy and more civilised society, it faces the tough task of adding the sign “Created in China” to the label “Made in China”.
Curiosity, a human instinct, has always urged Man to find out about everything in Nature and all that happens in society. Over time, what started out as chance findings led to purposeful enquiries and finally to well-planned and systematic researches in quest of fresh and broader knowledge.
The present era of globalisation requires that all mankind work together to address their common problems. To be a responsible member of the international community, China is duty-bound to focus on problem-driven researches.
(Translated by Allen Zhuang)