Towards building direct educational partnership: The foundation of Shanxi University in 1902

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The foundation of Shanxi University is a prime example of the collaborative efforts in higher education between the Chinese and British in late Qing China (1842-1912). Both sides made compromises, with the Chinese adapting their ideas of educational sovereignty, and the British agreeing to work under the supervision of the local government. Such a collaboration was made possible by the individual personalities of the two founders and their visions for China's higher education. The dual structure of the university, with one department to teach Chinese learning and the other to teach Western learning, showed that, at a local and personal level, these officials and missionaries opted for direct cooperation, despite the myriad changes and upheavals following the Boxer Movement. In addition, by allowing foreign missionaries into critical roles in a government university, the principle of ti-yong dualism was gradually being adapted. The formation of Shanxi University not only demonstrates the dynamics of the Sino-Western educational relationship and the roles individuals played in it, but also stimulates reflection on China's contemporary cross-border partnerships in higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-210
Number of pages23
JournalFrontiers of Education in China
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Shanxi University
  • Sino-foreign cooperation
  • cross-border partnership
  • higher education reform
  • missionary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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