Seeberg, Vilma

About the author: Dr. Vilma Seeberg is an internationally known scholar in the field of contemporary Chinese studies and education. She is a tenured Assistant Professor of International-Intercultural Education in the Graduate School of Education at Kent State University. She has previously taught at Cleveland State University, the University of South Florida, and China University for Science and Technology in Hefei, China. Her first book, Literacy in China is considered a primer for all who study the field. She received her PhD in Comparative Education at the University of Hamburg, Germany.

Rhetoric and Reality of Mass Education in Mao’s China
2000 0-7734-7638-5
This text compiles exhaustive, newly acquired evidence from multiple sources and evaluates its reliability in order to draw a picture of education as experienced by the people, benefiting from direct observations by contemporaries and participants, triangulating national with provincial data, and enriched by qualitative historical material. A strength of this work lies in its ability to move through a variety of conceptual frameworks including international development theory, rational choice theory, Chinese politics and history, educational reproduction and organizational theory. The text draws out the relationship between ideology, policy, implementation, socio-economic incentives, and the demand for education among the people. The differences experienced by rural versus urban populations and under the radical-egalitarian and moderate labor resources policies are highlighted. After decades of struggle around ideology, structures, intellectuals and the content of education, some years to the point of violence, overall literacy among the masses increased only a little. These findings point to the necessity to question official claims for mass basic education in Mao’s China, and to review the role of culture and socio-economic context in international development education.