TC Honors China’s First Lady of Education
When TC's President travels 8,000 miles in the fall to present an award usually given here on campus in the spring, it's a good bet that the recipient has done something pretty important.
So it was with Ke-Ming Hao, one of the leading architects of China's education system, who received the TC Medal for Distinguished Service - the highest honor bestowed by the College - from President Arthur Levine in Beijing in October.
The event received national news coverage in China, receiving prominent play in newspapers and on television.
"When we walked into the hall where the ceremony was being held, there was a sign 10 feet long that said Award of Teachers College, Columbia University, to Professor Hao," Levine recalls. "It was reported the next on the front page of the newspapers and on national television. It was a very gratifying sign of the esteem in which Teachers College is held there, and of the value placed on education in general."
Madame Hao is Director of the Experts' Advisory Committee to the Chinese National Center for Education Development Research and Deputy Director of the Leaders for National Education and Scientific Research and Policy. She was honored for her research and policy recommendations to the nation's President and Minister of Education on curriculum standards, teacher education, and fund allocation, all of which have promoted the cause of educational equity. China's education system has provided quality education predominantly to children who are talented and whose families are politically connected and financially strong. Hao's office has successfully advocated compulsory education for all children through 9th grade, including those in historically neglected rural areas. Her contention is that by failing to do so, the country will doom itself economically. She is working to bring together businesses, academic institutions and the government to shape the future development of education in China.
In honoring Madame Hao, TC also extended a rich relationship with China that extends back to the early 20th century, when Tao Xinxshi, the country's first great modern reformer of education, attended the school.
"No other university has had the long history that TC has with China in terms of developing their most prominent, influential educators," said Xiaodong Lin, Professor of Education and Technology. "This is the first time in many years that a President from Teachers College has been in China, so it was an important event, which strengthened TC's connection to China. And by giving this medal to Madame Hao, we are telling the world that we support this line of value and policy, which is also consistent with the current government in China."
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