Reforming school system is a difficulty social engineering. However, the state administers always took up-side down strategy to plan reform but ignored to consider the plan feasibility at local level, so as to hardly promote it. Using historical method with primary sources, this article, from a local perspective, explores the development of primary and secondary education in Fukien since the enactment of Kuei-Mao school system in late Ch’ing China. It found that serious shortages of new teachers and finance were two major obstacles. Furthermore, there also existed problems such as shortening the study years and employing staffs and teachers unlawful. Other factors also affected this reform, such as some local senior officials and gentry’s passive attitude to western-style education. Under “Government-supervised and Gentry-managed” model, local governments and gentry burdened the major responsibility of developing this western-style primary and secondary education, without financial support from the central government. Only few of them were enthusiastic and active. Besides, misallocating the limited budgets, abolishing the civic service examination and preparing for enacting constitution made the whole reform more complicated and difficulty. Consequently, Fukien developed worse than other provinces. This unsuccessful reform experience is worthwhile to learn for later educational reformers.
- Kuei-Mao school system
- late Ch’ing
- local history
- primary and secondary education
ASJC Scopus subject areas