David Yufan Yang

The Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Truth? Using Educational Content to Shape Political Ideology in China's High Schools

Between 2004 and 2011, China implemented the largest secondary education reform in its history. Although the reformed textbooks embody many shifts in ideology (such as perspectives on Confucius), the primary goal of secondary education remains to enforce an overt set of ideologies onto Chinese students. My research project asks: how effective is Chinas centralized education system in passing down these changed ideologies to students through the textbooks? This project consists of two major stages. First, I will quantitatively measure and compare the ideological content across different textbooks. Then, I will conduct a survey online and among colleges in Nanjing and Shanghai. While the textbook analysis provides precise evidence on government’s intention, the carefully controlled survey is able to measures the actual impact on students’ ideology. Chinas secondary education is an unique case that allows me to to identify an causal effect between school curricula and students ideology. This will be the first empirical study explicitly on this causal effect.

Message to Sponsor

The privilege of becoming a SURFer means a lot to me. I am thankful that SURF application process gives me a taste of what graduate school and academia career are like. This is extremely timely as I am about to make my post graduation decisions. Working through my SURF application, I learned how to initiate research questions, seek guidance from faculty mentor, draft proposal, and refine the research methods. More importantly, SURF lights up my passion in research. SURF inspires me to commit my future career to academic research in the field of Economics.
  • Major: Statistics, Business Administration
  • Mentor: Noam Yuchtman, Haas School of Business