Custodians of education and endowment at the State Schools of Southern Sung

Richard L. DAVIS

Journal of Song-Yuan Studies © 1995

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In times such as our own, when industrial societies make much of their material and cultural achievements, an excursion into educational history for the Song (960-1279) may prove just the right antidote to the malady of the inflated ego. Few realize, for example, that the experiment in state financed and publicly accessible education, so recent in the West, is at least a millennium old in China. Still fewer know that China led the world in the establishment of permanent endowments for its schools, land-grants (xuetian 學田) whose income in rents served to shield public education from the vagaries of national politics and local charity.