LAI Yan is a MPhil Student at the Department of History, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. After having received her B.A. in History from Shandong University in China, she furthered her studies in Hong Kong and received a M.A. in Comparative and Public History from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interest mainly lies on the history of women and children from Qing Dynasty to Republican China.
In the national crisis of the early 20th century of China, Chinese intellectuals drew attention to the need to educate women and children. Women and children were regarded as necessary supporters of national unity and the country’s future. In order to address this lacuna, this project analyzes female primary education in Guangzhou from the early 20th century. During the process of modernization in Republican China, girls enrolled in schools, thus breaking with tradition by entering the public arenas. A hotbed of revolutionary movements and economic development Guangdong, and especially Guangzhou, witnessed the appearance of one of the earliest refined girls’ schools, such as Guangdong Public Female School. Based on reports on school management published in popular magazines, news reports, contemporary newspaper reviews and memoirs of school founders, this project examines how refined elementary school educated female students and shaped their minds and lives, and thus, helped the change of women’s roles in local society.