Boya Education in China: Lessons from Liberal Arts Education in the U.S. and Hong Kong

In this paper I shall discuss the importance of China’s "boya" education (BYE), which has a tradition similar to that of the West’s liberal arts education (LAE), in the era of computer-based automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Drawing on the experience of BYE in Mainland China and LAE in the United States and Hong Kong, I argue that (a) for BYE to achieve its goals in China it should occupy a central rather than tangential role in the undergraduate curriculum, (b) professional or technical training is not only compatible with the fundamental values of boya or liberal arts but also is helpful in showcasing the touted strengths of BYE and LAE, and (c) the combined benefits of BYE or LAE on the one hand and professional or technical training on the other may be achieved by pursuing both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

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