At the beginning of the T'ai-shih period (265-274) following Han and Wei models, Wu-ti the Chin ruler established within the capital the T'ai-hsüeh, (太學 Imperial School). In the beginning the school had three-thousand students and later this was increased to seven-thousand, however, because of the degeneration of the spirit of scholarship, the poor quality of the available talent and the reputation of the pupils Wu-ti weeded out many of the undesireables. In 276 it was enlarged with the construction of the Kuo-tzu Hsüeh (國子學 School of the Sons of the State) which existed alongside the Imperial School. During the reign of Hui-ti the system of Kuo-tzu kuan-p'in (國子 ) was instituted whereby every student of the Imperial School with an official rank of grade 5 or above was able to move up into the School of the Sons of the State thus putting this school into a position superior to that of the Imperial School. The early Chin also modelled itself after the Wei by setting up nineteen men as Po-shih (博士 Scholar of Wide Learning) augmented during the Hsien-ning period (275-279) by the creation of a Kuo-tzu chi-chiu (國子 Libationer of the Sons of the State) and Kuo-tzu Po-shih (國子 博士 Scholar of the Sons of the State) and fifteen men were given the title of Chu-hsüeh (Teaching Assistants) who were to instruct the students. The Scholars all selected well known lodgings(??) and the virtuous were given government posts. When the Eastern Chin state was established on the left bank of the Yangtze it was never at peace and so the Imperial School and the School of the Sons of the State went through periods of intermittent operations. In 385 during the reign of Hsiao-wu-ti on the advice of the Master of Writing, Hsüeh Shih, the School of the Sons of the State was restored and the sons and younger brothers of high officials with a rank of 2,000 shih (rank here measured by the yearly grain allowance) were chosen to become students with the additional construction of fifteen units of housing. However, the quality of the subject matter and instruction was unregulated so some of the students were good and some were so bad that men of virtue were ashamed to be seen in their company. In short, formal education in the administrative centers of the Western and Eastern Chin existed in name only with pupils only there for the sake of appearances in a situation that was at great variance with that of the Imperial School of the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties.220.127.116.11.2 The Southern Dynasties
Among the Southern Dynasties the ruler Sung Wen-ti was very interested in literature and on Chi-lung Shan (Fowl Basket Mtn) he opened schools and recruited students, building four schools, one for Confucian studies, one for 'esoteric'(Taoist) studies, one for historical studies and one for literary studies. As soon as these national schools were once established it was not long before they were also disbanded. In 470 the ruler Ming-ti established the Tsung-ming Kuan () , summoning scholars to staff it and designating one man each as Tung-kuan Chi-chiu (Libationer of the Eastern Aspect) and Fang-chü (Admissions Director) with twenty scholars still divided into Confucian, Taoist, Literary and Historical sections. In 482 the Ch'i ruler Kao-ti again established a state school appointing fifty men as its students and selecting them from among those sons and younger brothers of all officials below noble rank, over fifteen years of age with those under twenty having as a cut off that their homes be no more than 1,000 li distant, but it was not too long before this school was disbanded. During the Yung-ming reign period (483-493) of Ch'i Wu-ti the school was reestablished with two-hundred and twenty men appointed as students but during the Tung-hun Hou period (499-500) it was again disbanded. By the time of the Emperor Liang Wu-ti Confucian studies were being promoted so in 505 a School of the Five Classics (五經 Wu-ching Kuan) was founded with each of the Classics having one man appointed to serve as it Scholar. There were altogether several hundred students in the school and they received a government grain allowance with the more accomplished among them being appointed to serve as functionaries. However, when Wu-ti in has later years came to favor Buddhism and as expected Confucianism was neglected so this school came to exist in name only. Therefore, it can be said that ever since the move to the south a regular system of schools and education in the administrative capital was from beginning to end without order, and it was the military and political disorder of the time that made it thus.18.104.22.168.3 The Northern Dynsties
Although the Northern Wei state was a creation of the northern Hsien-pei barbarians they had, however, been influenced by the Confucianism of the northern parts of the Han state and so knew of the value of and honored learning and education. When T'o-pa Kuei, the ruler T'ai-tsu, first stabilized the area of the Central Plain and established his capital at P'ing-ch'eng, it was fitting that he appointed Scholars for the Five Classics, more than one-thousand men as students to found a School of the Sons of the State and the Imperial School, and later the number of students was increased to three-thousand. During the reign of T'o-pa Ssu, known as Ming-yuan-ti, the title of the School of the Sons of the State was changed to that of School of the Palace Writers (中書學 Chung-shu Hsüeh) and assistants to the Scholars were appointed. In the year 426 during the reign of T'o-pa Tao, who ruled as T'ai-wu-ti, buildings for the Imperial School were constructed in the eastern part of P'ing-ch'eng and at the same time sacrifices were offered up to Confucius with an imperial decree that the sons and younger brothers of the most high-ranking officials and bureaucrats must all visit the Imperial School to receive an education. Later on Hsiao-wen-ti changed the name of the School of the Palace Writers back to the School of the Sons of the State and then at the time of the transfer of the capital to Lo-yang and the move towards sinification, in Lo-yang the School of the Sons of the State, the Imperial School and the School of the Four Gates (Ssu-men Hsüeh, a sort of elementary school) were established in an almost complete imitation of the Han Dynasty model. During the reign of T'o-pa K'o, the ruler Hsuan-wu-ti, forty Confucian scholars were selected to become Scholars of the minor school (the School of Four Gates) and during this period the spirit of learning flourished but it was not long before the Northern Wei was split into eastern and western halves by internal discord and although the state schools continued to exit they did so in name only.
The Northern Ch'i state inherited the institutions of the Wei and in their capital of Yeh they established the School of the Sons of the State, the Imperial School and the School of the Four Gates. The only change was that the School of the Sons of the State was now referred to as the Hall of the Sons of the State (Kuo-tzu Ssu) with one man appointed to act as the Libationer, five as Scholars, ten as Teaching Assistants and seventy-two as students. At the Imperial School ten Scholars were appointed along with twenty Teaching Assistants and two-hundred students, while at the School of the Four Gates there were twenty Scholars, twenty Teaching Assistants and three-hundred students. However, it was only this way according to official edicts. In reality, the Ch'i and the Chou states were engaged in warfare year after year and as a consequence education was neglected so these institutions were also reduced to mere formalities. According to the Biography of Confucian Scholars (Ju-lin Ch'uan) in the Book of the Northern Ch'i, "...the Scholars of the state school merely have empty titles and it is only in the one School of the Sons of the State that there are several tens of men as students!" (The same is also found in the T'ung-k'ao section Hsüeh-hsiao k"ao.)
When the Northern Chou unified the north they were more sincere than the Northern Ch'i in carrying out their institutional program. Furthermore, their central educational system wass inherited from the Northern Wei. The historical record states that Yu-wen T'ai (T'ai-tsu) and Yu-wen Yung (Wu-ti) both paid special attention to the Imperial School. In addition to this Wu-ti celebrated the rites of nurturing the old (Yang-lao li) in the Imperial School. He also founded an additional School of the Dew Gate (Lu-men Hsüeh) with seventy-two students. (For both see the "Basic Annals" Pen-chi in the Book of Chou, Chou Shu).22.214.171.124 Education in the Countryside
In the administrative units outside of the capital during the Western and Eastern Chin there were "commandery state schools" (chün kuo-hsüeh) but they met with neglect and confusion, waxing and waning with the times and also had their differences due to both time and place. For example, if local frontier officials were dedicated Confucians and promoted learning then the schools flourished otherwise they were deserted. The Chief Clerk (Nei-shih) of P'o-yang during the T'ai-k'ang period (280-289) of the Western Chin began a large-scale renovation of schools with a general call for students and also circulated an announcement among the subordinate prefectures and everything was well ordered. During the Yung-ho period (345-356) of the Eastern Chin when Western Expedition General Yu Liang held court (k'ai-fu) in Wu-ch'ang he specially appointed local education officials to establish lecture halls, ordered that the sons and younger brothers of all his officers, assistants and functionaries were to enter the schools to receive instruction and also invited well-known (Confucian) scholars to act as the Libationers (the equivalent of a headmaster) so that for a time the spirit of learning flourished in the region of Ching-chou.
The Southern Dynasties continued the trends of the Eastern Chin as the system of local schools went into an even quicker decline. It was only during the T'ien-chien period (502-519) under the Liang ruler Wu-ti that there was a great revival of culture and education, Libationers and Scholars being sent out to the provinces and commanderies to establish schools. Later when Hsiao-i King of Hsiang-tung became the Prefect of Ching-chou a school was established in his court with Ho Ko invited to become its Libationer, who preached the Three Rites (San Li), and those of the gentry of Ching and Ch'u that listened were very numerous. (See the Ju-lin Ch'uan of the Liang Shu, 粱書 Book of Liang.)126.96.36.199.2 The Northern Dynasties
During the long span of years that the Northern Wei controlled the Central Plain the directives of the government were more strict due to the influence of classical studies in the north, while their system of local education was more universal and complete than that of the Southern Dynasties. In the reign of Hsiao-wen-ti during the period of the regency of the Empress Dowager Feng, on the advice of Kao Yün a proclamation directed that the entire state formally set up commandery state schools, a major commandery to establish two men as Scholars, four as Assistants with one-hundred students; in a secondary commandery, two men as Scholars, from two to four as Assistants and eighty students; in a middle commandery, one man as Scholar, two as Assistants and sixty students; in a minor commandery, one man as Scholar, one Assistant and forty students. "A Scholar must be widely read in the Classics, have followed loyalty and virtue all his life, and the one who would become a teacher of men should be forty or older. An Assistant should be the same as a Scholar and over thrity. The students should be chosen from among those with an unblemished repuration in the commandery, their conduct polished and respectful, it is these who are worthy to follow the obligations and teachings of the Sages." (See the Biography of Kao Yün in the Wei Shu and in the preface to the Ju-lin Ch'uan.) Afterwards during the reign of Hsiao-wen-ti besides making uniform adjustments, it was changed into a three-grade system; the commanderies were divided into the three classes of upper, middle and lower, an upper commandery having two Scholars, two or three Assistants, and eighty students; a middle commandery having one Scholar, two Assistants and sixty students; and a lower commandery having one Scholar, one Assistant and forty students (see the T'ung-chih pu). This system was universally implemented during the reigns of Hsien-wen-ti and Hsiao-wen-ti (466-499), a time when the spirit of learning was said to flourish. With the coming of the division and disorder of the latter Wei these schools also followed it into ruin.
During the Northern Ch'i, "All the commanderies simultaneously established schools, appointing Scholars and Assistants to teach the classics while the students had all been coerced into filling the alloted slots with the families of the educated and the rich all refusing the summons." (See T'ung-k'ao, the Hsüeh-hsiao k'ao.) The result was that although the Wei instititions were still carried out the State Commandery Schools had already become a formalism. The State Commandery Schools of the Northern Chou also existed in name only, therefore, from that time until the period of Sui Wen-ti the school houses of the chou and hsien were all completely shut down.188.8.131.52 Instruction and Discussion by Private Individuals
Even though the Western and Eastern Chin and the Southern and Northern Dynastie were shaken by military disturbances and the common people suffered deprivation and hardship, the spirit of private instruction and discussion still flourished. Many well-known Confucians gathered together followers to engage in instruction with the number of students and disciples reaching over one-thousand. In addition to this there wer those scholars who were attracted to a teacher because of this reputation and who were willing to travel a thousand li with a box of books on their shoulder to search for a teacher and seek his instruction. Thus, the actual teaching and propagation of the Way was usually done in the private schools and not in the government schools of an area. What now follows is a brief description of some of these private teachers.The Western Chin
During the age of the Northern Wei a man from Hua-yin, Hsü Tsun-ming, personally composed thirty sections of the Ch'un-ch'iu I-chang (An Essay on the Meaning of the Spring and Autumn Annals). Whenever any of the disciples he taught were about to begin a discourse they would first present their case point by point and only after this did they begin their discussion, and the students gradually made this an established custom. Tsun-ming lectured for over twenty years and thoughout the land there was not a person who did not respect and look up to him. At the same time Hsien-yü Ling-fu from Yü-yang had also drawn together followers to instruct. Tsun-ming's disciple, Li Yeh-hsing, went and asked about the problems he had with the classics but Ling-fu was unable to reply, thus Ling-fu's students all left him to go to Tsun-ming.Li Hsüan, from Po-hai, studied under Tsun-ming for five years during which time he edited and arranged the San-li I-shu, San Ch'uan I-t'ung and other books and after this he retired from public life to live and teach in the seclusion of the countryside where there were always several hundred as his students for most of those within Chao and Yen who could recite the classics sought out his school.
During the final years of the period Ma Kuang from Wu-an instructed over a thousand followers in the Ying and Po areas, and following the Sui overthrow of the Chou in the first year of the K'ai-huang period (581) he was summoned to serve at the Shan-tung I-hsüeh (note: either a tuition-free private school or the study of philosophic principle). Kuang and Chang Chung-jang, K'ung Lung, Tou Shih-jung, Chang Mai-nü, Liu Tsu-jen all went there and were at the same time made Scholars at the Imperial School with the men of the time calling them the Liu Ju (the Six Confucians). (For more about the above see the Biography of Confucian Scholars in the Pei Shih.)