General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out in the report of the 19th CPC National Congress: “The socialist culture with Chinese characteristics is derived from the excellent traditional Chinese culture nurtured by the Chinese nation’s 5000-year history of civilization. It is necessary to strengthen cultural self-confidence, because without a high degree of cultural self-confidence and culture prosperity, there will be no great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” (Xi, 2017). As a highland for talent cultivation, universities should shoulder the responsibility of college ideological education to promote the education of traditional Chinese culture and establish the spirit of national self-confidence.
2. Significance of Cultural Education
Cultural education is an important part of the education system in universities. It is of great significance to the establishment of morality in universities to fully understand and tap the important education value of culture, create a campus cultural atmosphere, strengthen the learning and inheritance of traditional culture, and cultivate young students to be nourished from the excellent traditional Chinese culture.
Cultural inheritance is an important foundation for the cohesion of national spirit. Culture is the blood of a nation, the crystallization of the wisdom of the descendants of Yan and Huang in the process of understanding the world and transforming the world. The continuation of a nation’s core is the continuation of the national spirit, and culture is the manifestation and expression of the national spirit. Cultural self-confidence is the internal driving force of national self-confidence and a strong country, and is the root and confidence of the Chinese people. The excellent Chinese traditional culture contains a wealth of national spirit and moral concepts which have inspired generations of Chinese, including the patriotic spirit of “Worrying before the world, and enjoying after the world”, the national integrity that “One should never be corrupted by wealth, changed by poverty and bent by force”, the self-improvement spirit of “As heaven maintains vigor through movements, a gentleman should constantly strive for self-perfection”, the sincerity spirit of “a person cannot do without credibility”, and the benevolent spirit of “gentlemen are good to others”. The excellent Chinese culture which is advancing with the times has a permanent vitality that travels through time and space, and continues to provide the Chinese nation with continuous spiritual motivation and rich cultural nourishment. In the current specific historical period, it has provided a solid foundation and spiritual guarantee for China to develop advanced socialist culture (Chen, 2017).
Cultural identity is an effective way to shape common values. Values are a kind of thinking or orientation by which people identify things and distinguish between what is right and wrong. They determine people’s self-knowledge. It directly affects and determines the nature of one’s ideals, beliefs, life goals and pursuit directions (Lu & He, 2019). The shaping of common values in a country will push people to think in one direction and move in the same direction. The inheritance and recognition of culture is the basis of value recognition, as well as the driving force and glue for shaping common values. Socialist values are in line with the development requirements of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and they are in line with the outstanding Chinese traditional culture and the outstanding achievements of human civilization. The cultivation and practice of socialist core values require in-depth exploration of the ideological concepts, humanistic spirit, and humanistic spirit contained in the outstanding Chinese traditional culture. Ethics, inheritance and innovation combined with the requirements of the times, allow Chinese culture to show permanent charm and contemporary style.
Cultural education is a solid foundation and a powerful tool for ideological and political education. In the Implementation Outline for the Quality Improvement Project of Ideological and Political Work in Universities promulgated in 2017, the main content of the ideological and political work in universities detailed plans for Top Ten Education System in courses, scientific research, practice, culture, network, psychology, management, service, funding, and organization. It is proposed to further promote cultural education, give full play to the function of socialist cultural education with Chinese characteristics, focus on educating people with culture and people, optimize school style and study style, cultivate university spirit, cultivate teacher and student behavior, and lead social fashion (Luo & Xiong, 2020). Cultural education is like “the spring breeze sneaks into the night, moisturizing things silently”. Compared with educational forms such as ideological and political courses, it is more accepted and recognized by young people. At the same time, every Chinese youth has an innate curiosity and thirst for knowledge, wanting to understand and inherit China’s excellent traditional culture. A young person who has deeply studied the excellent traditional culture of China will understand and recognize the core values of socialism better than others in terms of political outlook and value shaping.
3. Undergraduate Students’ Cognition of Chinese Excellent Traditional Culture
Chinese excellent traditional culture is rich in connotation, is the sum of moral inheritance, excellent cultural ideas and spiritual concepts in the history of the nation, and is the crystallization of national spirit and people’s wisdom. Writing, language, art, and folklore all belong to the category of traditional culture. Specifically, Chinese traditional culture takes ancient books, language, writing, ethnic music, and ethnic drama as its carriers (Feng, 2020). In daily learning and application, people are familiar with language, writing, Chinese studies, and traditional art, which are also widely used.
Undergraduate students are relatively knowledge-rich groups among young people, and their knowledge of traditional culture represents to a certain extent the higher level of young people’s knowledge of traditional culture. At present, in an environment where the country attaches great importance to the construction of traditional culture and the establishment of cultural confidence, universities also attach great importance to the construction of campus culture and the construction of cultural courses. Currently, universities basically offer courses related to Chinese culture and history. They also develop unique cultural activities based on disciplines, regions and other factors. To a certain extent, they promote the enthusiasm of undergraduate students to understand and learn traditional culture. But combined with the broad scope of Chinese traditional culture and the all-encompassing content, most of what students can learn and participate in is the relatively basic and highly influential content of traditional culture, which is only a very small part of the excellent Chinese culture. At the same time, due to academic pressure, employment pressure, interpersonal pressure and other factors, the time and energy for college students to learn traditional culture and participate in cultural activities are very limited. This also results in insufficient time for college students to learn Chinese excellent traditional culture, and to understand and inherit China. The consciousness and initiative of excellent traditional culture are not high (Wang & Li, 2019), and there are fewer students who form the systematic cognition of traditional culture, and the degree of in-depth understanding and recognition of cultural connotation is also urgently needed to be improved.
4. Exploring the Construction of Excellent Cultural Education Projects
4.1. Concept of Project Construction
The Chinese Excellent Cultural Inheritance and Development Project takes the realization of the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as its fundamental goal. It is based on adhering to the standpoint of Chinese culture, inheriting Chinese cultural genes, absorbing Chinese wisdom, promoting Chinese spirit, and spreading Chinese values. The implementation of the project digs deep into the connotation of Chinese excellent traditional cultural values, focuses on national development strategies, serves the urgent needs of local culture, and expands the overseas dissemination of Chinese culture. By rooting the seeds of cultural consciousness and self-confidence in students, we will gather and promote youths, and implement the educational requirements of “fostering virtue through education” with “cultural education” (Wang & Zhao, 2020).
4.2. Project Design and Implementation
4.2.1. Relying on Academic Competitions, Teachers Together with Students Build a Team Focused on Cultural Conservation
In 2018, General Secretary Xi gave an important instruction of “Old City, New Vitality” when inspecting Guangzhou. Teachers together with students in Faculty of Chinese Language and Culture of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies build a project team to conduct a research on the theme of “New Vitality of Old City” from the perspective of cultural conservation, focusing on Guangzhou Xinhepu Cultural District. The project surveys historical buildings, creates architectural archives, conducts residents visits to collect oral history, and writes research reports. It also cooperates with district governments, enterprises, and non-governmental organizations to help local neighborhoods and institutions carry out related cultural protection, research and publicity activities.
4.2.2. Take the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Platform as the Carrier and Use New Media to Spread Chinese Excellent Traditional Culture
Relying on the literary research and creative writing related research institutions in Faculty, the project aims to improve undergraduate students’ research and application ability of Chinese excellent traditional culture, to improve the innovation and entrepreneurship ability of students and the achievement conversion rate. Members of the project organized a research and development team to study classic Chinese original story, which is guided by instructors and operated mainly by students. The team has created children’s editions of The Analects, Idioms Story and other dozens of audio albums, and successfully launched on mainstream audio platforms such as Learning Power, Himalayas, and QQ Music. The total number of fans on the entire network reached 580,000, and the album has been played more than 200 million times. At the same time, it was recommended by the Guangdong Radio and Television Bureau and was reported by many authoritative media such as People’s Daily and Guangzhou Daily. The project won the Gold Award in the 2020 “Challenge Cup, Create Youth” Guangdong University Student Entrepreneurship Competition, and the Silver Award in the 6th Guangdong Internet+ Entrepreneurship Competition. The well-known brands of the project cooperation include the national fashion brand Li Ning YOUNG, Chimelong, China Communications∙Blue Bay, etc., which have become well-known brands for children’s Chinese education in China. Through project creation and research, the ability of students to study traditional culture, use traditional culture and the awareness of identifying with traditional culture and internalizing culture has been greatly improved.
4.2.3. Exploring the Spiritual Connotation of Traditional Culture in the form of Literary Creation Activities
The project focuses on social hot spots, strengthens the ability to use culture, holds literary creation competitions, classic literary masterpiece appreciation competitions, Chinese cultural festivals, Chinese classics and original dramas and other activities to cultivate students’ awareness of learning Chinese culture, using Chinese culture, and identifying with Chinese culture. The literary creation competition creates literary works in a variety of genres such as poems, proses, novels, and micro-scripts. The Chinese Classic Literary Masterpiece Appreciation Competition held focuses on the bibliography of Chinese classic literary masterpieces to deliver healthy, elegant, and positive cultural influence, and consciously inherit and promote advanced Chinese culture by improving students’ understanding and appreciation of Chinese literary classic masterpieces ability through the creation of original works.
4.2.4. Carry out Cultural Voluntary Service Activities with the Goal of Serving the Urgent Needs of the Society
The project implemented a youth language protection volunteer training program to provide support for the protection and inheritance of dialects. Relying on the Language Protection Volunteer Workstation of the China Language Resources Protection Research Center, the project serves the construction of the Chinese Language Resources Protection Project. Various volunteer activities and competitions are carried out for universities and other social sectors across the country. Tweet creation contests and dialect essay contests were organized to guide students to actively participate in language preservation projects and topics. Students are encouraged to actively participate in the management and implementation of various national and provincial language protection topics. A program called “Language Poverty Alleviation, Chinese First” was conducted to involve students into serving local social development. Combining professional advantages, the project strives to implement the “Language Poverty Alleviation, Chinese First” action plan, and integrate the strength of the teachers and students of the school through the two-way channel of “going out” and “welcoming in”, and carry out multi-dimensional language poverty alleviation activities at home and abroad (Wang, 2020).
5. The Actual Effect and Experience of Cultural Education Project Construction
Firstly, with the work orientation of “Leading and cultivating people”, the project strengthens the social responsibility and mission of talent training. The Chinese Excellent Cultural Inheritance and Development Project has always adhered to the principle of “Leading morality and fostering people”, insisting on ideological guidance, allowing students to deeply understand the essence of Chinese excellent culture, absorbing Chinese wisdom, promoting Chinese spirit, disseminating Chinese values, using the power of culture to refine students’ thoughts, sublime the realm of students, cultivate students’ character, and strengthen students’ quality (Luo & Xiong, 2020), and strengthening the national pride and cultural self-confidence of talents thus cultivating them to become the socialist successor who shoulders the responsibility of national rejuvenation.
Secondly, coordinating party building, ideological politics, and professionalism, the Chinese Excellent Cultural Inheritance and Development Project forms a tripartite joint force and practices the concept of three-dimensional education (Gao, 2020). It is closely centered on the goals and professional advantages of the education work of colleges and universities, implementing the concepts of full education, all-process education, and all-round education. It relies on research centers and practice bases to highlight the tripartite characteristics in language protection, cultural conservation, overseas dissemination of Chinese culture, and enrich campus culture. Starting from students’ needs, interests and concerns, the project practices the concept of “full education, all-process education, and all-round education” through well-designed activity concept, framework, items and forms.
Thirdly, the project focuses on the national development strategy and the urgent needs of local culture to increase natural vitality and impetus. Closely following the national development strategy, the project plans and organizes the overseas dissemination of Chinese culture, tells Chinese stories, serves the protection of local dialects, focuses on local cultural conservation, and builds campus Chinese traditional cultural activity platform. It integrates activities with the “Inheritance and Development of Excellent Chinese Traditional Culture”, “One Belt One Road” initiative, “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” and other important national development directions to be a communicator of the inheritance and development of Chinese culture, aiming to promote the improvement of students’ cultural literacy and better cultivate students’ national pride and self-confidence.
Fourthly, the project pays attention to the creative transformation and innovative development, and promotes the output of high-level students. The Inheritance and Development Project of Chinese Excellent Traditional Culture cultivates students’ high-level achievements by integrating cultural research platforms in faculty and overseas internship practice bases all over the world, making use of creative transformation and innovative development, and professional guidance of a research team of teachers and students.
Cultural education is an important part of the education system of universities, and it is a solid foundation and a powerful starting point for ideological and political education. Combined with the case of the “Chinese Excellent Cultural Inheritance and Development Project” of Faculty of Chinese Language and Culture of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, the cultural education project in universities can rely on academic competitions, take innovative and entrepreneurial platforms as its carrier, organize literary creation activities as its form, and serve the urgent needs of the society as its goal. Cultural education projects in universities are supposed to form a work-oriented project that takes “foster virtue through education” as the work orientation, create a tripartite joint force by coordinating party building, ideological politics and professionalism, focus on national development strategies and urgent needs of local culture, and attach importance to effectiveness and experience of cultural education projects such as creative transformation and innovative development projects.
 Xi, J. P. (2017). To Secure a Decisive Victory in Finishing Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects, and to Strive for the Great Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era: A Report at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Beijing: People’s Education Press.