Thursday, 10 May 2012


Critical independent report from NORAD

NORAD is the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, a specialised directorate under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Project for the Holistic Habilitation of Children with Cerebral Palsy began in 2009 under the China Disabled People's Federation, and covers three provinces in the Chinese People's Republic. It is set to end in 2013.

In November 2010 NORAD was presented with a mid-term evaluation of this extensive project by the Ming Chuan Educational Consultancy.

Among weaknesses identified, with specific respect to what the report refers to as Conductive Education, the consultancy's interim conclusion and recommendation are summarised as follows –
Conductive Education: Introduction without the experts to effectively implement it and without considering whether it really is the best approach to therapy for CP children in China.

In light of these conclusions, the recommendations of this evaluation are as follows:
Carry out a feasibility study to fully understand the resources available within China to provide the capacity building necessary for the fulfilment of the project goal and to determine the best approach to therapy (be it conductive education or otherwise)...
It would have been nice to have known about this at the CE World Congress, held in Hong Kong in December 2010. Perhaps the final report could feature at the next world Congress, to 
be held in Munich in Germany towards the end of next year.


Walmsley, M. et al. (201o) Project for the holistic rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy. Mid-term evaluation, Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, ChinaMing Chuan Consultancy

This page provides a link to the complete report on PDF, offering frank and considerable further detail.

Some background reading

Cao, Li-Min, Cheng, Clare (2010) The development of Conductive Education in China; prospect and challenges, Presentation to the 7th World CE Congress, Hong Kong, December

Schenker, R. (2012) (Middle) East meets (Far) East: a visit report, The Conductive Post, February

Sutton, A. (2011) Last Year In Hong Kong, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press


  1. The report looks great but it's nothing close to an evaluation of CE in China. Just look at the evaluation team. Michael is an engineer. He knows little about CP and rehabilitation, not to mention CE. Elizabeth is better qualified but she might probably take a PT's point of view to evaluate CE. Based on the pros and cons of CE listed in the report, my comment on the narrow if not distorted understanding of CE of the evaluation team members is quite justified. Xu Bing probably played the role of a translator in the evaluation process and report write up. How would you be confident to rely on somebody who knows little about CP and rehabilitation, not to mention CE, to evaluate CE? It's too hastily to jump to conclusion on the status quo of CE in China. The report is at best an evaluation of the project management and the use of funding. Moreover, the project itself is not for implementing CE in China but rather an attempt to improve the deprived situation of CP children in the rural areas where rehabilitation resources are scanty and parents are not well informed and some even mis-guided about their children's need. Among the 8 centres, only two which under the Chengdu Resource Centre in Sichuan practice CE and the Chengdu Resource Centre set up CE through another project. The report seems to give a negative impression of CE in China but quite ironically the evaluation team gave the highest commendation to Sichuan. Anyway, the report can only be considered as a report on project management and it warrants readers' caution in reading in as a report on evaluating CE in China.

  2. Thank you, Clare. This is just the sort of trenchant response that CE and its evaluation need.

    Let us have more of it, wherever.


  3. Thanks, Clare, for some reassurance here. Having read it, I'm glad that you confirm my impression that "Anyway, the report can only be considered as a report on project management and it warrants readers' caution in reading in as a report on evaluating CE in China." Reading the report as 'a text' (the English teacher in me!), that's exactly how it strikes me. What's more, I felt that specifically 'western' project management standards were being applied to a somewhat different Chinese context. I should have re-read the report but did not care to. I wonder what the Chinese is for "vita brevis"?

  4. I have had only a little contact with project management over the years, though my experience does suggest that engineers have to be quite good at it. I strongly suspect that not a few of CE's numerous projects around the world over the years could have some with some. I believe that ACENA has also voiced this sense.

    A quick skim of the Internet tells me the following...

    Mr Walmsley qualified as a water engineer at the University of Birmingham, in 1993. For some years he worked in Hebei Province, China. From 2008 he was managing director of the Ming Chuan Educational Consultancy, 'concerned with supporting foreign teachers of English, cultural exchange programs and cross cultural training and development.' He closed the company in December last year on taking up his present post, teaching project management at the Great Southern Institute of Technology in Albany, Western Australia.

    I find nothing on Elizabeth Griswold or Xu Bing, nor on the continuation of this evaluation now that the Ming Chuan Educational Consultancy has closed. Perhaps those defter than I on the Internet might light upon something

    I have written to the group in Germany organizing the 8th World CE Congress, drawing attention to what I have suggested in my posting above.

    I have sent the URL of this posting to Michael Walmsley in Western Australia.

    I have also written to NORAD in Oslo, asking what it is doing to complete the evaluation.

  5. Rony,

    That sounds like the famous diner scene in 'When Harry met Sally'. Have a cigarette, calm down, and do please share your considered thoughts on this.