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13 Chinese Educational Fallacies

1 – Every waking hour of every available day should be used for learning.

2 – Larger classes = Larger learning.


3 – Common rooms would only encourage ‘common’ behaviour.

4 – Pumping a range of international music through an all-pervasive system develops cultural appreciation.

5 – Photocopying wastes paper, ink and electricity. Students prefer to write everything themselves.

6 – Toys waste time. If you are five, you have no business using them.

7 – Failed your exam? Take another one. Failed that one? Buy the qualification instead.DSCN6040

8 – Extra curricular activities… As in, ‘activities outside of the curriculum’?… So why should we bother?

9 – Drilling is informative and fun.

10 – Printers are a luxury. Colour printers are a fantasy.

11 – Weekends begin on Saturday morning and end on Sunday afternoon. (Ie. Classes end on Saturday morning and begin again on Sunday afternoon.)

12 – Weekends are the perfect excuse for enrolling in a cram course.

13 – Subjects on the curriculum should be standardised until 18. Student preference needn’t come into it.


…But Who Am I To Talk?

China’s education system is not only becoming the best in the world, but is also currently churning out the talent needed for  its economy’s unparalleled growth rate.

In fact, if you look at the statistics, there’s not much wrong with the system. But that China will outperform all in GDP, and in test-passing is practically a foregone conclusion. What remains to be seen is whether Chinese people’s lives will improve as a result of such advancements. To incite a piece of economic jargon, what remains to be seen is whether GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) will rise in line with GDP.

Mathematical ability, literacy and scientific knowledge are the benefits, but what are the losses in an education system which muscles out all else? Social interactions, creative expression and individuality; none find space in the Chinese school.

Chinese educators may argue that such losses are acceptable, even necessary, for achieving the benefits. But world leadership (as China will likely experience come 2030) poses entirely different challenges to the current trend of national growth. In China’s coming years, problems will need to be solved using new, creative solutions. Ideas cannot and will not be found in text books, since a society like the one emerging here has never existed before. China’s workforce will require an education that teaches them not only to copy but also to create.

Furthermore, it will become increasingly difficult to enthuse young people about an entirely standardised education as Western influences seep in. Wealthier Chinese parents will bring in wealthier Chinese students. Wealthier Chinese students will not need to aspire to wealth and instead turn their attentions to improving their possibilities in other ways; socialising, creativity and individuality. China’s current education system devalues such desires, but could instead foster them in preparation for future skill demands.

China’s education is outdated. In fact, most of China is outdated, purely because of its rate of progress. How could a country possibly keep up with such rapid economic growth?

New railways can be constructed to enable faster travel, power plants built to cope with energy requirements, housing erected for ever-expanding populations. China has learned to speed these processes up to phenomenal rates in order to meet the demands of rapid progress. Education, however, cannot be similarly accelerated.

Children can’t grow up any faster and learning takes time. Advancements in education methods take a generation to show their effects, and many more reap tangible rewards. To meet the needs of China’s future years, it’s education system needs to change now.

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