Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 4/5

September 11, 2011

NPR explored, Are U.S. Schools Really Falling Behind China?

To answer this question, Michele Norris was the host for National Public Radio when she interviewed Vivien Stewart, the Asia Society Senior Adviser for Education, who argued that the US “has reason to be worried”.

Steward said, “I talk to (American) parents about turning off the television, turning off the video games, and if their students spent as much time studying as they did playing video games, we’d easily be at the level of the highest performing countries in the world.”

“China has very high standards,” Stewart says, “largely focused on math and science, a strong core curriculum that all students have to take. In the U.S., we have standards that vary all over the place, by state and by district. Students can opt out of harder courses.”

Aaron Brown opens the third segment of this PBS: Wide Angle documentary on high school education in China with the words of Jiacheng, a student that says, “If I didn’t study hard these last few years, I’d probably be working in a factory earning very little and I would be exhausted.”

If you have forgotten, it was in Part Three that we discovered Jiacheng had won/earned a silver medal in the national mathematic Olympiad and was accepted to one of China’s most prestigious universities considered equal the Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford or Caltech.

Moreover, this is the way life should be.   Those who work hardest and achieve the most should earn the highest rewards.

Jiacheng’s mother simply explains how this happened. “His teacher told him what to do. He told him what to study.”  The rest was up to Jiacheng.  The teacher could not do the studying and learning for him as many American students and critics of public education expect of public school teachers in the United States.

Let’s not forget that we have learned that high school students in China often study 16 hours a day while the average US student divides more than 10 hours a day between watching TV, listening to music, hanging out at the mall socializing, spending time social networking on Internet Sites such as Facebook, playing video games, and sending meaningless text messages.

In this segment, Aaron Brown emphasizes the importance of China’s national exam taken near the end of senior high school at age 18.  The results of this exam will decide who attends college and who ends up working as a common low paid laborer.

Continued on September 12, 2011 in  Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 5 return to Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on  it then follow directions.


Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 3/5

September 10, 2011

According to Alexa Olesen of the Associated Press, women are now a big part of the competitive education system in China.

Olesen says, “In 1978, women made up only 24.2 percent of the student population at Chinese colleges and universities. By 2009, nearly half of China’s full-time undergraduates were women and 47 percent of graduate students were female, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“In India, by comparison,” Olessen says, “women make up 37.6 percent of those enrolled at institutes of higher education, according to government statistics.”

Aaron Brown of PBS Wide Angle reports how talented Chinese students that cannot afford to pay for senior high school earn scholarships from the government. Attending high school on scholarship in China means living in dorms.

Brown says, “Although China is now working toward developing its students creativity, its educational system is traditionally geared toward rote learning. Students are tested on how well they have memorized their textbooks and teacher’s lectures.”

One student in the PBS documentary, Gao Mengjia, says she studies daily for sixteen hours, sleeps for six and eats for one to two hours.

                     

Another route to the top is to win a medal in a competition such as the National Mathematic Olympiad. Winning a gold or silver may lead to acceptance at one of China’s top universities.

In China, senior high school students may come from high ranked parents that are members of the Communist Party and who have traveled abroad to Europe/America

Through merit, peasant children from rural Chinese families that earn about $2,000 annually—enough to put food on the table for a large family (note: in most of rural China there is no property tax or mortgage to pay, since the land is owned by the village and government and may not be bought or sold)—may attend the same schools.

One sign of China’s merit based educational system are the number of women successful in private business.  Of the world’s 14 self-made women billionaires, six are Chinese (according to Forbes) while only three are from the United States.  Source: The Richest.org

In addition, China’s National People’s Congress, women make up 21.3% of the representatives while in the United States and India, the world’s two largest democracies, women fill about 10% of the seats in India and about 17% in the United States.

This goes to prove that success through merit does pay off compared to leveling the playing field with quotas.

Continued on September 11, 2011 in Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 4 or return to Part 2

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions