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Chinese education system may be stifling innovation

Chinese education system may be stifling innovation

Ralph Chooljian, in an article for Medill News Service titled “Chinese education system may be stifling innovation”, discusses the shortcomings of the Chinese educational system. He brings out that the system can produce workers but not thinkers. This has been realized by educators who are unable to make any real changes. Why is it that China can produce world beating performance in every field but is unable to reform its own education system?

Even though most Americans see China as a close competitor, the fact is that if China is to pose a challenge to the US, it has to make major changes to its education pattern.

While Chinese students do well in straight forward tests, the education system is rigid and values discipline and rote memorization. Such a system, experts say, can produce good factory workers, but it cannot produce thinkers who can innovate creatively.

In China, millions take the gaokao exam that lasts three days. Success in the exam determines the college a student will go to. Competition is immense and the pressure to succeed is enormous. Students prepare nonstop and memorize, drill and recite continuously to prepare.

However, many have begun to see that such a system stifles creativity and does not allow students to form ideas out of what they have learnt. Some industrialists lament that this kind of education system will never let a Steve Jobs emerge in China because the Chinese system simply would not allow such a person to function.

It is not as if the authorities do not understand this. The ministry of education tried banning academic activity in summer months and making education more broad based. However, this has simply not taken off. The ministry now hopes to reform and modernize the system by 2020 by promoting research based study and incorporating a broader based syllabus.

In the meanwhile a large number of students go to the US to study. While previously these were largely postgraduate students, the current trend is to appear for SAT instead of gaobao and complete undergraduate studies in the US. Students who go to the US get a better degree and a far better education.

While the Chinese are not hopelessly behind and are constantly improving, they do face a number of challenges. The limitations the Chinese education system imposes will ensure that it takes a long time to catch up with the West.

Note: The preceding is a summary of an article found though our research, and is provided here with editorial comment for members only. Please see the full article at the following link for full original content.

The New Asia Innovation Team