China’s financial centre is also an education powerhouse, but it â and the OECD figures â don’t represent the Chinese system as a whole
I think Western politicians often fall into the trap of taking rankings like these at face value and the ignoring bigger picture.
First of all, as the article mentions, Shanghai is not representative of the rest of China, as its inhabitants are China’s elite and have the means to access a better education.
One of my Chinese friends once told me that the system is incredibly unfair. The end goal is to find a stable, well-paying job, which means you have to go to a good university, which means you need to go to a good high school, which means you need to go to a good middle school, which means you need to go a good primary school, which means that children whose parents are not well-off residents of a big city are at a disadvantage from the start.
Moreover, corruption permeates all aspect of society, especially education. In more extreme cases, parents will bribe exam invigilators so that their children can cheat in the 高考 (gaokao, university placement test), and this year there was even a case when angry parents mobbed an invigilator who refused to allow it… At the lower level, teachers might inform students that they can only sit in the best seats if they pay (which happened to my friend). Even if no money is exchanged, many teachers still might expect a lot more from students than simple hard work…
My friend once asked me what I would do if a teacher asked me to help them with something, but I didn’t want to/already had plans, to which I replied that I would simply say that I was busy, but it was unlikely to be an issue because teachers in the UK don’t normally ask much of students outside of class anyway. My friend was surprised, and asked if I wasn’t afraid that the teacher might lower my grades if I refused, which goes to show that students these days are not only expected to work themselves to the point of exhaustion, but to also to pay their way in some form or another, as competition is so fierce.
And from what my Chinese friends have told me, it’s also common for teachers to hit students, especially during primary and middle school years to “motivate” them to behave/work hard…
Do I believe that the British education system is flawed and needs improvement? Of course I do. But I also think it’s too easy to say “look at China, we need to copy them” and ignore the deeper issues just because one city which represents China’s elite shines through the ranks.
Amateur photographer Wei Gensheng has used his sky-high position as a crane operator working on the construction of Shanghai Tower, the world’s second tallest building.
Not sure how to pop the question? Chinese guy from Jiangsu used this bouquet made of 100-yuan RMB bills to propose. Guess it was a yes.
And they say romance is dead…
Imagine that you are fleeing your country to escape persecution and have survived a treacherous sea journey towards Australia’s shores. Imagine further that based solely on your country of origin, you could be “screened out” after a brief interview and sent back to the country you fled, while other asylum seekers get a full refugee status assessment.
Perhaps if you were from Switzerland or Sweden, it would be fair for Australia to make you undergo a pre-screening interview on the presumption that the country you came from is safe. But what if you are from Sri Lanka, a country barely recovering from a brutal and lengthy civil war whose government continues to oppress its own people?
- globally, 77,600,000 girls do not attend school
- there are 33,000,000 fewer girls than boys in primary education
- girls with secondary education are 6 times less likely to be married as children
- a girl with 7 years of schooling in the developing world will have 2.2 fewer children
- a child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5
- two thirds of the 775,000,000 illiterate adults, and 63% of illiterate youth, are female
- literate mothers are twice as likely to immunize their children and send them to school
- a girl who completes basic education is 3 times less likely to contract HIV
- a girl earns 20% more as an adult for every additional year of education she receives
- a nation’s GDP rises an average of 3% when 10% more its girls attend school
- less than 2% of international development funds are specifically allocated to girls
- school is not free in over 50 countries
photos: (1) malala yousafza before addressing the un; (2) joey l. of a school for the hamar tribe in ethiopia; (3) beawiharta in jakarta of students who risk life crossing a collpased bridge to get to school; (4) muhammed muheisen in pakistan; (5) altaf gadri of an unofficial school run for slum dwellers held under a bridge in new delhi; (6) paula bronstein of burmese refugees in thailand at a school in their refugee camp; (7) noah seelam in hyderabad, india; (8) per anders pettersson, uganda; (9) lana slezic in afghanistan; (10) roberto schmidt in afghanistan, where acid attacks and poisoning of water by the taliban is on the increase at schools for girls
Mount Sinabung, Indonesia