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There was a saying that the combination of Chinese and American higher education and secondary education are the perfect system of human education today. With the lack of space here and my limited knowledge I will try to provide you with the comparison of both primary and secondary education of the two countries and make an argument for the Chinese education system being more effective and stronger then the American system. I will also looking into how the west views the Chinese system and how it affects the great minds in the east. The importance of choosing this area is in the current curriculum reform and our role in the willingness of future teachers. I hope that the shadow of this trial would give some light on our reform curriculum.
There are numerous differences between the education systems of both China and the United States. Both countries have gone through major changes in the past fifty years. China, for one has changed dramatically and one major change occurred in the education system. The structure and system of Chinese education is changing every day, but are these changes, compared to American education system, good changes? If these changes have had a positive effect on China, why have the American not taken the high-quality system and evolved it into their education system? This may not come to anyone's surprise but we tend to notice Chinese students always doing better overall in schools. Why is this notion in the minds of the Western society? Here we will try to understand the dissimilarity in the education systems of China and the United States of America.
There are a few reasons which make the Chinese education system different then the American education system. Some differences are the amount of days of schools, the way a classroom is designed, and the ways the teachers teach the students. Some other differences are weight of education, structure of the system, ways of testing, and lastly extracurricular activities. The main reasons why they are different is due to culture differences and governing mentality. There are pros and cons of each education system, but my focus is to show how the Chinese system prevails over the American education system  .
Chinese education is divided into three categories. In the first two categories students start out with basic education and then move into higher education. The third category is adult education. When we say basic education, for China, this includes preschool, primary and regular secondary education. Kids start as early as the age of three for preschool and at the age of six for primary school. Secondary education is divided into academic secondary education and specialized secondary education, which includes vocational and technical courses  . Here you will get upper and lower academic secondary middle schools. In lower middle school, graduates have the option to continue their education; those who wish to continue need to take an entrance exam. This exam is administered locally, and on the scores of these exams the students have the option for entering an academic upper secondary school or they may enter a vocational school  .
Vocational schools, also known as, specialized technical education, put forward programs ranging from two to four years of training in middle level skill labor, such as, farming, management and technical staff. Vocational schools normally train young graduates from middle school for careers which entail manufacture and operational skills. They are also required to attend three years of training in a technical field they desired to work in.
The next step is moving forward to higher education. This area includes undergraduate colleges that last for two to three years. Here student also have the option to acquire either academic programs or vocational programs. Students also have the opportunities to attend colleges and universities that offer graduate programs. "China higher education at undergraduate level is divided into three and four-year programs. The former is offered not only at the universities of short cycle, but often also in the four-year college and universities. The latter is offered in four-year colleges and universities, but it does not always lead to a degree  ." Countless opportunities for higher education are also included in adult education, which is a wide ranging category.
Adult education has common characteristics with the three categories above. There is primary education for adults which consist of primary education, primary education for rural workers, and literacy classes. Other areas of specialization are also included in adult education. This would be secondary education for adults. Some of the specialized schools are, radio and television, cadres, staff and workers, farmers, and schools in service of teacher educators.
"Since 1950 China has provided nine-year compulsory education for a fifth of the world's population. By 1999, primary school education became universal throughout the areas where 90% of China's population live, and the nine-year compulsory education, throughout the areas with 85% of the nation's population. Illiteracy in the young and mid-aged population has fallen from over 80 percent down to five percent. The system trained some 60 million mid- or high-level professionals and near 400 million laborers to junior or senior high school level. Today, 250 million Chinese get three levels of school education, (elementary, junior and senior high school) doubling the rate of increase in the rest of the world during the same period. Net elementary school enrollment has reached 98.9 percent, and the gross enrollment rate in junior high schools 94.1 percent  ."
Most Americans begin pre-school at the age of five years. The children attend elementary school for about six or eight years. Then they go to secondary schools for six to four years. In China, children begin pre-school education variable from three-years to six-years-old. In the suburbs, some parents cannot even afford preschool. It takes six years to complete primary education and three years to complete junior high school. After, some students attend technical secondary schools and some continue to stay in middle school for three years to prepare for higher education. Upper middle school and junior high school for kids in United States and China, which is elementary and secondary education, takes twelve years to complete.
There are three problems that China faces for education of enormous proportion. One of the biggest problems is how to broaden a high-quality education system for most of the population that receives very little and limited education. The next focus is how to formulate a system which will be practical for most students who do not go to college. Lastly the focus is to help students become flexible and independent in their ways of thinking. In the United States, by contrast, we have an education system that is clearly missing a large proportion of their students. We are not on the path to success when we have less than half of our high school students graduating annually. In the U.S. college students in large state universities have some merit, but what is important to note is that students in the U.S have a wider range of courses then their Chinese counterparts, and this is only because Chinese students go to college to study one subject, so it's no wonder why most students in an introductory class of a particular subject do not have a burning interest in the topic. The types of reforms that receive the most attention are smaller schools, because the private school systems have not created verification supporting that students could lead to increase learning.
Experts suspect that to fix the Chinese educational system, it is important to find the social and economic assets to enlarge a successful system of primary and secondary schools and a quality system of higher education to cover the large population. This is an overwhelming mission, because universities have grown twice in size since 2000 and it is continuing to increase
As for the United States, it is believed that education reform requires a fundamental rethinking; just how teaching and learning take place in the classroom. I am content that many influences following the thoughts that charter schools and parental choice is an ipso facto. This clearly means that improving the education system has been put aside by the handling of the larger economy. I am encouraged that the government has a better sense than most of the predecessors on the complexity of the changes that need to be implemented in our education system. That does not mean it will be simple or fast, and who can say if the United States even has the patience to work slowly and steadily to improve the education system.
The role that the education system should play in the lives of people is to raise awareness, critical thinking individuals who passively accept knowledge, but the question of knowledge is being taught to them  . The means of education is to provide students with the abilities and aptitude to comprehend the world and how the world functions in order to survive in it. In opposition, the American education system has been known to develop students who are sadly unaware about the world and its different cultures. The system is training individuals to be acquiescent workers in the world's economy. The system is developing people to uphold the status quo "rich." This problem is apparent when looked at the wide-ranging curriculum and subjects which are taught in the classroom  . There is not enough stress on academic learning. Schools are focused on high test scores and they assume that through these test the students will be prepared for life in the real world.
The curriculum has changed over time to fit the nation's policies and to accommodate to the different cultures which are introduces in this nation. Students should be obliged to take courses that are given a deeper understanding of the humanity surrounding them, they should take courses which talk about the history of people marginalized and demoralized in their country and around the world. Students must be forced to read a book which makes them question and think, not just memorize the information for test. This would make them more competent leaders of tomorrow, one, because they would understand the values and cultures other people have and two, because government would not be able to use propaganda techniques to silence the masses into believing that everything was fine.
High-stake test should also be eliminated because most test designers have no idea about the demographics, ethnic and economic background of people talking the test and this causes many minorities and poor to be left out. Having qualified instructors, members of the school board and the school administration is a critical piece of the reorganization of the education system. It is always helpful and important to have qualified individuals who follow the rules and guidelines. What are the requirements for an administrator or a board member? Are there any conditions required? These are some questions that need to be answered. Just because someone has won a title does not mean this person will do the best job. Council members should not be chosen because they play golf with the mayor; all board members should be required to obtain a Masters Degree in Education and extensive experience of social justice  . As for teachers, the education system must ensure that the best teaches are elected and assessments are given frequently to ensure excellence. This would give parents and the education system the opportunity to determine what is incorrect with the system and what needs to be fixed with the system. The education system, especially public education, is in desperate need of teachers and members of the board who honestly care about children and their education. There are many individuals who only go for the benefits, which include summers and holidays off, a compensation package and other benefits which are not provided in other careers. Students in the United States are only being hurt because of the lack of interest the individuals have who are involved with the education system.
In the United States, teachers have to meet local standards and certification. But is this enough for the success in our education system? Chinese teachers did not need any certification in the past, but today in most large cities teachers must have certain qualification and obtain certification of teaching. That is probable the result of economic growth and development of social culture, offering more opportunities for people to receive education  .
In the United States, public schools are under the control of individuals states. Each state decides its own policies on education and schools have the right to choose books that will be used. Public schools are free to all children, while private schools charge their parents for several hundreds of dollars a year. In contrast, the Chinese government controls all public schools and chooses textbooks for them. Public schools in China are also free, but parents still have to pay for books or other facilities. They pay several hundred yuan per semester, depending on the cities they live in. Private schools charge even more and usually have children who could not pass the entrance exams for public schools successfully. In the curriculum reform, the Chinese government will allow the local government and schools or management to decide according to the reality in different areas and sever schools, which is considered a major breakthrough in the reform.
Different countries offer their young people the different courses, which are largely affected by the theories of his own teachers. One of the most famous educators in the modern history of America was John Dewey. He was one of the founders of the philosophical school of pragmatism, a pioneer in functional psychology, and representative of the progressive movement in the United States education. He advocated that schools should provide a working knowledge to students to help them survive in society. Although the dominate role of his theory gave way to essentialism in the 1960's, his affection is still ingrained. Almost all primary schools in the United States provide instruction in these subjects: math, language, calligraphy, science, social studies, music, art, and physical education. Most schools offer the same core of the materials required: English, mathematics, science, social studies and physical education  .
On the contrary, pragmatism is not as influential in China. China's primary schools provide instruction in these subjects: math, computer science, language, social studies, art, music, and physical education. In some relatively developed areas, English is also offered. The school offers the following topics: ideological education, language, math, foreign language, mainly English, also Russian and Japanese, physics, chemistry, biology, history, geography, physical education, art and labor. It is obvious that the subjects taught in the two countries are more or less the same and the Chinese students seem to have more courses to take. That is partly why the Chinese decided to reform its curriculum in the 21st century.
In today's growing society, we see that we have a vast availability of technology, and the more techonology grows the more difficult it is for our children to receive a quality American education. The students in China, and even Japan, who are living in a more technologically developed society that is not comparable to the United States, but has and will far exceed the current American education system
Some of the devastating grounds for the fall in the American system, includes issues of funding textbooks, materials, and general maintenance of the building. Many programs are being affected because there are cuts in the budgets and we have a lack of qualified volunteers and professionals. Others point to the students and the teachers themselves. Teachers are underpaid statistically, presented with class sizes of loans overcrowding higher levels of disruption and potential high school violence. There are talks for the restoration in the "No Child Left Behind" act which aims to help parents and children of minorities and marginalized families the right to quality and decent education. "At this point, less than half of all African America students and fourth of Hispanic students have basic reading skills in our current American education system. How can this be achieved?"
The Department of Education of the United States has a vision for all children obtaining excellence grade level by 2014. Targeting funding for all the schools which may be at a serious risk is United States biggest concern. The next step is to give parents a voice in their children's education and school choice, teachers, and information and control over their children's experience. So it is important to work with each state in the American system of education to find realistic solution and flexible assessment objectives to establish for each student. The program has already seen great success rate and it expected to prosper in the coming years if re-authorized. Exactly how serious is the calamity of the history of our nation? There was a survey conducted from several high schools in America which revealed a disturbing trend in American education for undereducated children on the nation of history around them.
"Of the students surveyed at random by a test of a possible thirty-three points, the highest score was seventeen. Many of the students surveyed said they did not remember having learned the material. Very unfortunate, given that the questionnaire covered some of the most basic of historical facts. Of the freshmen students surveyed, several agreed that they had never learned enough about the world around them. From those students, in sophomore, junior and senior year who had continued their education, showed very little improvement in their scores. As students who are either taking history of the world or that should have had a few world history courses, did much better than expected among the upper classmen. But this was only due to them taking classes at that given time  "
This is very important and marks the way the students in the Unites States are taught. Is the teachers way of teaching the information or are the students the one rejecting the information about world history and how it plays a vital role in the future of our country? In discussion with many history professors, research found an agreement that, while students of history tire easily if rendered to it at an early age or by some stimulation of interest, the education system is often not enough to fill in this gap  .
This problem can also be easily solved with a little work. Part of the problem is that some schools encourage their students to go on field trips, and are too preoccupied with politics and the law to teach students properly. If schools are opening their new travel policy, teacher can involve their students in world history in a variety of forms, from visits to museums, trips to places like the living history of Renaissance fairs, town recreation, and even the theater, where such works as 'Les Miserable' and 'Henry V' are often inspired by the desire to learn.
It is time to face the facts facing the Unites States educational system. It is easy to see that Americans are becoming more and more ignorant about history of the world. It is no longer given the importance as other subjects in schools. As Columbus crossed the Atlantic in 1492, Americans began to drift away from the old world and the worlds around it. As students learn about the Columbus' discovery, there is not much mention about Africa, Asia, or even Europe, because schools are drifting away from the importance they gave to history.
Does this mean that Unites States education system is to be blamed? I would answer no. The blame for its lack of historical knowledge of the United States is not fully on the shoulders of the educators, not all the students, or even the parents. The blame should be on the government and them giving priority to other matters of the country rather than their internal matter and the foundations of their country which is the education system; the system that will one day develop the great minds of tomorrow to make this country successful. The federal government elects the board of education to evaluate the material used in the classrooms. These boards continually turn over the issue of world history in favor of American History. If this trend continues, the story could be claimed again, and the Unites States could be suffering from their refusal to adequately educate its citizens. In contrast, the boards of education in America must take it upon themselves to integrate more world history in the curriculum.
Both the Chinese and American education systems face major challenges of enormous proportion. The Chinese system, as exists in the rich part of the country's coastline is very impressive and it has shown tremendous potential for change in the past 20 years. There were many American teachers who would interact with English teachers in China and would have a hard time communicating with them due to their way to specking English. But in the past 20 years English speakers in China have improved their ways of specking in the large coastal cities impressively.
A excellent analysis of the improvements in mathematics education had reflected in teacher's' knowledge can be found in the book of Liping Ma, Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics. The Chinese education system, found in the rich coastal cities has proven to be adaptable and creative. Moreover, as seen in videotaping lessons, elementary school mathematics in Beijing, the students are active and willing to challenge the teachers in a way not found in the Unites States.
There are many ways in which the Western world can describe China. The entrepreneur sees a potential market, the journalist describes old customs of a modern world, the teacher tires to keep up with the phenomenal changes that occur day by day in China, the students try to learn the languages and customs in the institutions, and the tourist sees flashes of the great achievements of China in their visits to famous sites. Any individual who goes to China, either as a tourist or businessman, sportsman or educator, cannot escape to realize some of the essential authenticity of modern China.
When we talk about authenticity, we have to point out the most key importance of China is its people. "Recent census figures estimate the number at about one billion, which is four times the U.S population and represents about a quarter of the world's population. China's success in feeding, housing and clothing this vast population is a monumental achievement of planning and maximum use of available resources. It is difficult for most of us to imagine what all the statistics mean. How can they display one billion people? Some of the realist of many people may be presented to students in terms of family comparisons  ."
Education is an important asset in the Chinese society and this importance is shown the policies made in China about education. "Adopted in 1957, the policy's objective is for everyone to develop morally, physically, and intellectually, so that all people can become "Red" (loyal to the party) and "experts" (well educated and trained to work). In their efforts to integrate mental and manual labor, the government requires intellectuals and administrators to do manual labor at least one day a month. Some work on the campus tree planting, rake the grass and leafs, or other work they can find around campus, while other go to countryside to help with the crops  ."
Education, an area in the Communist record, is known to be remarkable. "With the communist victory and the establishment of the People's Republic of China, the party begins an educational campaign dedicated to expanding the nation's literate and educated masses. Prior to 1949, China faced a stark literacy rate of only 15 to 25 percent, as well as lacking educational facilities with minimal national curricular goals. But as the Chinese moved into the 1950s under a new leadership and social vision, a national agenda to expand the rate of literacy and provide education for the majority of Chinese youth was underway  ."
In China, The Communist Party is sparing no effort in trying to eradicate illiteracy. 1966 to 1976 was a time before the Cultural Revolution, when schools were not open. "More than 100 million, mostly young workers and cadres, learned to read and write; 8.5 million graduated from primary school, 1,650,000 graduated from high school part-time and 200 thousand graduated from universities before the Revolution."
China has always and is continuing to improve its education system. In China, learning is the most significant aim of the parent and the child. Parents dynamically intervene in and try to advance the degrees of the child. In details there is a general consensus, which most young children here would find disagreeable, that is if the young is not revising enough information in schools, he or she is "wasting" their time. So parents will spend anything it takes to get their children to Universities; even scrounging money. The system prevails over the American system in many ways. This system does not only enforce discipline but has developed the most successful intellects in the world, for examples studies have revealed that Chinese students have a more advanced comprehension skills in subjects, such as mathematics, than students in the Unites States.
The Chinese education system has always been known to use harsh rules on students in schools. It is common that students are punished by physical discipline, for example being hit with a ruler on the hand. This strict system does not only encourage students to study more, but make them respect their teachers and authority around them. This disciplined system, seems to bare better results in students grades. The American system seems to be to laid-back and lacking incentive, not only for students bur for teachers as well. Americans need to implement a more intricate and restricted system which will be a good foundation this country's education system. I think that a well-built structure with lots of discipline in necessary for the students in the 21st century because of the distractions they are faced with everyday. There is no pressure or severe penalties for misconduct; they let the child fail until he or she wants to succeed on their own. The system in the United States had also given way to much freedom of choice to students, which lets student do as they please, knowing there may be no consequences.
In China, students are given homework and class assignments which need their attention at home and is only given so they can work on it at home. This keeps the students focused and no time for slacking. The kids in the United States are given homework that may last them, one to two hours at the maximum, which gives them plenty of free time after school. Here kids tend to watch television or take part in activities which may be damaging to their knowledge. Homework should be a essential part of the child life, because this gives them the chance to gain knowledge outside of the classroom.
As noted earlier in my writing, Chinese students have to take many different exam to successfully pass their courses and move forward in their studies. Failing the exam will keep the child back and strict action are taken to make sure the child succeeds in his or her studies. In the United States, even though the students are given exams, they are taught the test, which gives them easy excess to pass the course. If the American system was less lenient on the test and the material covered on the exams, our students would be able to match up to the students in China.
The "No Child Left Behind" act was passed to help the education system work with students who need the extra help, so the wont be "left behind." This law has only hurt the education system of America because it has placed many restrictions and requirements to pass the test, the schools have started teaching from the test. This is the worse way to build the leaders of tomorrow. The students have the capability to work in a critical manner when it comes to solving problems, this can used in their future lives and when they are in the real world; our system is just holding them back from developing those skills.
The education system of the United States, predominantly our public education system, is not consistent in its ways of teaching and implementation. Urban area schools are becoming more and more lazier by the day. The safety of our students is at stake, along with the knowledge transfer which is limited for so many unfortunate students. The education system needs to start making rigorous effort in improving the system of this country. The Chinese system puts a tremendous stress on educating students so they may have success in the future; United States is falling behind quickly when it comes to looking at the future of our students. We also see that many students in the United States do not put much effort in studying areas such as science and mathematics, there is not emphasis on the subjects from the educators either. Where as in China, the two subjects are given much importance and are a big part of the child's education. There is so much importance put on education, because Chinese tend to believe a child's real capabilities will come out through them gaining knowledge in different subjects. This is why the Chinese system is a better choice of system, because it gives the students a chance to think and not be restricted in their thoughts because they are educated and have the capabilities to find their strengths. This is also a reason why many universities in the United States tend to show interest in accepting Chinese students.