I was astonished and shocked (actually delighted!) to read how well the Chinese education system is designed, and how brilliantly it is performing.
This education system is China's real secret weapon.
While India goes down the path of the worst possible education system, China has moved to the TOP of the world.
That's enough said.
Here are key extracts:
Chinese school system offers the West a lesson in educational achievement
CHRISTOPHER BANTICK, The Australian, November 03, 2012
I AM in a classroom in Beijing. The class has 42 Chinese students who are learning English and all have their books open, pens in hand in anticipation. The students, in response to my questions, stand, give their answers and are then clapped by their classmates. There is no desultory conversation, no distraction – the focus is acute. This is not unusual.
Chinese education is steeped in success.
Part of this is due to brilliant teaching. The preparation of Chinese teachers is first class. Not everyone who wants to be a teacher makes the grade.
China is outstripping Australia through two things: quality teaching and a culture of success related to hard work. What China has grasped is that by learning English, future generations will be able to move globally and do business just about anywhere.
… due to the emphasis China places on achievement and exceptional teaching practice.
A rigorous testing program measures students and exposes variable teaching. It works like this:
Students undergo regional tests after 10 weeks and national tests twice a year. The test data is collected by the schools on students' and teachers' performance. The data is ranked, then used to judge teachers, with salary linked to performance. It's a simple equation: better results mean better salary. It's called motivation. If a teacher's results are not good for two years, the teacher is demoted to a lower class; there is no choice and no appeal. If the results still fail to improve, dismissal is a reality. Teachers work incredibly hard and are regarded as performing a significant role. They are professional and active learners themselves.
One only has to look at the results on the Program for International Student Assessment to gauge China's success.
The PISA tests are held every three years and in 2009 students in Shanghai topped the world rankings for mathematics, reading and science.
Schools are viewed in China as places of industry and application.
The school day in China is long. Some schools start just after 7:30am and end at 5:30pm. Where I taught in Beijing, classes end at 5:30pm, but senior students may well work on until 10:30pm. It was a shock to see full classrooms of Year 12 students, heads bent over books, with no teacher in the classroom. They were studying in week two of the academic year. They did not need supervision.
“In China, more than nine out of 10 children tell you: 'It depends on the effort I invest and I can succeed if I study hard.' They take on responsibility. They can overcome obstacles and say, 'I am the owner of my success', rather than blaming it on the system.”
China's route to become the top-ranked country is disarmingly simple: authoritative, informed and inspirational teaching; self-motivated, ambitious and focussed students; and regular external assessment.
As for class sizes; it's a no-brainer. In China, 42 students a class is not unusual. The essential difference is the teacher. This is dragon education, and its outcomes roar loudly.