The Vast Differences Between the American Education System and Chinese Education[/title]
Dr. Derek Levine, Ph.D from the University of Debnver’s Korbel School of International Studies, is the Director of the International Student Program at Moore Catholic High School. He is a source for the Wall Street Journal and most recently spoke with us about the differences between the American Education System compared to the Chinese Education System.
Differences in Quality of Education
The Chinese educational system emphasizes knowledge rather than understanding the system that lies behind creating it. The Chinese system prioritizes memorization over reasoning; students are capable of storing and spreading knowledge but do not have the ability to create it. Academia is not interested in encouraging students to explore deeper questions of philosophical thought for understanding and explaining the world. It focuses on teaching practical information to deal with world realities. Critical and analytical thinking is not prioritized because the educational system centers on tests, and leans toward conformity.
Many Chinese professors are products of their own education system and teach students the same way they learned, and they do not possess a clear understanding of the difference between the humanities and social sciences. Many professors believe they are conducting social science research when they are researching humanities. Scholars predominately publish descriptive articles and books (though a contribution to the literature might be made) rather than theoretical, limiting the possibility of reaching beyond the confines of a study. Chinese scholars do not adhere to strict academic standards like those in the West. Academia in China is known for plagiarism, cheating and falsified academic work. ‘
Culture and Education
Understanding China’s learning culture is key to understanding why they are not as creative as their American counterparts. Although voicing differences of opinion in a college classroom is discouraged in China, it is encouraged in the United States. America is widely known to have the best higher-education system in the world. It attributes part of its success to ethnic, cultural and racial diversity because they improve the quality of a student’s overall education experience. Students with unique experiences and diverse backgrounds share views and opinions in class, and open the minds of other students in one of two ways:[/content_box][content_box title=”” icon=”” backgroundcolor=”” iconcolor=”” circlecolor=”” circlebordercolor=”” circlebordersize=”” outercirclebordercolor=”” outercirclebordersize=”” iconrotate=”” iconspin=”no” image=”” image_width=”35″ image_height=”35″ link=”” linktext=”” link_target=”_self” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=””]either what they say changes their minds by introducing them to a new line of thinking or evidence they had not considered previously, or it forces them to think deeply and critically to defend their own positions in light of criticism. This element of education is missing in China. Classroom discussions and debates sharpen one’s critical thinking and analytical abilities. In China, a typical class is taught by a teacher straight out of a book. Information conveyed is rarely challenged or open for discussion, and is often accepted as scientific fact rather than scholarly viewpoint. Teachers control what students learn and how they learn it, stifling independent thought and creativity.
Many Chinese students do not perceive the limitations in the education system within their respective disciplines as a major problem because many, regardless of their majors, aspire to work in government-affiliated jobs. They value job security and benefits over a higher salary that could be taken away should the economy worsen. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) rank first since 34.1% of college graduates choose civil service careers. They are more stable and provide both medical insurance and pensions. During economic crises, private enterprises and joint ventures cut jobs as they did amid the current global financial crisis. SOEs tend to expand during recessions as the government asserts greater control over the economy. The number of applicants for 2010’s National Civil Service Exam reached 1.46 million people, 16 times the number in 2003.
Clearly, we can see the differences in education between the United States and China. This study suggests that China’s educational system is a hindrance to developing new innovative technologies and ideas. The system trains experts rather than scholars. Chinese students are skilled at knowing information but not at understanding how knowledge is created. It is more important for scientists and engineers to understand how knowledge is created and how to expand on it than merely possessing descriptive information. The American System is geared toward doing that.
Dr. Derek Levine: Ph.D from the University of Debnver’s Korbel School of International Studies. Professor at the City University of New York. Anaylst for Wall Street Journal (China’s Aerospace Industry). Director of the International Student Program at Moore Catholic High School. Author of the book titled “The Dragon Takes Flight: China’s Aviation Policy, Achievements, and International Implications”. Articles published on China’s Aviation Industry in the Journal of Contemporary China and the American Journal of China Studies. Published articles for MSNBC on Chinese Politics and Culture.[/content_box][/content_boxes]