"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chinese Look Beyond Test Obsession

Hmmm. From China Daily:
By Chen Jia (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-03-25 06:34

Four in 10 Chinese complain about the yawning gap between large investments in education and its returns, a recent nationwide survey has showed.

The Horizon Research Consultancy Group polled 3,355 residents aged 16 to 60 in both urban and rural areas, including seven metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai.

The survey found that only 16 percent of respondents believed their investments on education gave good returns.

Those with higher education voiced greater disappointment at the quality of education received, the survey showed.

"Even with a master's degree, I failed to find a decent position in big companies," Mao Xin, a 26-year-old Beijing resident, told China Daily yesterday.

"My textbook knowledge gave no advantage whatsoever in the competition."

Mao had to lower his expectations and work for a small private company, with wages similar to what undergraduates got.

"I disappointed my parents, who gave me at least 30,000 yuan ($4,250) to attend a postgraduate management course in a key university for three years," Mao said.

People in the rural areas generally gave more positive feedback on the quality of education than those from the cities, the survey found.

"Our education has been focusing on an examination-oriented system," Huo Qingwen, the deputy director of language education testing service center under the Beijing Foreign Studies University, told China Daily yesterday.

"The survey result doesn't surprise me, as I had heard complaints not only from the students, but also from the teachers who have been asked to focus more about the exam-passing rate," Huo said.

The Ministry of Education has called on schools and universities to gradually phase out an exam-dominated education system, amid concerns that students pursue higher academic results rather than practical experience and competence.

"The job market is still hungry for talented staff, but many graduates are not competent because the posts require more practical experience and creative ability of workers," Huo added. . . . .

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