The education system of a nation is very important since it influences the development of society. The Chinese government acknowledges the importance of the education provided to its population. An efficient education system leads to positive impacts on the economy and raises the standards of living of the citizens. The education system of a country is forced to continuously make changes in order to meet the challenges of the time. Efforts have therefore been underway to come up with the most effective system that will produce the best results. The Chinese educational system has some significant differences in structure compared to that of most western countries. These differences are because of the historical, political, and cultural realities of China. The current Chinese system faces challenges because of globalization and the information technology explosion. Many scholars agree that the Chinese education system is not at its best and there is still room for improving it. Even though the Chinese education system might not be really good, I believe the future of Chinese education is shaping up for the better in several ways.
New Things that People should Learn
The education system should consider the future needs of society. If it does not do this, it will be ineffective or even useless to the students since it will not empower them to deal with the challenges that they are going to face in the world. The education system should therefore include the latest innovations in society. Over the past few decades, there has been a growing emphasis on the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in many aspects of society. Cheng (2000) observes that the traditional teaching paradigms in China might not be sufficient to meet the challenges and needs in the new century. The school system is therefore required to apply and integrate ICT in education in order to equip students with the tools necessary to make a positive contribution to society. Teachers can also use ICT to support their teaching efforts. Cheng (2000) reveals that in the increasingly knowledge-driven economy that we are in, teachers need to be effectively-prepared to respond to education reforms that are aimed at achieving future effectiveness. The Internet can be used as a resource tool and collaborative tools can be used to enhance research among students.
The educational field encounters many changes over the years and teachers should be equipped to handle them. Traditionally, teacher education occurs at teacher training institutes and also that e university level. Here, teachers obtain their certifications and degrees and they are eligible to teach at various levels. For most of the teachers, this is the end of their learning experience. Cheng (2000) declares that teacher education and development should not end but rather, it should be a continuous life-long process. The government and other relevant stakeholders should invest in good teacher training. Teachers should also take personal initiative to advance their education so that they remain relevant in the educational sector.
A lot of effort needs to be made to improve teacher performance and subsequently the quality of education offered in schools. There is a growing worldwide emphasis on quality assurance in education. While traditionally the Chinese system could afford to ignore such emphasis, it cannot do that today since its students have to compete on a global platform. Providing quality assurance will enhance the international competitiveness of students. In addition to this, providing quality education will make the Chinese educational system marketable to the international community.
The Chinese system should also invest more in research and knowledge base. At the present, western countries lead in research and knowledge base due to an education system that encourages research. Cheng (2000) declares that china can develop its domestic knowledge base by reforming its education system. This approach will result in the achievement of a high-quality education system that will benefit the country for many years to come.
The Old Values that Schools Should Keep
There are a number of old traditions in the Chinese school system that should be maintained the in future. Chinese schools place emphasis on virtues such as dignity, trust, respect, and loyalty because of the Chinese culture. Maintaining these values will be of benefit to the students and teachers. Holt (1969) argues that school encourages students to adopt many vices that are harmful to society. For example, a student learns how to devise ploys for making other people think that he/she is busy doing something constructive while he is actually not doing anything useful. Such vices are encouraged by the school since the student needs to come up with a coping mechanism for boring class activities. The Chinese system does not encourage this negative behavior and students are therefore likely to make a positive contribution to society.
Another good practice in the Chinese system is that the teacher engages the students in the learning process. The teacher does not act as the primary information dispenser but instead acts as a knowledgeable guide who also relies on the students to provide information. The students are therefore not passive recipients but instead, they play an active part in the classroom activities. By relying on students to generate ideas, the teacher is able to accurately gauge the correctness of the student’s idea. If the student’s idea is wrong, the teacher will be able to guide him/her to the correct solution.
In research work, Chinese education insists on the use of publications and books. The students are encouraged to rely on credible sources in their research work and also make use of practical real-world examples. This is unlike many western school systems that overuse technology and especially the internet in doing school work. Rothenberg (1997) states that overreliance on the internet destroys the quality of research papers provided by students who end up using out-of-date material and incredible sources from internet sources. Chinese students are forced to engage in some manual research which makes them learn something while engaging in their research work. Chinese students are not at the risk of having their attention spans wane or their reasoning abilities decline as Rothenberg (1997) fears.
The Chinese culture is collectivistic in nature which means that people belong in groups. People are trained to consider the interests of other people and emphasis is placed on cooperation. This is a positive thing since students are expected to work in cooperation in the real world. Holt (1969) complains that in individualistic cultures, students are taught to work in isolation and they find it hard to adapt to the collaborative work environment once they complete their education and join the workforce. Cooperation and collaboration are therefore values that should be maintained in the Chinese education system.
Why People Should Learn About Diverse Cultures
The globalization phenomenon which is characterized by a major integration of economies and cultures is becoming prevalent as a result of high technology and better transformation links between countries. Students and teachers are today more likely to interact with people of different cultures than they were in the past. The educational system is therefore expected to expand its roles in order to prepare students to relate with people at a local and international level (Cheng 2000). Learning is not confined to the school environment and it can happen everywhere. Students are able to increase their learning opportunities using internet resources that connect them to others at a local and global level.
Learning about other cultures will also enhance the cultural competence of Chinese students. Cultural competence involves recognizing the various differences between cultures and acting in a way that is culturally appropriate. In the globalized workplace, cultural competence is a necessity since one is likely to deal with people of differing cultural backgrounds. Students who have been exposed to other cultures will be more tolerant of the differences that exist between cultures. They will be able to relate well with other people and therefore increase their mutual productivity.
Chinese teachers can also learn from other cultures the most effective form of teaching. For example, the Japanese have a culture of making use of carefully crafted examples to enhance the understanding of the students. They focus on using real-work scenario in their teaching experience. This makes the lessons provided very applicable to the student and increases the likelihood that students will remember what they are taught and use it to enhance their lives. This is very important since connecting school work to the real world helps students to stay focused. When students do not see the relevance of the education they are receiving, they might end up dropping out of school or even turning to drugs in order to escape the cold and boring school environment (Holt, 1969).
The Chinese government has recognized the importance of exposing its student’s to methods and ideas of different countries. Specifically, the government has place focus on methods and ideas that can lead to the economic growth and development of the country. The research oriented culture of many western nations can be duplicated in order to expand the knowledge base of China’s education system.
This paper set out to discuss how the future of Chinese education can be shaped for the better. It began by noting that there are a number of important new concepts that the Chinese system should adopt. The system should make use of new technology in order to prepare students for their future roles. The paper has revealed that the role of the teacher and teaching is changing and reforms therefore need to take place for the Chinese educational system to best equip its population. Teachers need to be empowered and prepared to perform their work effectively in the dynamic educational field. It has also been noted that there are many positive traditions such as respect, cooperation, and diligence that should be preserved. The paper has concluded by discussing the benefits that the Chinese education system can get from learning about diverse cultures.
Cheng, Y. (2000). New education and new teacher education: a paradigm shift for the future. In Y.C. Cheng, K.W. Chow & K.T. Tsui (Ed.), New Teacher Education for the Future (pp.33-67), Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Institute of Education and Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Holt, J. (1969). School is bad for children. In P.S. Gardner (Ed.), New directions: Reading, writing, and critical thinking (pp. 59-63). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Rothenberg, D. (1997). How the web destroys the quality of students’ research papers. In P.S. Gardner (Ed.), New directions: Reading, writing, and critical thinking (pp. 68-72). New York: Cambridge University Press.