<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <HTML><HEAD> <META content="text/html; charset=unicode" http-equiv=Content-Type> <META name=GENERATOR content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19019"></HEAD> <BODY> <DIV style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 10px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 20px" id=Title_e> <H1 style="COLOR: rgb(0,0,0)">Debate: Education system</H1> <H6>(China Daily)<BR>Updated: 2011-04-18 08:04</H6></DIV> <TABLE style="MARGIN-LEFT: 20px; FONT-SIZE: 11px; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px dashed; PADDING-TOP: 5px" border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=600> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=220 align=right><LINK rel=stylesheet type=text/css href="cts2009style_e.css"> <DIV style="WIDTH: 468px; HEIGHT: auto"><IMG align=absMiddle src="ctsarticle_comments.jpg" width=26 height=26> <A class=black href="javascript:docmtend()"><STRONG>Comments</STRONG>(<SPAN style="FLOAT: none; COLOR: rgb(153,0,0)" id=show_count1>3</SPAN>)</A> <IMG align=absMiddle src="ctsarticle_print.jpg" width=26 height=26><A class=black href="javascript:Print()" target=_top><STRONG>Print</STRONG></A><IMG align=absMiddle src="ctsarticle_mail.jpg" width=26 height=26><A class=black onclick="javascript:window.open ('http://app3.chinadaily.com.cn/webdev/PageRcmdToMail.shtml?url='+document.location+'&amp;title='+document.title, 'newwindow', 'height=380, width=480');" href="http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011-04/18/content_12341669.htm#"><STRONG>Mail</STRONG></A></DIV></TD> <TD><IMG src="ctsA.jpg"></TD> <TD class=black width=248><A href="javascript:doZoom(16)">Large</A> <A href="javascript:doZoom(14)">Medium</A> <A href="javascript:doZoom(12)">Small</A> </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <DIV> <DIV style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; PADDING-TOP: 10px" id=Content><!--enpproperty <date>2011-04-18 08:04:44.0</date><author></author><title>Debate: Education system</title><keyword>education, moral values, success, society, &nbsp;</keyword><subtitle></subtitle><introtitle></introtitle><siteid>1</siteid><nodeid>1011501</nodeid><nodename>Op-Ed Contributors</nodename><nodesearchname>2@webnews</nodesearchname>/enpproperty--><!--enpcontent--> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Is the present education system devoid of moral values? An academic believes that it lacks such values, but a journalist differs.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><STRONG>Zhou Yun</STRONG></P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><STRONG>Education has lost its true worth</STRONG></P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>A Shanghai student, who returned from Japan on April 1, stabbed his mother repeatedly with a fruit knife within minutes of landing at Pudong International Airport following an argument, raising grave social concerns.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Though police have detained the man and are investigating the incident, especially trying to appraise his mental state, his 52-year-old mother is desperate to protect her son.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left></P> <DIV> <TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" border=1 align=left> <TBODY></TBODY></TABLE></DIV> <DIV> <TABLE style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1 width=264 bgColor=#f3f3f3 align=left> <TBODY> <TR> <TD> <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1 width=251 bgColor=#c1cddb align=left> <TBODY> <TR> <TD width=249> <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=251 bgColor=#fffde8> <TBODY> <TR> <TD colSpan=3> <P><FONT color=#cb0000 size=2 face=Arial><B>Related readings:<BR></B></FONT><FONT color=#006699><FONT size=2 face=Arial><IMG id=3713512 alt="Debate: Education system" src="cts0023ae9896560f15dd3216.gif" md5="">&nbsp;<A style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" href="http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011-03/30/content_12247657.htm"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" size=1>A different view on education</FONT></A><BR></FONT></FONT><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" color=#006699><FONT color=#006699><FONT face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" size=1><IMG id=3713513 alt="Debate: Education system" src="cts0023ae9896560f15dd3217.gif" md5="">&nbsp;</FONT><A style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" href="http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011-03/16/content_12177992.htm"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" size=1>Improving education a priority</FONT></A><BR><FONT color=#006699><FONT color=#006699><FONT face=Arial><FONT color=#006699><FONT face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" size=1><IMG id=3713514 alt="Debate: Education system" src="cts0023ae9896560f15dd3218.gif" md5="">&nbsp;</FONT><A style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" href="http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011-03/03/content_12111731.htm"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" size=1>Is higher education worth it?</FONT></A><BR></FONT></FONT><FONT color=#006699><FONT color=#006699><FONT face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" size=1><IMG id=3713515 alt="Debate: Education system" src="cts0023ae9896560f15dd3219.gif" md5="">&nbsp;</FONT><A style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" href="http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011-03/02/content_12100892.htm"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt" size=1>A good education system</FONT></A></FONT></FONT></FONT></FONT></FONT></FONT></FONT></FONT></FONT></P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV> <P align=left>The woman's desperation to save her son from harm, even though she slipped in a coma after the attack, reflects the love and self-sacrifice of most mothers for their children. For years, sons and daughters have been the apples of their parents' eyes. Many Chinese parents, despite their relative poverty, sacrifice everything they have to educate their children and give them a better life. But what most of the children earn is just college diplomas, not proper, rational and mature values. </P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>A person's character is formed on family values. In the past, Chinese people used to pay great attention to family values. In fact, people followed many scholarly works on family and morality as guidelines for centuries.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Unfortunately, moral education and family values have become pass today. Cultivation of moral character is not considered part of modern education, which focuses more on making money and achieving success.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Society today tends to weigh success in terms of money, power and social status rather than factors such as social contribution and faithfulness to one's family and cause.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>But parents are still committed to helping their children in every possible way and every field of life. And in these times of single-child families parents tend to pamper and over-protect them - turning them into self-centered individuals. The stabbing incident at Shanghai's Pudong airport is one example of such self-centricity.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>An equally shocking but fatal stabbing incident was reported from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Oct 20 last year. Yao Jiaxin, a 21-year-old student knocked down cyclist Zhang Miao with his car while rushing to meet his girlfriend. When Yao saw Zhang, a young mother, staring at his number plate, he pulled out a knife and stabbed her to death. The callous reason Yao gave for killing Zhang is that he thought he had "knocked down a farmer who would keep badgering him endlessly for compensation".</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Yao's parents, it seems, did not inculcate in him even the basic human values. Had his parents taken the trouble of doing that, Zhang's child would not have been motherless today. Of what use is education if it does not value life?</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>More shocking news came from Dong Fan, a professor at Beijing Normal University, who said higher education degrees must be matched with high incomes, and that he would not meet his students who could not earn 40 million yuan ($6.12 million) before reaching the age of 40. If even teachers consider money to be the all and end all of life, how can students learn and follow family and social values?</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>School education should act as insurance for children's moral cultivation even if parents educate their wards in matters of humanity and morality. But the pressures of parents to see their children secure high scores and school authorities' eagerness to see more of their students get high and fancy degrees have pushed moral values and social responsibility into the archives of modern society.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Schools and colleges can no longer be considered places where individuals' characters can be built in the true sense of the term. With schools and colleges focusing on economic development and teachers preferring to take private classes to make an extra buck how can students be immune to the worship of money?</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>If we take our society to be a big college, we will see that moral values are vanishing from our midst at a fast pace, with young children being the most misled with distorted and vulgar ideas. The worship of money is evident everywhere, from TV programs to Internet postings, from glitzy shopping malls and supermarkets to swanky cars and designer clothes.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Hence, there is an urgent need for educators, education authorities, schools, colleges, teachers, parents and students - in other words the entire society - to rethink their priorities and accord education its rightful place in our lives.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>The author is a professor at the School of Politics and Public Management, South China University of Technology.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>&nbsp;</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>--------------------------------------</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><SPAN style="WIDTH: 630px"></P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><STRONG>Ku Ma</STRONG></P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><STRONG>Don't blame system for all the ills</STRONG></P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>The cry over the exam-oriented Chinese education system being a total failure has gained new strength after a Shanghai student stabbed his mother minutes of returning from Japan. Many say Wang Jiajing stabbed his mother after an argument over tuition fees.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>The Chinese media is full of commentaries and opinion articles criticizing the loss of values among today's students, which they blame on the education system.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>But is the Chinese education system really a failure?</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>According to education authorities, about 1.27 million Chinese students were studying abroad at the end of last year. The case of the Japan-returned Wang is just one in 1.27 million. His case has attracted nationwide attention because it is rare. One should not judge the education system on the basis of just one incident.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>There is no doubt that the education system, at the school as well as the family level, has a lot of room for improvement.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>It is true that many parents, and schools overemphasize the importance of rote learning over creative thinking, competition over cooperation, money and social status over honesty and social service.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>But critics are arbitrary to conclude that there is little place for values in today's education system. True, schools don't hold enough classes to teach values (or moral science). But children learn about Chinese philosophy, which actually means values, from the kindergarten text of Sanzijing (Three Character Classic) to the stories in textbooks of primary, middle and high schools.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>It is surprising that some people blame the education system for all the social problems, including the Shanghai stabbing case. Why can't they see the good examples? In Hebei province, for instance, 26 classmates of Li Baoyuan, a student at Agricultural University of Hebei, have been supporting his parents after he died of a heart ailment in 1996. Such stories don't catch the media's attention because they talk about love, filial piety, friendship and commitment, not violence and conflicts. Instead of railing at the education system, people should focus on how to educate their children.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Wang's mother reportedly spent as much as she could from her 7,000-yuan monthly salary on Wang's education. Even after being stabbed, she defended her "disturbed" son. Police have said they will not hand over Wang to prosecutors until they get the results of the tests to determine his mental state. Hence, we should not jump at conclusions before the results are known.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>But some people blame the mother for pampering and protecting Wang, and thus turning him into a self-centered wreck. Such people should reflect on the actions of the mother of Mencius (c. 372 -289 BC), who can be said to be a typical example of a "Chinese mother". She changed homes three times so that her son could get the best environment for education. She was strict with moral education, asking Mencius never to tell a lie. Once when Mencius complained to her about seeing his wife sitting "improperly" at home, she criticized him, saying that it was improper for him to have entered the room without knocking on the door.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Even Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, who sparked a heated debate on strict "Chinese education", forbids her daughters from staying out at night outside home or showing off their piano skills.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>We know that hedonism and worship of money were common traits during the Western Jin Dynasty (AD 265-316), and rich men like Shi Chong and Wang Kai loved showing off. Wang used expensive liquid candy to wash his pots. Hearing this Shi burnt more expensive candles to cook. After Wang burnished his house with expensive aromatic material, Shi bought the most expensive marbles to decorate his mansion. And when Wang showed Shi a huge red coral, he broke it and spread out dozens of bigger corals to prove his superiority.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>But in the same era we also have the example of Wang Xiang (AD 185-269), one of the legendary "24 Filial Exemplars", who caught fish for his stepmother in winter after thawing the ice covering a lake by lying down on it. Even after becoming a minister, Wang told state officials that they should not make his funeral an extravagant affair.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>This shows that the same system of education can produce diametrically opposite results.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>But some scholars still insist that the present education system is to be blamed for the extreme cases and for parents' obsession with their children's "success", which we know is not true.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>The author is an editor with the Op-Ed department of China Daily.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>&nbsp;</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>------------------------------------</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Comments</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>&nbsp;</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"></TD><TD width="96%">educationalist 2011-04-18 19:55</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>One of the most important things in bringing up a young child is the development of a strong parent-child relationship - of doing things together, of talking with each other, of having fun and so on. Too often in China a child is sent at a ridiculous young age to weekend maths and academic classes rather than discovering childhood. Parents think that spending money on the child is what they should do, but one result we see today are the terribly overweight children who will surely suffer serious future health problems. We also sadly see children listening to their music sitting on the bus seats reserved for senior citizens while the pregnant and elderly sadly stand - at least until an older citizen gets up happily offering a seat. Yes, moral, society based education is needed but it has to compete with the greed the students see now everywhere everyday </P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>------------------------------------</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">Teacher M 2011-04-18 17:31</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>Two excellent articles that in some aspects share common ground. The important question has been asked:<BR><BR>"But is the Chinese education system really a failure?"<BR><BR>The answer is really simple. It all depends on what expectations we hold. The pursuit of money and wealth is not unique to China, and yet on the "happiness index" people who were "unhappy" hugely outnumbered those who were not. So if happiness is solely related to financial wealth, then those who claim to be unhappy may be those who feel they don't have enough money, and the gap between rich and poor (incidentally, a feature of most developed countries) is too big.<BR><BR>Morality is a strange concept anyway. In some societies that 'morality' can be found and practised in religious belief. In other societies, religion is seen as the primary cause of conflict. Morality is also represented in legal statutes that govern acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.<BR><BR>Yet,it is not just in China that education is used as a convenient scapegoat for the ills of society. Sure, many parents are over anxious about the success of their offspring. My own mother was keen for me to learn to play the piano at an early age. Had she been stricter with me I would probably be a better player today. However, she was a gentle woman who did not resort to bribes, presents or a strict regime. Looking back would I have appreciated her strict approach, or would I have rebelled?<BR><BR>A simple test would be to ask students to describe what is meant by "fun." You would be surprised by some of the answers that often relate to time and how much study/homework they have to "endure." But come Spring Festival when most returned home they tell me about meeting up with classmates and their former teachers for dinner and updates on their life and education.<BR><BR>Young people are exposed to many influences - some are positive, some are negative. They will develop their own "character" with or without a teacher's instruction. Parents are naive if they think they can just hand leave their child at the school gates and a sense of morality will be taught. And how to teach it? "Good morning, today we will discuss morality" - would not be a good start.<BR><BR>Many countries have what they call personal,social and health education classes that consider some of the issues raised here. These classes also cover sex education in the context of relationships and society rather than just a focus on biology.<BR><BR>So, is education in China failing? Well, we will always have the arguments against an exam oriented system, rote learning and the like, but then in the UK, people were railing about progressive methods that produced some children who had significant problems with literacy and numeracy when they left school - although their 'moral compass' may have been fine.<BR><BR>To teach moral values begs the question: "Whose values do we teach?" The values of Confucius; socialism; "an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth";free enterprise and trade?<BR><BR>I believe that evolution rather than revolution in China is the key. Education is paramount, but it should not be seen as the sole provider of whatever we choose to define as "morality." We tend to forget, as the journalist stated, that the "system" AND parenting produces some outstanding individuals. And we hear very little about the students who give up a part of their summer holiday to work as volunteers in rural areas or in other social projects. Balance in all things, as nostalgia is not what it used to be. </P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>--------------------<BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">g a 2011-04-18 17:13</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>Some mothers are just plain stupid thinking sending a child at a young age to study in a foreign country is a sign of love and for his own good! The stupidity of this group of people is unbelievable. Ask any psychologist and they will tell you that until the age of 18, most children and young people still needs parental care, love, protection, and advice. Only stupid people can't understand that. They just turn their children out from the house into the rain and ask them to take care of themselves! </TD></TR></P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left></SPAN></P></DIV></DIV></BODY></HTML>