It is no secret that China consistently dominates standardized tests on the international platform. Their education system, although stressful, adapts students to roles needed in the economy.
China’s Educational history
While far from perfect, their education system has successfully served the needs of the time and adapted to changes. In the 1990s and 2000s, China’s economy needed a population to “drive manufacturing exports, build domestic infrastructure, and provide a foundational set of capabilities”. This means that they lack engineers, managers and finance officers. Research and innovation at the time were not top priorities. In order to fulfill the needs, they educated their incoming workforce appropriately.
The pressure for students
There is no denying the fact that China’s system of higher education is a pressure cooker. It relies solely on a student’s results from one national exam, the gaokao, to make entrance decisions. However, although stressful, this system motivated students to gather the skills necessary to enter an increasingly competitive job market. In the process, they garnered extremely high test scores in the process; test scores that have brought China straight to the forefront of the educational scene.
The future for Chinese students
As the Chinese economy moves towards “consumer led, growth centered, higher value-added services,” an update is being made in the current education system. They have already begun to shift the emphasis towards vocational education, while also increasing partnerships with foreign universities to encourage multi-disciplinary degrees. Additionally, at certain universities, the gaokao is no longer the only factor taken into account for university admission. While their education system may possess numerous flaws, we cannot deny the success it has brought China throughout the past years.
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This post was written by Melissa Yu