Current Events: Education in China Nina Mussa: Wiegand B

Chinese Tea Jars with Traditional Writing Taught in Schools

Education in China goes back to early the birth of Chinese civilization, however was groomed and expanded upon the fundamental pillars of Confucian beliefs. Confucianism is one of the largest influences in education of China; it focused on building character through education and self-cultivation

Over the past decade, there has been a steady rise in the amount of Chinese students coming from mainland China and enrolling into American high schools and universities. In 2015, a study proved that the American economy made a profit of $11.4 billion and the Department of Commerce turned education into one of America's top "exports" to China. China is known for producing some of the world's best test takers, so the fact that they are sending their children to a geopolitical rival is stunning. Current articles point out how in the Chinese education, memorization is a key factor and an essential component to becoming good tester. In this new era, the Chinese government fears that the appeal of the Western pop culture is tearing young scholars away from traditional culture and beliefs.

The reason behind these moves could be one of two, one, Chinese no longer believe in the efficiency of the Chinese education system, so if given the opportunity are willing to send their children to America. Or, because of all the values instilled in the children and the civil service exams- a highly competitive test, they feel as though it's not worth putting their child through all that trouble when they could just send their child to a top American school. The civil service exam, however, was something based entirely upon the Confucian classics and was made to support the study of those classics.

An example of these moves is Yang Jinkai, a Chinese 16-year-old, who China, for the first time, the only place he's ever known, for a better education in America. He's leaving his family behind, changing his name and moving into uncharted territory, taking a huge risk solely for the chance of a better future.

In China, two exams determine a scholar's future: the high-school entrance exam, the zhongkao, and the university-entrance exam, the gaokao. It was as though he was trapped with no way out and the competitive atmosphere is not one Korbin's (he had to change his name) father wanted for his son. The pitch to go to a High School in America was an enticing idea because he wouldn't have to take the highly competitive and pressuring entrance exams but would still have a chance tab getting into a good college.

Korbin's father was willing to pay $40,000 to an education consultancy to enroll him in a public high school in Michigan. The reason behind doing so was that his father wanted to give him chance to escape the competitiveness of China and give him the opportunity to shine in a top American university. The quote '“My father,” Korbin said, “really likes the idea of an Oxford diploma.”' is an example of the power behind the names of American schools and the influence they have on making large decisions. This traditional Chinese family decided to send their child to not necessarily a school with Confucian ideals, but somewhere that they knew would provide him with a good future.

In 2013, the Hanban, a state run agency of Confucian Institutes awarded Oxford community schools with “Confucius Classroom of the Year.” This is pointing out how Oxford Community Schools are cultured and teach their students values that are approved of by traditional Confucian Institutes who still believe in these fundamental Confucian values. This state run agency clearly felt as though Confucian ideals were being presented in this school and that scholars were being taught classic character building subjects, and were influenced by extracurricular activities, such as sports and/or arts.

The man quoted here is a professor at a university in China,“Growing up we were taught to obey,” Gao said. “It’s written all over the political discourse and goes down to the very cultural fabric of society: We value conformity and harmony. But at the same time, economic development is arousing this neoliberal ideal: You must be independent and autonomous—you’re on your own now.” This shows how staying in China they groom their scholars ever since a young age how to contribute to their community to create an idea of social harmony- a completely confucian ideal. “Growing up we were taught to obey” refers to legalism which was instilled in the people to help them cooperate but this section still maintains Confucian values to a certain extent because this displays one of the five great relationships: ruler/subject. Finally, “you must be independent and autonomous” refers to confucian ideals about self-cultivation.

Communist Chinese President Xi Jinping

Currently, in China, for those who are not fleeing to America for a better education; a guideline issued by the Chinese State Council in late January, stated that private education institutes should reinforce the Communist Party of China. The government believes these establishments should cover socialist core values throughout their curriculum. They believe culture, guiding theories, and the ways of the political system should be taught and reinforced in the schools. Legalism is displayed here, as Communist China President Jinping ordered China's universities to "adhere to the correct political orientation", meaning they must enforce and support communist rule. The president stressed that the Communist regime must be instilled in schools and that students and teachers should be groomed into being strong believers of this system .

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