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Education Systems Around the World Essay

The United States excels in the creative aspect of schooling whereas Chinese students are much better at receiving direct instruction. Japanese students have very high test scores and a very high university attendance, but in Australia more students go into vocational schools or the workforce after high school. (Noel 99,102,103)The differences of education systems in the United States, China, Japan and Australia have created testable strengths and weaknesses. No country has found a perfect balance but each system has evolved to create workers suited to its respective nation.

The United States is predominantly influenced by creativity but not as strongly in math and science. Expansions upon creative thought have brought in new products introduced to the market. (Noel, 36) In U. S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, Obama emphasizes the importance of specialized creative schools and additional funding of the arts in K-12 public schools, which was spelled out in his the “Reinvestment of Arts Education” Plan. Obama states, “The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do –– what America does better than anyone else –– is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. But if we want to win the future then we also have to win the race to educate our kids… And so the question is whether all of us –– as citizens, and as parents –– are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed. ” (Noel, 65)

The U.S. President sees the specialization, the pronounced freedom of creativity that America has been able to maintain for many years and how they have benefitted from it. The promotion of this frame of mind will allow ideas to surge and new technologies continue to be made. Although America is pleased with all this innovation, the United States consistently test low in both math and science compared to other nations. Notable author, Douglas Noel reports that the average scores of American students in international comparisons have “…often been below the average of developed countries.

It the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment 2003, 15 year olds ranked 24th of 38 in mathematics, 19th of 38 in science, 12th of 38 in reading, and 26th of 38 in problem solving. ” (Noel 80, 81, 82) With the majority of American students so far behind it is cause for concern as to whether the U. S. will continue to falter and what impact it will have on the future. Part of the problem with high schools is that with such a large country it is going to be that much more difficult to maintain a moderate academic curriculum.

This problem was attempted to be solved with the “No Child Left Behind” Act but it is still inconclusive whether it is effective or not. (Noel, pp. 70) Dr. Schmidt, who oversees the research effort into the TIMSS results, says the actual cause for the failures appears to be weak math and science curricula in U. S. middle schools. He explains, “The public schools lack focus; instead of concentrating on education, they dabble in social re-engineering”. Not only are public schools the general blame but so are the curricula, the teacher and even the textbooks.

But there is some good news; despite the “bad grades” in comparison to the world the United States makes up for their low-testing high schools with 19 of the top 25 universities in the world. People from around the world come to American Universities to become some of the most influential thinkers in the world. The immigration of intelligent people in the form of students from various other countries is, said by Bill Gates, to be “…our most powerful import.

” (Noel 4, 5, 10, 77, 80) Although the United States lacks in math and science it is gung-ho in innovative fields, we see the complete opposite pros and cons experienced in China. The education foundation in China has been reformed since the rise of Deng Xiaoping (1978-89) and made significant progress; however, the large population of China produces great promise as well as great concern. (Chinese Education & Society) Since the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), the education system in China has been geared toward economic modernization.

The Great Leap Forward (1958–60) and the Socialist Education Movement (1962–65) sought to end deeply rooted academic elitism, to narrow social and cultural gaps between workers and peasants and between urban and rural populations, and to “rectify” the tendency of scholars and intellectuals to disdain manual labor. During the Cultural Revolution, universal fostering of social equality was an overriding priority. The post-Mao Zedong Chinese Communist Party leadership viewed education as the foundation of China. The reorientation of educational priorities paralleled Deng Xiaoping’s strategy for economic development.

For this reason the Central Government has prioritized basic education as a key field of infrastructure construction and educational development. (Zhang) The Chinese government’s aim for the development of China’s basic education system was to approach or attain the level of moderately-developed countries by 2010, of which has been accomplished. Chinese higher education has continued to evolve. Since the late 1980s, tremendous economic development in China has stimulated reforms in higher education that have resulted in remarkable improvements.

(Chinese Education and Society) The UNESCO world higher education report of June 2003 pointed out that the student population of China’s schools of higher learning had doubled in a very short period of time and had become the world’s largest. (Agelasto) In the beginning of the Enlightenment period, European science began to explode with new inventions and ideas. By this time, China had already invented the first compass, printing press and use of gunpowder (which were used for fireworks). (Chinese Education & Society) Today, there is not much to be said in terms of new technology in China.

Much of the new tech now comes from the United States and Japan. (Noel, 3) Nonetheless, China does have the advantage (and disadvantage) of an enormous population. Innovative ideas and technology have not been prominent in China’s recent years. (Agelasto) With a population of over one billion people, China needs to find a way to bridge the productivity gap between emerging markets and the developed world; to truly transform themselves into innovative, energetic economies. Professor Xu Jialu, director of the College of Chinese.

Language and Culture at Beijing University, told a meeting of university presidents in Hong Kong that China had achieved great success over the past 30 years. Jialu states, “Our overall economic output, which is fundamental to social advancement, is already ranked third in the world,” he said, “However, to sustain this extraordinary economic growth, China needs to nurture huge additional numbers of creative and talented people to maintain economic proficiency. ” (Xue) China’s history and economy are what have shaped their education systems.

China has transcended itself from a richly inventive, educated society to a Communist standard of economic modernization. Now that they have achieved an ideal economy, education will most likely be reformed again to the forefront; just as the tiny island to their East has done – Japan. Japan marvels its education prowess but has Japanese students stressing to meet high standards. Without including the devastating effects of the recent Earthquake-Tsunami incident that occurred in the spring of 2011, Japan has maintained extraordinarily high test results while enjoying a technologically advanced society.

Japan continuously ranks the top 5 in international test scores. (Noel, 88) The test scores remain high because their primary and secondary schooling is decidedly efficient. As of 2005, more than 2. 8 million students were enrolled in 726 universities. (Gainey) The influx of students is explained through the emphasis on the importance of University level instruction. The Japanese workforce is now better equipped to manage career-related problems that require higher thought. As with all good things, the advancements have come at a great cost.

In Japan, suicide is the leading cause of death among men aged 20-44 and women 15-34. Suicide in Japan is also somewhat romanticized as a traditional way of preserving one’s honor and avoiding shame. (Noel, 76) The National Police Agency informs that suicides in Japan topped 30,000 for the ninth consecutive year in 2006. In their suicide notes, 91 of them mentioned problems at school, an increase of 28. 2 percent from 2005 — the largest number since 1998 when the survey of this category began. (Gainey) With or without suicide notes, police attributed school-related problems to 242 suicides, nine more than in 2005.

(Gainey) For many children, school has become a stressful environment to survive in. The social pressures to succeed help many students to succeed but the pressure is too much for others. Many countries strive for educational excellence whereas countries such as Australia are of a more relaxed nature. The educational system in Australia is a radical contrast to its Asian counterparts. Rather than attending a university, vocational training has become the beacon of education for students in Australia. Schooling beyond vocational training is difficult, costly and highly ostracized.

(Horin) The training for vocational jobs requires less education than four year degree programs. They are also significantly less expensive – less than half of the cost of any of their Universities. Aussie student enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program spiked at 27% in 2010 while vocational enrollment maintains a continuous rise from 31% in 2000 to 35% in 2010. (Australia’s Guide to Education) This continuous incline of vocational training communicates the direction of progression of Australia’s youth, where the requirement of a bachelor’s degree appears to be unneeded in their society.

Unfortunately, reports of low standards of education are on par with uneducated societies. 25% of Australian students do not complete grade 12 in Australia compared to 20 percent in the other 18 comparable countries such as Canada, Ireland, Austria, and Iceland. Scholastic apathy is hurting their workforce because considering the frequency in the number of high school drop outs every year they will see the rise of a serious problem emerging. The students that leave go to find jobs only to find more and more being taken by their fellow dropout colleagues.

(Horin)Whether or not Australia is moving to make changes is unclear but once the dip shows itself evermore significant there will likely be public intervention which would be either expand the Australian job market or find a way to keep their students in the classrooms. We see that each country holds its own scholastic emphasis. The United States imports some of the best thinkers in the entire world. As China’s economy rises, its large population of workers stays busy generating revenue to invest more into education for the future. Japan has ranked the elite in scores by making education top priority.

Australia currently enjoys significantly fewer educational burdens without much consequence in getting a job. Whether it is the progression of creative thought or early-on vocational training all these countries have their own specific sets of academic values specifically designed to best suit their current endeavors. Works Cited Agelasto, Michael. Higher Education in Post-Mao China. Hong Kong University Press, 1998. ISBN 9622094503. Print. 1 October, 2011. The quality of Chinese education and its advantages and disadvantages in economic prowess and student development. 2. “Educational Systems in Australia.

” Australia’s Guide to Education. Nov. 2006. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. . Includes primary and secondary education in Australia and comparative statistics in contrast to other countries such as the United States. Also talks about vocational training programs. 3. Gainey, Peter. “The Japanese Education System: Globalisation and International Education. ” Advanced Placement Source. EBSCO, Sept. 2002. Publication. 1 Oct. 2011. An overview of Japan’s education system and the impact on its students. Specifies the difficulties of secondary education and above. Horin, Adele. “Must try harder: Australia’s inequitable education system.

” Sydney Morning Herald, The 02 Dec. 2006: 31. Newspaper Source Plus. EBSCO. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. An investigation of Australia’s education system which focuses on the lack of quality of education, including vocational school and international education/vocational training quality. 5. Noel, Douglas. Impact of Social Reform and Education on Sociological Development: a Comparison Of Education Systems Around the World. [S. l. ]: Xlibris, 2010. Print. 25 Sept. 2011. Compares education systems in every major country. Gives insight to literacy statistics, test scores and controversy.

Asserts the notion of “better” or “needs improvement” comparisons against some countries, the United States, being one of low ratings. 6. “Various Documents Related to Chinese Education. ” Chinese Education & Society 39, no. 6 (November 2006): 45-66. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost. Database. 25 Sept. 2011. The history of education in China. Over the years, China has had to reform its education system many times due to emperor dynasties, the Japanese invasion of Nanjing and the Communist Revolution. Even in the present many changes are being made. 7. Xue, Xing Hua Da. “Chinese Education & Society.

” Education Research Complete. EBSCO, Nov. 2006. Article publication. 25 Sept. 2011. Chinese education and how it statistically compares to other countries such as the United States and Japan. It also relates to Chinese student frustrations in academic curriculum. Zhang, Yu. “Private Education in China: Issues and Prospects” Perspectives, Volume 4, No. 4, Dec. 31, 2003. Print. 25, Sept. 2011. The history of China and their education system from Communist China to present day and informs readers its current position in the world economy as a reliable result of Deng Xiopeng’s reformation.


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