A Comparison of the U.S. andChina’s Education System
Education is a significantexperience in human’s life journey. As an international student, Iexperienced two entirely different training methods during my highschool years. Comparing study in China and the United States, thereis no absolute reason to state that one is better than the other.However, combining skills and experience from the two educationsystems (U.S and China) can help people get a better education. Theeducation system in the two countries has weaknesses and strengths,but the U.S. education system has more advantages (such as the rightto select classes, provision of free time to students, use ofmultiple alternatives to assess students for college enrollment, anddelivery of practical skills to students) than the Chinese system.
Although the U.S. and China’sacademic systems have similar classes, American schools condense timein order to give students more free time. The average class periodsthat students have for high school of China and the United States are7.5 classes. Chinese students get out of school at 5:30, whileAmerican high school students usually get out from school at 2:30.Chinese students get out from school later because break time inbetween classes is 10 minutes and a break of two hours that allowstudents to have a better lunch and nap. Students are more preparedfor class in the afternoon. Break time for American students isshort. U.S. students have a five-minute break in between classes andhalf an hour lunch break. The short breaks allow students to get outfrom school earlier (Greenspan 1). The fact is, when students get outfrom school early, they can enjoy free time to practice sports andfun clubs they would love to attend. The school schedule of Americanhigh school gives more freedom to students. That is the reasonAmerican students can be more creative than Chinese students.
All Chinese high school studentsseat the college entrance exam. The exam is offered once a year,which means that students have a single chance to be tested forcollege qualification per year. A student who fails the first timecannot have the second chance to look for college entrance during thesame academic year. This means that students who fail their examshave to re-study 12th grade to get another opportunity to seat forthe college entrance exam (Greenspan 1). This exam is the only way toshow one’s ability to get into college. Students also have norights to pick what kind of class they would like to attend in. Allstudents take the same classes where each of them get the sameknowledge and built the same way. They lose the ability to thinkimaginatively and creatively.
The high schools in the UnitedStates give students different ways to prove their study ability toget into college. The students get the chance to pick whicheverclasses they would love to take. All students are given opportunitiesto build their abilities in different ways. The knowledge thatstudents learn is not always related to what students are going totake on the SAT exam. So SAT exam results are not the only ways thatcolleges use to select the students to attend their school(McClenathan 2). Currently, many U.S. schools teach students how topass exams. The Collage Board sets up this exam nine times per year,which give students may chances to improve their grades. The SAT examis not the only criteria to test students’ capabilities. APclasses, community services, and GPA (international students can takeTOEFL as an optional exam) are alternatives to show their ability toattend their dream colleges.
Chinese high schools givestudents enough time to practice for the college-entrance exam.However, over-reliance on exams as the only way for colleges toselect students limits the effectiveness of the education systemsince students learn to pass exams. Although the knowledge that theU.S. students learn from school is not related to the SAT exam, theuse of multiple methods to select students who will join collegesgives students more chances to enroll.
The education in China focuses ontheory, but less work on experience. American education givesstudents ideas of the theory and focuses on actual practice. Forexample, the U.S. schools revamped the curriculum in 2012 in order toensure that students are taught employable skills (Greenspan 1). Onaccount of the population in China, which is about four times ofpopulation in the United States, national conditions decide educationconditions. For example, the Chinese schools set difficult exams,also known as Gaokao, and give these exams once a year since to limitthe number of students joining colleges (McClenathan 2). This isbecause the number of college vacancies available is not enough toaccommodate a large number of students. The American emphasis onpractical skills is better than China’s. Enhancing the practicalability is the main purpose of education. Theory and practice areboth important for students. Failure to focus on practical skillsreduces the effectiveness of the Chinese education system.
In China, getting into college isthe hardest part of students’ academic journey, but most studentsdo not learn anything from Chinese colleges. In the opposite way,getting into American college is easier than in China, but the studyin the college is the hardest part of the students’ educationaljourney (Daniel 26). Students not only need to handle different typesof classes to earn the expected GPA, but also need to plan on how tomanage their study time and social time to enjoy the collegeactivities. Universities from both countries, especially in China,should balance the knowledge that students need to learn from highschool and college. In this way, students can have less pressure fromthe study and have more time to have fun. Exam-oriented educationshould not be the goal for students to follow. The knowledge thatstudents gain should help them solve problems in their lives and makethem think logically during the work.
Although the education system inboth countries (the U.S. and China) has strengths and weaknesses, theU.S. education sector is much better compared to the Chinese system.Some of the advantages of the U.S. education system over the Chinesesystem include the freedom to pick classes, free time for students,availability of multiple criteria to test students for collegeenrolment, and delivery of practical skills. Students who have anopportunity to combining both strengths from both countries emergewith better skills and ready to exploit their talents in the realworld. For example, focusing on both practice and theory can givestudents more an opportunity to become more creative people. This isbecause a combination of theory and practice give students theknowledge they need to apply in their future places of work.Education is the starting point for human life. The stakeholders inthe education sector need to pay attention to improving the educationsystem in order to give students a better future and benefit thehuman society.
Daniel, W. Thepolitics of private education in rich and poor China.Oakland: The University of California, 2005. Web.
Greenspan, A. China vs. America?Learning strategies in the 21stcentury. The Globalist.25 August. 2008. Web. 20 April 2015.
McClenathan, M. Think the SAT istough? It’s nothing compared to China’s dreaded college entranceexam. Forbes.5 July 2012. Web. 20 April 2015.