Worlds apart

Rigorous Chinese education system

Rigorous Chinese education system

Recently the BBC has shown a couple of interesting series about China, one portraying and comparing the British and Chinese education systems and the other, titled ‘Secrets of China’, talked about issues like gaming culture and boot camps for unruly teenagers.

I found both shows interesting but also frustrating and even annoying. The first one focused on a very small group of British teenagers subjected to strict Chinese education. Naturally, it wasn’t easy for them to adjust to new rules and expectations. When you are brought up in a certain way, a certain culture, it is hard to simply switch of your individual thinking, your opinions and diligently follow instructions. The Chinese teachers were trying their best and, at times, I did feel sorry for them, but what did they expect? That the British pupils would  roll over and accept them right away? Surely that wouldn’t be the case if a group of Chinese students was transferred to a state school in England.

The second show should have been called ‘Billie’s emotional journey through China’ as that seemed to be the main part of the show, rather than the issues the show was supposed to be discussing, such as the pressure Chinese students face and what happens to those, who don’t conform. I found the presenter infantile, inappropriate and a really bad example of a young British adult. I have only watched one episode of that show so far and am not sure if I want to watch the others, simply because of the ignorant and ever scruffy-looking presenter, who can be very irritating. Shame as that kind of show could have great potential for cross-cultural discussion…

Here is a pretty shocking CNN news video, showing the extreme measures students in China take in order to succeed in exams.

Have you watched these shows? What’s your opinion?

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