If, like me, you are settled in China (or you plan to do so), this may be a question that you are asking yourself too…
Should you send your child to a Chinese school at the risk of seeing him come back singing poems to the glory of the Communist Party?
In this article, I will share my opinion and my experience on all these questions!
Each email takes a few minutes to read and will teach you a method to progress quickly in Chinese
Before I tell you about the disadvantages of Chinese schools, let me first tell you about the advantages.
The culture of excellence
In China, the vast majority of teachers give their all to pull students up.
Where in France, the school level is deteriorating more and more (leveling down coughed coughed ..), in China on the contrary, the level continues to increase day by day!
Chinese children are also among the best in the world, especially in science subjects as evidenced by their result in the last PISA test of 2018 .
Having attended a course given in front of a class of 40 Chinese students, I can tell you that it is very impressive.
I, who went through a ZEP college where it was always a mess, it’s an aspect of Chinese education that I particularly appreciate.
It must be said that in China, teachers have a special status. At the same level as that of a doctor or a lawyer.
So it is not uncommon for Chinese parents to seek advice from teachers regarding their child’s education. They also take very seriously any remark that the teacher could make to them.
It’s not much, but it teaches them respect and discipline.
On the other hand, a point that I like less is the culture of denunciation.
In each class there are “little bosses” who are appointed to watch over the others and report those who break the rules.
Anyone who has ever given lessons to Chinese children (or even adults) has been able to realize their catastrophic level in geo history.
I’ve lost count of the number of times a Chinese has told me that he thinks Europe is a country or that Paris is a city in the United States.
Nor will I go into the ridiculousness of history textbooks.
Many world events are revisited there, especially those from 1921 to the present day (complete botching of the Second World War, omission of certain important conflicts such as Taiwan, Sino-Vietnamese war, etc.).
To be fair, it’s the same thing in the history textbooks in France with the period of colonization which is completely distorted (as well as that of slavery) or even the war in Algeria.
From the first year of primary school, children are assessed each trimester via a series of examinations. Rated out of 100, your kid will be considered shit if he has less than 90.
Why is it so important to be among the best in China
Because good results in primary will allow your child to go to a good college. A good college will allow him to go to a good high school. And a good high school will allow him to get a good score in the Gaokao.
Don’t you know the Gaokao? Wait let me explain
The Gaokao (高考) is the most stupid exam that exists on earth.
It’s a bit like a prep in France, except that everyone has to go through it in China. It allows access to the Grandes Ecoles and in particular to the universities.
As a Chinese, your fate is sealed by your Gaokao score.
So either you rank among the best and you have a bright future ahead of you… Either you will be considered a failure for the rest of your life.
Suffice to say that the pressure is great
If you want to learn more about Gaokao, I invite you to listen to this podcast episode
There I took the example of Shanghai to illustrate it because it is the most westernized city in China. But the supply is obviously much lower in the T2 or even T3 cities of China.
For example, where I am based in Nanjing (T2 city) it’s a bit of a desert in terms of French education…
Less pressure and stress on students
For me, this is the main advantage of international schools: Respect for the child and his development.
Most of these establishments base their pedagogy on enthusiasm and discovery and not on rote learning of knowledge. The activities are also much more numerous than in Chinese public schools.
So of course it depends on the schools and like everywhere, there are private Chinese schools which are not particularly better than public schools.