Anxious Asians

Japan’s scores fell in the new international survey of math and reading skills, reports White Peril. Japanese students trust their teachers less than students elsewhere; they’re also less likely to believe schools are teaching useful knowledge or giving them the confidence to make their own decisions.

Simon World finds dissatisfaction in high-scoring Hong Kong. Hong Kong students “ranked HK students as top in maths, second in problem solving, third in science and seventh in reading for an overall top ranking of all countries surveyed.”

A victory for HK’s education system? Not necessarily.

The same survey also found HK students had the worst perception of their schooling. More than half said school had done little to prepare them for adult life, 13% said school was a waste of time and they had the lowest sense of “belonging” out of all students surveyed. Despite the Government’s efforts, schooling in HK remains about only one thing: getting good marks. This sausage factory approach means schools teach but they don’t educate. It is made worse by the huge pressure parents put their children under to perform to the exclusion of all else.

The U.S. would love to have these problems.

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  1. “The U.S. would love to have these problems.”

    I agree that this is a more tractable problem than the ones we have, but I think that it is serious. My experience is that people who go through schools like this get the creativity squeezed out of them, and losing the creativity of the best and brightest can be as damaging to an economy as widespread ignorance. However, near universal ignorance is worse…

  2. For another perspective, see this post at (Canadian living in HK).

    To quote, “Childhood is sacrificed at the altar of competitive advancement”. Seems like there must be a middle ground.


  3. Mr. Davis says:

    Hong Kong schools provide good teaching but poor education. Perhaps we should rename it the Department of Teaching.