Education reform

People walk along a street in Wuhan, Hubei, China on 29 September 2020. (STR/AFP)

Why modernising China is so difficult

Wei Da calls out China’s modus operandi of seeking modernisation yet fighting it at the same time. He says China’s road to modernisation faces the classic dilemmas of setting its priorities right and establishing new paradigms that will liberate it from the shackles of the past. Only then, can China imagine a future that will bring it on par with advanced civilisations. 
Japan's prime minister-in-waiting Shinzo Abe (right) smiles with newly appointed Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa (centre) and General Council Chairman Yuya Niwa of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party at a party executive meeting in Tokyo, 25 September 2006. (Toshiyuki Aizawa/File Photo/Reuters)

Shinzō Abe's first term: A princeling's attempt to rewrite World War II history

Looking back on politician Shinzō Abe’s career, academic Toh Lam Seng asserts that the greatest driving force of Abe, the “pampered princeling”, was his maternal grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. When Abe became prime minister for the first time in 2006, he was preoccupied with changing Japan’s peace constitution and establishing a new take on Japan’s war history that his grandfather was a large part of. Several hawkish policies followed but his single-minded pursuit and unpopular Cabinet soon led to his departure.
Students at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, 6 August 2020. (Ann Wang/REUTERS)

Taiwan history textbooks makeover: Eliminating country, people, history and culture?

What is the teaching of Chinese history without recounting the drama of the Three Kingdoms or the antics of concubine Yang Guifei? As Taiwan adjusts its history textbooks and skims over or even leaves out large chunks of China’s history, what exactly is it losing?
Two mothers in red qipaos hug their children at an exam centre in Hainan, 7 July 2020. (Luo Yunfei/CNS)

Purple underwear and qipao — tips to ace China’s gaokao

China’s gaokao began yesterday, with millions of students taking this national university entrance exam (gaokao). One phenomenon that got Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu curious was students wearing purple underwear to the exams. She examines this and other superstitions that give students a mental boost in the exam, and says that the gaokao needs to remain fair.
Students wearing face masks arrive at the Huayu Middle School in Shanghai, April 27, 2020. Students returned to class for the first time since schools were closed in January as part of efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

'Mother hens' in China: A phenomenon of East Asian attitudes to education?

Schools in China have been gradually re-opening in the last few weeks. “Mother hens” or parents who fuss over their children's education, had their work cut out during the months of lockdown and their trials with home based e-learning. But most of them have taken it in their stride as they are used to coping with major anxiety amid growing pressure in their children’s education that begins even before kindergarten. And the same goes for the "tiger mums" of South Korea, Singapore and elsewhere. Zaobao reporter Zeng Shi takes a closer look at the "mother hen" phenomenon in China.
In academia, covert corruption is more pronounced than overt acts of corruption that are explicitly prohibited by law. (iStock)

Eradicating academic warlords and bandits in Chinese academia

Deng Xize asserts that the oligopolistic system in Chinese academia facilitates a covert form of corruption. Specifically, academics double hat as government officials, thereby gaining advantages such as greater access to academic resources. For him, a clear separation between academics and politics is the most urgent reform needed in Chinese academia.
Examinations play a huge role in China society. This photo taken on November 26, 2019 shows university students preparing for the upcoming National Postgraduate Entrance Exam (NPEE) at a library in Shenyang in China's northeastern Liaoning province. (STR/AFP)

China's university admissions conundrum: Who should have priority?

Tian Fangmeng believes that affirmative action for poorer students and the widespread provision of scholarships for overseas students will bring down the standards of top universities in China. Alternative methods can be found to aid students from poorer Chinese regions or raise the international rankings of top universities without compromising the integrity of university admissions.
Mountain loads to cover before the gaokao. (STR/AFP)

In China, you are your score

Bram Barclay points out that the frenetic, results-based model of Chinese education must change if future generations are to reap the benefits of a true education.