Chi­nese spark UK de­bate

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG ZHOUX­I­ANG in Lon­don zhangzhoux­i­ang@ chi­nadaily.

Many peo­ple in Bri­tain say the na­tion’s own ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem needs to im­prove af­ter a BBC doc­u­men­tary about Chi­nese teach­ing meth­ods sparked fierce de­bate.

The doc­u­men­tary, Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chi­nese School, broad­cast on Tues­day evening, fo­cused on Bo­hunt School in Hamp­shire, south­west of Lon­don, where five Chi­nese teach­ers were re­cruited to teach 50 ninth-graders for a month us­ing the same teach­ing meth­ods they ap­ply in China.

The doc­u­men­tary had an au­di­ence of 1.8 mil­lion and an 8.6 per­cent au­di­ence rat­ing on Tues­day. The rank­ing for the whole week has not been an­nounced, but with 1.8 mil­lion view­ers in one night, it was more pop­u­lar than the No 2 show the pre­vi­ous week.

The doc­u­men­tary also sparked fierce dis­cus­sion online. Be­fore and af­ter it was broad­cast, it had al­ready be­come one of the top top­ics on Twit­ter, with many ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ists com­ment­ing and retweet­ing.

Many Bri­tish Twit­ter users com­plained not about the Chi­nese teach­ers, but about their own coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

“They are right. Bri­tish ed­u­ca­tion has gone soft. Teach­ers are abused and stu­dents have no dis­ci­pline,” one user said.

On the BBC web­site, a de­bate ti­tled “What can Bri­tish schools learn from the Chi­nese ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem?” be­came es­pe­cially pop­u­lar. One Twit­ter user com­mented, “If Bri­tish schools, in the main, are places of con­stant sup­ply of en­ter­tain­ment to pupils (at break time and dur­ing lessons alike) then the name of these in­sti­tu­tions should be changed from schools to some­thing else, maybe com­edy clubs in­stead of schools — where the chief clown is nor­mally the head teacher.”

Kathryn James, deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Head Teach­ers in Bri­tain, de­fended the Bri­tish school sys­tem and said it had ad­van­tages over China’s.

“It is al­ways help­ful for school lead­ers to learn from dif­fer­ent sys­tems,” she said. Zhang Chunyan con­trib­uted to this story.

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