January 14, 2006
China's education reforms
The SCMP often comes in for serious stick, the latest deserved example being the controversy over Peter Kovolsky, an anti-smoking campaigner who's interview was spiked due to pettiness. In a paper that often struggles for content (just try it's City section on any random day for an example) it seems bewildering. But to the SCMP's credit, they do have some good journalists filing good stories. Unfortunately again due to misguided policies, the SCMP hides its online articles and lets these stories miss a wider exposure, much to both their journalists' and own detriment.
Today's example is Josie Liu's story, headlined Equality finally gets a chance with revision of education standards. It's reproduced below the jump. China's "free" public schools are often anything but, with some of the elite ones in Beijing effectively turning themselves into high fee private schools. The abolition of the farmers' tax will, perversely, mean poor rural schools will lose their primary source of income. China's leadership continually frets about the widening gap between the rural poor and the urban rich, and the inequality of opportunities and education are a major structural barrier to closing that gap (so is the billions in unpaid wages to over a hundred million rural labourers working in cities, but that's for another time). Amazingly, especially for an allegedly socialist country, schools until now have not been funded by the central government. But reforms are underway and so long as they are properly funded, they will go much further in improving the lives of tens of millions than a bunch of pampered Korean farmers marching down Causeway Bay.
It through such steps that China's future remain optimstic and hopeful.
Beijing newspaper editor Zhang Xiujiang is not happy with his son's Grade Five English teacher. He says she is a bad teacher and those who are good have found jobs in "good" schools far from his home that charge tens of thousands of yuan a year. "There is huge disparity between public schools, even within one city," he said. "It's not fair."posted by Simon on 01.14.06 at 05:29 PM in the China history, education & culture category.
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my regret is that i did not save the set of photographs of rural Chinese children whose cheeks were all purplish-red ... I mean, everybody in that classroom ... If I remember, I was too busy crying ...posted by: eswn on 01.16.06 at 12:35 AM [permalink]
In what way is the Peter Kovolsky matter a controversy? According to the dictionary, "A controversy is a contentious dispute, a disagreement in opinions over which parties are actively arguing."
Point taken, although I implicitly assumed SCMP would stand up for themselves.posted by: Simon on 01.16.06 at 11:01 AM [permalink]