I’ve watched the first two episodes of Chinese School which is currently showing on BBC Four. So far I’ve found it fascinating how different China’s schooling is to the UK. I understand that there is a lot of pressure on the kids to achieve at school especially because of the one child rule in China. But given from what I’ve seen (limited as it is) it does seem an awful lot of pressure and work. The teenagers start school at something like 6.30 and they are expected to continue with some sort of study until 10pm or even midnight.
Even at the junior school they are showing, which is a boarding school, has the kids starting just as early. However discipline is a BIG thing which is installed in the kids from an early age. In last week’s episode the class monitors picked out one kid who hadn’t looked after his eraser – he’d been stabbing holes into it with his pencil. He was then made an example of in front of the whole class. Given a dressing down by a fellow pupil of the same age and then made to wear a scruffy old jumper as a punishment. I thought it was a little demeaning, especially for a 7 year old to take and I was a little uncomfortable watching it – but at the same time, it’s not something they will do again in a hurry. The fear of being made an example of will ensure that. Ok, there is little harm in damage to an eraser – but the next thing they damage may not be an eraser. The discipline installed at this age gives them a grounding of respect for other peoples items and no doubt that will stay with them later in life.
The schools also don’t employ cleaners – the kids clean the classroom, sweep floors, tidy up after themselves, wash their lunch dishes. I’m sure if either of those two scenarios happened here in the UK we’d be breaking all kinds of Health and Safety Regulations not to mention probably someone from the Human Rights or Politically Correct brigade would be up in arms.
With today’s problems of ‘hoodies’ in the UK – who seemingly lack basic manners, discipline and respect. Not everyone agrees with China’s current political stance and I’m not about to type stuff I know nothing about. I’ve literally only seen what I’ve seen in the programmes and I accept this is very very limited, but I’m sure we’d do much worse than to take a leaf out of China’s book in the education stakes to install some disciple and respect into society.