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The Education System That Pulled China Up May Now Be Holding It Back - The Atlantic

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It is the first day of gaokao, the annual, nationwide college entrance exam, which will decide the college matriculation of the nine million or so students who take it. Sitting for nine hours over two days, students are tested on everything from Chinese and math to geography and government. The intense, memorization-heavy, and notoriously difficult gaokao can make the SAT look like a game of Scrabble. How they do on the test will play a big role in determining not just where they go to college but, because Chinese colleges often feed directly into certain industries and fields, what they do for the rest of their life.


Whatever your formula for innovation -- diversity of thought, collaboration, risk-taking -- you're not likely to find it in abundance in Chinese schools, where high-stake tests pit students against one other in a zero-sum competition that can feel a little more Hunger Games than think tank. "[When] you feel that the guy sitting beside you is your potential enemy who may rob you of a lifetime of happiness, altruism is not going to be your guide," gaokao veteran Eric Mu wrote in an essay on Danwei titled, "Confessions of a Chinese Graduate." If you find a question you can't answer you certainly don't ask a classmate for help, Mu explained, because "[to] offer your knowledge or even your questions for free is not only time consuming but an aid to your enemies."


Chinese elementary school textbooks tell the stories of the "Four Great Chinese Inventions": the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing.


No pressure.

The Chinese education system has led to many amazing entrepreneurs.

So they're doing a lot of things right.

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