1. South Korea
4. Hong Kong
6. United Kingdom
8. The Netherlands
It is important to examine the values and practices of the above educational systems so that we can possibly pull these value sand practices into our own educational system and improve education for our children.
A core value in the Asian countries is their emphasis on education. The children attend school more days than that of the United States and have parents who have them spend hours practicing exams and studying with private tutors. Parents in the Asian countries do not allow children to “waste time” with activities that will not benefit them later in life. This includes sleep overs, playing games on the computer, and activities American kids survive on. Education is a top priority for the Asian countries and that is definite factor of their success when compared to American education systems.
South Korean schools have received some scrutiny in the public eye, but their education system produces results. Students can attend top colleges in their own country and in other countries. This speaks volumes for the results of education being a priority in children’s lives. The strict education system may seem harsh and appears to take away from what we expect a childhood to look like, but their system better prepares their children to be able to function as an adult. They are better prepared to enter college and then the workforce after graduation.
Public education in Korea and most Asian countries, is divided into three parts. The first part is primary school and goes through grade six. Middle school is grade 7 through grade 9 and then high school is the final three years before university. Classes are slowly becoming more coeducational, but all students learn the same thing. Students are expected to be fluent in both Korean and English languages. There is a high amount of emphasis placed on moral character in school as well. The education system wants to put people out into the world that will strengthen the nation and prepare them for jobs in society.
The Asian calendar is much different from ours. School is divided into two semesters, March through July and September through February. Students do receive a winter and summer break. School sessions begin at 8AM, though most students are there studying before classes begin. Academic learning ends around 4:30PM and students remain to clean the classroom. After eating dinner, students will then study until 10PM. Before going to bed they can snack, listen to music, or watch television. 220 days of attendance is required for all students.
Teachers also play a large role and have more responsibility in controlling student behavior than in the United States. Giving teachers the role of developing moral behaviors and academic development. Teachers are more respected than here in the United States. Students do not receive written work as they do here. With the added responsibilities that teachers face in the education system, they are unable to grade 1,000’s of pages a week. However, students are more accountable for their education and must take notes from lectures. They do not receive grades in the same way we do, so if they find their self struggling, it is their responsibility to get help.
Schools in the United Kingdom and England also differ from our education system. Their system provides education for children aged 4-5 through 16 years of age. Schools also provide pre-school, childcare, and adult learning classes for a designated number of hours a week. Secondary education is from age 11 to age 14. After this time the students will enter secondary school graduation. This period lasts about two years and requires the students to take the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) state exam. After passing this exam, students are given several choices. The first is leaving school. The other option is they may continue into technical college or they may gain a higher education at a university. UK schools do not rank students by grade levels as other countries tend to do. The students are ranked by the exams they have taken. Such as GCSE, SCE, and AS or Advanced Level exam results.
The university level of education also comes with social advantages. Students get to enjoy social activities and gain new insights to their future. This is similar to the United States, but Asian schooling continues to be more book involved than social. However, there are no programs that help to fund University level of education. If a student wants to continue their education, they must find ways to fund it their self.
Funding for the lower levels of education is quite lower in the UK and England, than in the United States. They spend $109 billion on their education system, while the US claims to spend $620 billion. Though this extreme difference in money spent could be the differences in budgets and expectations of what parents should contribute to education.
The Dutch and Polish education systems are very similar to the Canadian and England systems. All are funded by the government until about the age of 16. Unlike in the US, age 16 is when students can choose how their schooling continues. The cultural differences in expectations of children likely plays a role in the maturity of when people enter adulthood in other countries. As with the other countries discussed, parents and students have more accountability for the education that is received. Often in the US it is society who will place blame on a student’s short comings on the teacher. Not considering the education that should also be occurring in the home. It also does not take into account that there are less educational days on the calendar in non-Asian countries. Or that school days are shorter for the United States.
The United States could have a better educational system. It is not something that could ever be done on a whim or overnight. A complete overhaul in the system is necessary to correct the short comings. There will also be a need for money to be invested into the educational system and for that budget to be used appropriately. Parents also need to be held more accountable for their child’s education. That is one of the biggest differences in the United States. Parents claim to value education but expect all education to be attained at school. In other countries, education also takes place in the home with studying, tutors, and parental involvement. Further need in curriculum uniformity in the school system would also be beneficial to students. Each state has their own standards, and this is a disservice to the education system.
Many values that theses higher educationally ranked countries have are cultural differences. The countries place more importance on the value of education and ingrain this idea in children at a young age. Our culture is not one that typically does this. For the families that do, their child is able to compete well in school and thrive. In general, the United States takes education for granted and does not reinforce the importance education has in being successful in our society. That is the most important factor or feature to take away from other countries education system.