BBC show highlights differences between Chinese, Western education

Netizens from China and the UK engaged in a spirited discussion on the differences between Chinese and Western education after a BBC documentary featured five Chinese high school teachers in the UK using Chinese education methods.

The documentary, Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School, which aired on BBC Two on Tuesday, showed the five Chinese teachers spending a month with students at the Bohunt School of Liphook in Hampshire.

In the documentary, the teachers required students to do eye exercises during breaks and banned them from talking and raising questions in class, which are common practice in Chinese education. Some students were caught on camera in tears.

After the trailer went viral, many Chinese netizens said they oppose the rigid methods, while many Britons consider them useful.

One of the Bohurt students told the Global Times on Tuesday that it was a good way to improve their grades.

Zhan Wansheng, director of the China National Institute for Educational Research (CNIER), told the Global Times that support for the Chinese educational methods reflects problems in the West.

"Their educational system always overly focuses on themselves and ignores grades," Zhan said.

Most Chinese were taught and pressured as a teenager especially for the college entrance examination, which explains their opposition, added Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow at CNIER.

However, Chinese education methods have been attracting attention.

British publisher Harper Collins announced it would publish a redesigned English version of a Chinese supplementary mathematics textbook, while 30 math teachers were invited in March to teach at primary schools in the UK in a two-year program to boost the nation's performance in math.


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