Barbarians at the Gate

China’s Education Ambitions (Part II)1 min read

An episode of Barbarians at the Gate

Following on the previous episode about the Chinese education system, Jeremiah and David continue the discussion with award-winning journalist and author Lenora Chu. Lenora is the author of Little Soldiers, a melding of memoir and journalism that brings to light the enormous cultural differences between the Chinese and American education systems. In recounting the adjustments of her young son to the academic environment of an elite Shanghai elementary school, Chu explores the complex web of social conditioning and parental cooperation that results in the high-achieving “little soldiers” in the Chinese system, and weighs the advantages and disadvantages of the East and West educational models. The conversation also touches on the gaokao, the controversial college entrance exam, the supposed “creativity gap” in the Chinese model, and the similarities in the phenomenon of “helicopter parents” in the two cultures: