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Society & Culture

Learning Different Ways of Thinking

Feb 14, 2011

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama highlighted the importance of education by stating that to win the future for the United States, "we also have to win the race to educate our kids".

"America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree," he said, highlighting the fact that the quality of math and science education in the US trails behind many other nations.

Meanwhile, the US media continue to debate Amy Chua's narrative of her role as a tough mother in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Only now, the debate is not simply about whether mothers should enforce almost unbearable discipline; but about the future of the US as the world leader.

According to Annie Murphy Paul of Time magazine this is because Chua has aroused a serious debate in the US because of "our fears about losing ground to China and other rising powers and about adequately preparing our children to survive in the global economy".

I believe we Chinese should have the same discussion, not because we are in a race, but because we need to get our children ready to compete on the world stage.

We have come a long way to achieve what we have so far. China is now the second largest economy in the world. As for education, it now has the largest number of college students in the world, and is ensuring nine-year compulsory education for around 99 percent of school-age children. However, despite the dramatic progress we've seen and experienced, I think we should address the same fears as the US, now Obama has brought the race to educate our children into the open.

Read full article here

Li Xing is assistant editor-in-chief of China Daily.

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