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The only way China will ever be No.1

By MichaelM ( Updated: 2014-12-09 16:55

There are a lot of measurements of the greatness or power of a country. The GDP can be accurately reported. The per capita income can be determined. Surveys regarding the quality of life and the happiness of citizens can garner interesting insight. But, as I see it, the only way China is ever going to exceed the US in overall global influence and respect is, they must drastically reform education.

I've studied this for some time now. My reason for wanting to know is so that I can be part of the solution to what China aspires to be and do. I can only affect it in a small way, however, if I was still sitting comfortably back in America, retired with no pressure, no need of anything except whatever I want to do every day, I wouldn't be doing anything to improve the world that I live in. My efforts are focused on China. My efforts are focused on educating Chinese children. My intent is to affect and impact their lives in a positive way to make them the best they can be. In doing this, even on the small scale that I can do it, I can touch the world in which I find myself.

There are some interesting facts. I realize that a lot of so-called 'facts' in China are not relied upon by the vast majority of people. They simply have come to the place of not trusting “official” statistics and data. However, in the US, we do trust the statistics that we often hear especially in regard to something as important as education. My sources of information are many. Some of my findings have shocked me.

First, in the US, some 21.5 million students are attending college or university. In China, there are about 11.6 million people who are attending college or university. Of those 11.6 million in college/university in China, 274,280 of them are studying in the US (many more are studying abroad in other countries). In the US, less than 55,000 students are studying abroad. There are nearly 900,000 international students in the US. So, to adjust to see the real picture and determine the accurate number, about 20.6 million Americans are seeking higher education. 

Why do so many international students in the US go there to get their education? Why are Chinese the largest number of international students in the US? From my findings and from many university professors, deans and administrators that I've talked to here in China, the primary reasons are, (1) the education can be trusted in the US. You can't bribe and cheat your way through college in Western English-speaking countries. One student from a very wealthy family in Beijing found this out when their son attempted to bribe two professors in the UK He is now serving 18 months in a UK prison getting an education of a very different kind than he went there for. (2) The emphasis on such disciplines as critical thinking that are provided in US schools especially. It’s a quality that is largely discouraged in Chinese institutions. (3) Companies and corporations in China gain a lot of 'face' by having employees who have graduated from a US school. The ultimate 'face' for the company is if they hire someone from a well known, prestigious school in the West.

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