Amber Winkler, Fordham's VP for Research, is currently traveling China as a Senior Fellow with the Global Education Policy Fellowship Program (GEPFP). She'll be passing along her observations on education in the People's Republic with periodic ?Postcards from China.?
A few days in bustling, smoggy Beijing and one thing is clear: The Chinese appear to have woken up to the needs of all of their students, not just their best and brightest.
We met with officials yesterday from the Beijing Institute of Educational Sciences. Funded by the Chinese government, the Institute operates 16 research institutes across the country; each institute has a focus such as basic education, vocational education, curriculum development, etc.
A quick sampling of the Ministry's goals, as revealed in their "Chinese Outline 2010-2020"--and articulated by our MOE-affiliated presenters-- shows the country's dual focus on both the have and the have-not's:
Basis education (Preschool-secondary)
*Improve the chances of students with disabilities and ethnic minorities; and
*Address the gap between rural and urban schools
*Develop multiple world class universities;
*Ensure equitable development among the regions particularly in central and western China;
*Strengthen vocational education in higher ed institutes; and
*Continue development of long distance learning opportunities in higher ed.
Given China's competitive exam-based culture and the limited number of slots available in its 2,000 universities,* only the brightest students (some would say most test savvy) have traditionally been rewarded--along with those whose parents have...