Educational reforms in Asia and Israel
Educational reforms are stirring up tempers internationally. In the 1990s, with the Lisbon process and the Pisa studies, an international education reform process came about in the West, also in Germany, which introduced bachelor and master’s training and is now being criticized after two decades, because many university professors and also parts of the business elites are concerned about the inadequate ability of university students ,many business associations see a too one-sided academization of education, also a technical idiocy through excessive specialization, which no longer fits to a holistic educational ideal of Humboldt and has produced streamlined and uncritical students who have ceased to initiate any social debates. There were also comparisons between Asian educational methods, whereby the exam-oriented, book-centered drilling school was regarded as a model, while others saw Scandinavian reform-pedagogical models as the opposite pole. As an Us-Chinese mother who became know as the Tiger mum and educated her children with Asian authotariaism and draconic punishment, burnt their teddy bears if they didn´t perform well , advocated for barack education and wanted to make it acceptable in the West as well, she met with a wide response and produced heated debates. The cuddle pedagogy and the anti-authoritarian upbringing of the 1968 movement, which initiated Western reform pedagogy, was now questioned by more authoritarian writings, for example by a Salem director who called for Prussian virtues and discipline. At the same time, the alleged social mobility for the lower classes through education was viewed with skepticism Many studies showed that materially better off parents with educational background through private schools, private tuition, as well as of their own support for their children had immense advantages over children from the lower classes or with immigrant backgrounds and that there was also a social justice gap, which an elite mostly reproduced despite affirmative action and partly free state education. In addition, the debate arose in the USA from Bernie Sanders, who promised US students, who have to pay study fees and are then initially in debt, a haircut and even demanded an educational system without study fees. It is now interesting that there is now such a debate and new educational reforms in Asia as well. In China, a far-reaching educational reform in China’s educational system now appears to be taking place. Interesting also because there are now similar tendencies in Taiwan and Japan and the Southeast Asian Bangkog Post considers this to be newsworthy. Apparently, however, the new education system does not seem to meet the approval of many parents who are used to the old cramming school and fear disadvantages for their careers and privileges for their offspring.
“China bans exams for 6-year-olds as Beijing retools education system
Beijing on Monday banned written exams for six- and seven-year-olds, as part of sweeping education reforms aimed at relieving pressure on pupils and parents in China’s hyper-competitive school system.
China’s exam-oriented system previously required students to take exams from first grade onwards, culminating in the feared university entrance exam at age 18 known as the gaokao, where a single score can determine a child’s life trajectory.
„Too frequent exams … which cause students to be overburdened and under huge exam pressure,“ have been axed by the Ministry of Education, according to new guidelines released Monday.
The ministry said the pressure on pupils from a young age „harms their mental and physical health.“
The regulations also limit exams in other years of compulsory education to once a term, with mid-term and mock examinations allowed in junior high school.
The measures are part of wider government reforms of China’s education sector, which include a crackdown on cram schools — seen by parents as a way to inflate their children’s educational fortunes.
In late July, China ordered all private tutoring firms to turn non-profit, and barred tutoring agencies from giving lessons in core subjects at weekends and holidays, effectively crippling a $100 billion sector.
The aim is to reduce China’s education inequality, where some middle-class parents willingly fork out 100,000 yuan ($15,400) or more per year on private tutoring to get their children into top schools.
Many also snag property in schools‘ catchment areas, driving up house prices.
„There is no other country that has such a strong tutoring culture (as China),“ said Claudia Wang, partner and Asia education lead at Shanghai-based consulting firm Oliver Wyman.
With population growth at its slowest in decades, Chinese authorities lifted a two-child birth limit earlier this year and wish to increase incentives for parents to have more children.
Beijing city authorities last week announced that teachers must rotate schools every six years, to prevent a concentration of top talent at some schools. Education officials on Monday reiterated a ban on schools setting up „priority“ classes for gifted students.
The Ministry of Education also banned written homework for first- and second-graders earlier this year, and limited homework for junior high students to no more than 1.5 hours per night.
However, many Chinese parents still regard education as a path to social mobility.
The gaokao is one of the few ways that poor, rural students can access better educational opportunities and job prospects at top universities.
But educational reforms are also a hot topic in allegedly progressive states as Israel which is thought to be a international innovative and creative leader in start ups and high tech industries. However even in Israel there is now a debate in the Jerusalem Post that its education system is backward, third class and a ticking bomb for the country´s future development:
“Israel’s education system is a ‘ticking time bomb’
A new report has shown that 50% of Israel’s students are getting a third-world education.
Some 50% of Israeli children from the country’s fastest-growing sectors are getting a third-world education that will not be able to support a first-world economy, without which there will be no first-world health, welfare and defense systems, according to a new report published by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research.
“The absence of a first-world ability to defend itself in the world’s most violent region will jeopardize the State of Israel’s very existence,” Prof. Dan Ben-David, who authored the 2021 report, told The Jerusalem Post. “This is an existential threat.”
Israel has enjoyed one of the world’s highest fertility rates for quite some time. The most recent report shows that Israeli families have an average of 3.1 children – a minimum of an entire child more than any other OECD country.
Families in Mexico and Turkey have an average of 2.1 children. The rest of the countries in the list average between one and 1.9.
However, those children are being born mostly into certain sectors: Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) and Arab Israeli students each make up more than one-fifth of Israel’s first graders today, about 43% in total.
Most haredi students do not even study the core curriculum. The average score of Arab Israelis in the basic subjects is far below the entire developed world.
The education provided to students in Israel’s social and geographical peripheries is often inadequate as well.
That’s about 50% of students, and it “turns the national education picture into a ticking time bomb,” Ben-David said.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fundamental problems of the education system, bringing to the forefront challenges that had existed for years prior, despite continual investment.
The Education Ministry budget is larger even than that of the Defense Ministry, yet students are simply not making the grade.
Israeli children’s average level of knowledge in mathematics, science and reading is below that of every developed country, the Shoresh report showed. Educational gaps in primary education within Israel are also much higher. And the country has more students who do not reach the minimum level of knowledge set by the OECD – even without considering most ultra-Orthodox children, who do not study the materials and therefore do not participate in international exams.
Israel’s non-religious Jewish schools rank below a third of the developed countries, when looking at the most recent average achievement scores in 25 OECD countries and in Israel on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam, which evaluates what students know in reading, mathematics and science and what they can do with that knowledge.
The country’s religious schools fall below 80% of those countries. Arab Israelis fall at the very bottom, including beneath nine of the 10 Muslim countries that participated in the most recent PISA exam.
While Israel cannot be compared to the United States in terms of population size, the US, like Israel, can be divided into four major ethnic groups. In the US, PISA scores show, Asians and whites are getting a better education than every student in every developed country, achieving an average score of 549 on the exam.
Israel’s non-religious students average 509. Israel’s religious students average 485.
However, American Hispanics achieve only 470, while African Americans have almost the lowest score – 436. But there is one group that achieves lower: Arab Israelis achieve an average of 372.
Moreover, Israel has the highest percentage (33%) of students in any OECD country scoring at or below “level 1” in mathematics, science and reading on the PISA exam, on which one is the lowest score and six is the highest.
“If education is a jumping-off board to the marketplace, with these gaps in knowledge, you cannot expect equality in future generations,” Ben-David said.
So, why is this happening?
THE EDUCATION system likes to blame the country’s large classrooms as the reason children are struggling to learn. But according to the Shoresh report, while this may be a contributing factor, not all Israeli classrooms are large, and there is no explanation for why efforts have not been made to reduce class size given the number of teachers that Israel employs per student – higher than average.
The number of students per teacher in Israeli elementary schools is nearly identical to OECD averages, according to the report, and the middle and high schools have fewer children per teacher than the OECD average.
Additionally, the number of instruction hours in Israel is greater than in most OECD countries.
As such, Ben-David pointed to a different challenge: the quality of Israeli teachers.
He said that the knowledge levels of undergraduate Israeli education students are very low – both compared to other Israeli college and university students and when compared to others in the developed world.
Some 79% of Israelis study to be teachers in one of the country’s teaching colleges, another 17% learn in general colleges and 4% are students in regular universities. The average psychometric score for those studying in teaching colleges is nearly 25% lower than the average for Israeli university students, the score is almost one-third (32%) lower for those who are accepted to general colleges, and still 9% lower even for those who learn to teach at the university level.
The situation becomes even more acute when looking at how Israeli teachers rank on the OECD’s Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) test, which examines the basic knowledge and skills of adults ages 16-64. Israeli literary teachers’ skills are close to the bottom of the developed world, and the knowledge of Israel’s math teachers is the lowest among developed countries.
Ben-David stressed that this situation is not because teachers in Israel are underpaid. He said that “contrary to Israeli conventional wisdom, the country’s teachers’ salaries are higher than the national average salary and are also higher than average teachers’ salaries in developed countries.”
Specifically, Israeli elementary school teachers make 3% more than the average received by their OECD counterparts, middle school teachers 16% more, and high-school teachers 23% more when looking at what teachers make per hour of instruction.
“Israel regards brain power as its primary natural resource. Its hi-tech sector – nearly the only economic sector that’s thriving economically in the global arena – does not have nearly the number of workers with university-level educations that it needs. How can teachers who could not even get accepted to universities themselves educate children at a level that could bring them there?” Ben-David asked. “How can we expect our kids to reach university and be a part of modern society if their teachers are not at that level?”
As Israel goes back to school on September 1, rethinking its classroom models to keep kids safe from coronavirus, Ben-David said there is an equally urgent need to reimagine the way that Israel chooses, trains and compensates its educational staff.
“The system is not functioning well,” he stressed. “We need an overhaul of the entire system.”
While the sky is unlikely to fall this year or next, Ben-David told the Post that if Israel does not act soon, there will be “a point of no return.”
He highlighted the situation in Beirut that was brought on in large part by demographics – a less fertile, more educated elite sector of society was overturned over time by a more fertile, less-educated poor population.
“It is hard for young people today to imagine that Beirut was once called the Paris of the Middle East,” Ben-David said. “Today, it is a poverty state at the brink of explosion…. Countries do fail.”
To ensure that Israel is equally a success story in 2065 as it is today, Ben-David said that when it comes to education, “Israel must get its act together while we still can.”
The CCP does not have the problem that with the highly praised religious freedom such completely unscientific ignorance, stupidity and religious fanaticism can arise as in the USA or Israel or Muslim countries with their evangelicals, Islamists or ultra-orthodox, who also influence the curricula,by creationism, religious( home )schooling or the most stupid superstitions that bring up as criticism of religion similar weird critics like the Flying Spaghetti monster or The Satanic Temple, especially since they have banned such obscure sects as the Falungong. As long as the Xi Jinping thoughts do not bring too much ideology into the curriculum, the CCP still seems to focus on a scientific education in the teaching contents, although this looks different again in the humanities. But the Asians and Chinese and now also Israelis seem to reform their own old traditional education system.
Logically, religious education as normal cirriculum should be forbidden, also two denominations and now also with Islamic education,but ethics or social science should be introduced, which introduces the essential Western and Eastern philosophers and above all the Enlightenment, atheism or agnosticism, then the essential economic factions of neoliberalism to Keyensianism and communism and their ethical dimensions, then only an overview of the world religions, above all with a democratic emphasis against the softening of secularism or laicism and the dissolution of the separation between politics and religion hoped for by these forces. The CCP does not have these problems, rather the problem of keeping the scientific educational content away from the secular Xi Jinpng thoughts. But the question of educational reform is not only a question of the religious idiots, but also of the secular, scientific materialistic representatives of a liberal and neoliberal historical materialism ala Fukuyam and its end times history, which wanted to overtake historical materialism ideologically on a secular and democratic basis. .Anyone who does not want to question such ideologies of salvation history as the end of history and neoliberlaism on the curriculum and, above all, refuse them, does not need to be angry about religious idiots or Xi Jinping thoughts. The West is the best will be replaced by The East is the Best and Parag Khanna’s The Future is Asian. The same Pan-Asian histomat that will not come true either.