Americans like to believe they are “#1” in everything, but what about our educational system? According to statistics, the American educational system needs to be reassessed and reshaped in a number of ways. Standardized testing scores lag far behind Asian Countries, and what’s more, our science and math levels are far below the average Asian scale. But what’s really at stake here, is not the educational reformations that need to be done, but that need to be seen in different perspectives. Western and Eastern philosophies tend to take on far right or far left stances and some middle ground should be met.
While westerners look to Asia in hopes of restructuring its educational framework, so are The Orients looking to western America. The process is running counteractive and parallel at the same time. How we reach optimal educational attainment is up for debate, and the two perspectives could not be more different in approach. It may be a bit difficult to approach this topic without stereotyping the East and the West. However, it remains that the most obvious difference is the philosophies of the east and west. Eastern implications of hard work, obligations, and educational success is capitalized and heavily emphasized in Asian philosophies. Not to say that the western mentality doesn’t also emphasize this, but it is approached much more lightly and not so intensely. Anyone from an Asian background knows either from personal experience or someone that grew up with a strict schedule of studying, maintaining grades, and learning material before it is taught in class, and even getting tutored after school. Academics and after school activities are extremely emphasized in the Asian philosophy of education and it is simply not explored in that extent in western countries.
On the other hand, Asia is also looking west as a role model in education. What is different here thought, is not to mimic our educational models, but to incorporate some western perspective in addition to their strict educational paradigm and framework. Education in Asia may be too strict, high-pressured, stressful, and too stifling in some cases. At its most extreme, of course any educational approach will not be as successful if they are too strict in any means. Most Asian countries are not trying to find other ways to include creative, fun, and less high pressure ways of incorporating education into their children’s lives. Extreme parenting may still be prevalent in eastern countries, but they are surely looking to western philosophies to lighten the load of academics.
Perhaps educational shifts may be met if we learn from both sides and take on a middle, more regulated and less method of pursuing education. As America’s universities as the envy of all countries, it seems that we are doing something right, in our own way. What we need to reassess is what America is missing that these Asian countries seem to be excelling – in science, math, determination, dedication, etc. Anyone can develop and instill a strong work ethic and it is through combing both eastern and western philosophies that we can both learn from each other and improve.
America has also capitalized on online accredited education, something that eastern worlds are lagging far behind in. Accredited online colleges give students an additional outlet to learn on their own time, which is another example of why the strictness of Asian educational systems seem not to be the best approach to education.