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It's not all about Grades: It's a Passport of Global Citizenship

A popular criticism of the Chinese education system is its sole focus on test scores as opposed to integrating other components that are essential to effective education. This article is about the things that Chinese students are doing in school and what things that they actually can do to further enrich their high-school experience.

Since the listing of the New Oriental School (a school that offers courses, which focus on the test skills of TOEFL, SAT, GRE, and other required tests to study abroad), the increase of its annual revenue has maintained above 40%. The phenomenon that students in China are swelling into the classroom of the New Oriental School suggests an increasing rate of Chinese students seeking education in foreign countries. Now, the question is what drives Chinese students to leave their own country for an education?

“All they care about is grades,” a student from Shanghai complains. First, let’s define “they”. Who are the ones driving Chinese students crazy? A: Parents. In China, parents often have a misconception that a 4.0 GPA speaks louder than being the president of a student-run organization. To most parents, an hour of studying is definitely more worthwhile than an hour of participating in extracurricular activities. B: Teachers. Due to the fact that Gao Kao (the Chinese College Entrance Examination) is the only factor, which college admission officers look at, high-school education in China is inevitably test-oriented. According to a survey on Xiaonei ( a popular social networking website similar to Facebook), 66% of participants said their time is mostly devoted to academics. Only 3% of them said they spent most of their time on extracurricular activities.

According to a study conducted by the Peking University’sInstitute of Mental Health, the rate of emotional disorders such as depression and paranoia among Chinese students under age 17 at up to 32 percent, a total of 30 million students. When Chinese students are overwhelmed by the idea that there’s one, and only one, exam that determines their whole life-path, then tests and homework become a usual routine. It is understandable that most students neglect the significance of learning outside the classroom.\

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