If You Run Out of Things to Say, Just Praise the Communist Party
The above advice was given to students in China before a national exam, according to this radio program featured on the Two Million Minutes Blog.
The program reports that China is trying to incorporate more critical thinking into its school system. I don’t expect it to make progress in this area unless it mitigates the propaganda and censorship its citizens are subjected to. You can’t command students to think critically the way you can insist that they memorize the periodic table of elements. And they’re unlikely to volunteer a challenging opinion if they fear recrimination.
China’s top-down education system is good at producing high test scores, bad at inviting criticism. We should keep this in mind the next time someone calls for national standards “because the highest-performing countries have them.”