In order for parents who want their children to study in China, they need to be enlightened with some differences in the educational system. Foreign students will not only need to hurdle culture and language differences but with the whole learning environment as well. Both parents and students should be well prepared if they decide to study in a Chinese middle school in order not to get the shock of their lives.
If you are a Filipino parent and holding a legal resident status, you might find it a long process for your child to complete preparatory education. Prior to the implementation of the K12 program in the Philippines, a student will spend ten years of preparatory education before entering a university or a college. In China, Chinese students will have to spend 12 years in school; six years in elementary, three years in junior middle school, and three years in senior middle school. Students in China will also have to prepare for a national long test in order to gain entry to any of the universities of their choice. While in the Philippines, college entrance examinations were abolished and students will only have to prepare for college and university entrance examination.
In the U.S, teachers and administrators are factoring the performance of students in the entire school year. While in China, the focus is on the final exam rather on the whole semester or school term. What is the effect after? In the U.S, the academic learning process helps students to focus their attention on learning throughout the year while in China, there is a tendency for students to be relaxed and work hard towards the final days leading to the final exams. In other words, students in China is more pressured towards the end days of the school year as compared with students in America where the student need only to muster enough points to maintain grades achieved throughout the semester or school year.
In some developed countries, teachers have academic freedom. In Canada, England, and the U.S for example, teachers prepare their own course syllabus and present these to students. As such, students know the learning direction of the courses that they are studying. In China however, due to lack or limited resources, there is a huge dependence towards textbooks because it is cheaper to maintain and textbooks can be used several years over until the government decide to use another sets of textbooks. With that, learning methods are quite limited. Teachers will only teach based on what are dictated on textbooks.
Fortunately, these differences become narrower as years go by. There are now Chinese middle schools that are run privately and have innovated their learning curriculum and structure where it is quite similar with schools from other developed countries. In addition, the Chinese government have become more receptive with regards to foreign influence, therefore, it allows hiring of foreign teachers as well as foreign schools partnering with local educational institutions. There are still so many things to be done with regards to education in China and the way the economy is developing right now, it can be said that the government is making the right actions when it comes to educating their citizens.