By the time British children reach the age of 15, they are already languishingthree years behind their Shanghai equivalents in maths.
It is just one marker of how the Chinesecity is racing ahead of Britain – and the rest of the world. Shanghai is top ofthe international league table in maths, reading and science for the secondtime.
The city triumphed despite spending just 60per cent of the international average on education – $49,000 (£29,852) over apupil’s lifetime compared to the average of $83,382 (£50,793).
In Britain, the spending per pupil is $98,023 (£59,719) – yet the investmentdoes not bear fruit.
The disparity in academic standing cannotbe blamed on large class sizes, as the average number of pupils in Shanghai’snearly 3,000 state schools is 35.4, compared with 25 in the UK.
The key difference between Shanghaiand Britain appears to be pushy parents – and even pushier teachers.
In the Chinese city, 45.9 per cent of parents got in touch with teachers todiscuss school performance compared with 18.9 per cent in the UK.
This was also the case in other topperforming countries such as Vietnam and Poland. The teachers also phoneparents regularly, telling them how to improve their parenting as well aschecking on how hard the children are working at home.
Pressure and expectation seem to bearresults – 80 per cent of Shanghai’s 1.8million pupils enter higher education.
The ‘pushy parent’ effect could be a result of China’s one child policy orperhaps the fact that 80 per cent of Shanghai’s youngsters have some form ofprivate tuition in addition to mainstream schooling.
Other reasons for the city’s successinclude the intensive training given to teachers throughout their careers and aculture of sharing and competition in the classroom.
Most children spend long hours in school,studying in bursts, before continuing with plenty of homework andextra-curricular activities later.
The OECD study said: ‘Top performers,notably in Asia, place great emphasis on selecting and training teachers,encourage them to work together and prioritise investment in teacher qualitynot classroom sizes.
‘They also set clear targets and giveteachers autonomy in the classroom. Children whose parents have higherexpectations perform better.’
Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s education expert, added: ‘Teachers call up parents atleast fortnightly – they ring them on their mobile to check on how theirchildren are working. They also tell them how to improve their parenting.
‘The pupils in Shanghai have agile, mobileschools and a lot of parental pressure.’
The length of the academic day variesbetween schools, but having children work for nine hours is not uncommon.Classes are highly selective and competition is actively encouraged.
Mr Schleicher saidthe system is intensely meritocratic, adding: ‘If you are better than others,you’re going to get better chances. That’s the underlying belief.’
However, while Shanghai and Hong Kong,which also performed well, are China’s economic power-houses, the results forthe rest of the country are likely to be much more patchy.
Figures for the whole of China were notsubmitted for the OECD survey.
Shanghai’s teachers are paid relativelymodest salaries but have the incentive of 30 per cent of their earnings beingbased on performance.
论坛地址：http://www.ltaaa.com/bbs/thread-253368-1-1.htmlDunky,Gloucester, United Kingdom, 2 hours ago
The competition in China is such a studyculture has evolved to give the kids the best chance of a working future.However you will see many degree holding students doing menial jobs becausethere are not enough jobs around that fit their qualifications.Parents do pushthe kids in their studies in the belief that a rosy future will be certain witha university qualification. But, as we know in the UK, a BA is no guarantee ofa good job.
Proteus,Hong Kong, 2 hours ago
Having seen first hand the ''TigerMothers'' at work I can verify the commitment and discipline applied to theiroffspring. Too much dumbing down for years in the UK EducationalSystem-illusions of being Elitist in gaining degrees in abstract subjects. Ingeneral, the Youth of the Country have been down no favours as a result. Theneed is to bring back the Grammar Schools and Technical Schools, proven to besuccessful but anathema to the Left.
cezzer,Plymouth - UK, 2 hours ago
I'm considered a pushy parent and I'm alsothoroughly unpopular with the primary school my two girls go to. They loathebeing asked to justify certain teaching decisions but as a parent I have aright to monitor my kid's learning. Incidentally both my girls are top of theirrespective years by a considerable distance and the eldest, in year5 isstudying the equivalent of year9 maths and is expected to hit those levels bythe end of the year. I'm also moving to Canada because its just not good enoughin this country unless you have money for a private education. As an adult anda parent my biggest stress in life is dealing with a school that treats kidslike cattle and hates being called out on it. I don't want my girls hot housedlike Chinese kids but they deserve a damn site better thanthey're getting. I believe the monitoring of our schools is at fault as well asthe calibur of teachers. Only the best graduates shouldteach and they should be paid better.Pay peanuts, get monkeys.
SpitfireCharlie, Midsomer, 2 hours ago
But they are all taught by rote and chokingon pollution - hardly the stuff of dreams. Lots of facts and no creativity.
Alexandra,Brighton Australia, 2 hours ago
They have far more help with theireducation here in Australia. Extra tuition for maths etc. no sport. Saturdaysand Sundays more tuition, scholarship school and Chinese classes in schools.Naturally they fare a lot better than locals in this language. Chinese are muchwealthier than locals. They are small merchants or work in governmentpositions. So where is their wealth coming from?
Faizal-Lorgat,Blackburn, 2 hours ago
Learn from China as Bitter it may Sound forThe Former British Empire!
RKS,Derby, 3 hours ago
Push parents and teachers. Parents, yessmall percentage, teachers none! That won't happen in the UK. There is littleor no respects for teachers in our state schools. The minute the teacher startspushing the child the parents turn up at school to beat the teachers up,verbally if not physically. That's the culture we have developed over the last40 years. Some hard thinking, difficult decisions required for us to catch upwith the far Eastern countries.
oma1946,london, 3 hours ago
Maybe the depravation of fun time for theirchildren should be reflected. Having taught in China I can assure you theirchildren are lacking in many aspects. Good at maths yes, repetition yes, butget them to think, develop and research and they are generally very poor.
Matt,Uk, 3 hours ago
Mainly the difference is time, Chinesestudents just spend a lot of time inefficiently learning a subject. This comesat the cost of social and life skills and one wonders if it's worth it. Onecould exaggerate the education gap too, what is the point of education?Training people to work 12 hours a day drilling facts is fine , but not exactlyuseful in the work environment.
username_2000,Los Angeles, United States, 3 hours ago
China, as well as countries like SouthKorea, Japan, and Scandinavian countries are largely ethnically monolithic. 1.3billion people live in China, but nearly 95% belong to the same Han Chineseethnic group. It's easy to understand how a teacher might be able to call aparent and suggest better parenting techniques in such an environment. InAmerica, can you imagine if a white teacher called a black parent on the phoneto discuss better ways to be a parent? There would be riots in the streets!While that is the bad part, the good part is that the huge diversity that youhave in countries like the USA and the UK mean that they will probably be more creativeand innovative, as there are so many ideas from different cultures andbackgrounds, and not just in economically lucrative fields but also in art,music, fashion, food, etc.