Drill and Kill Education in China
COMES NOW the Waldorf Movement
By Allegra Allesandri, PhD — Excerpts

"China is known for the drill and kill education. And yet as a culture, China values the three–fold human being, as evidenced by Mao’s dictum. His brilliance was to harness Chinese culture and turn it to the service of Communist rule. At an early age, students are shuffled into a rigorous university-bound test-centered education or left behind in vocational training. I found that the Chinese adult students we met had a rich background in moral, intellectual and physical education. They had been very unhappy and dissatisfied with their adolescent years and high school, but they did not come out of it poorly educated. And yet, Chinese students applying to American colleges are often “baffled by the emphasis on extra-curricular activities and may have never written a personal essay” — The New York Times November 3, 20111, "The China Conundrum" — a clear indication that these activities are not a focus in Chinese high schools.

"Europe has a similar model of siphoning off students as early as fourth grade to vocational training, and steering the best and brightest into university preparation. As a frequent visitor to Germany, my observation and anecdotal research tell me that in Germany, this dichotomy doesn’t hold the stigma that it does in China. Germans who are vocationally trained or university bound enjoy a strong middle class lifestyle.

China is different. Academic competition is high. The discrepancy between rich and poor is vast, both economically and educationally. The pressure of social status, income level and prestige is powerful. Children from families with resources take classes all day and have extra classes in the evening and weekends. And yet, according to the New York Times, 40,000 Chinese students arrive in the United States every year to attend colleges and universities, hoping for a better education and an advantage in business when they return home to China with an American degree (NYT 11-3-11). The Western allure is surely one of the reasons Waldorf education is gaining popularity and success in China."