Middle Kingdom

My top 10 Chinese Quotes on Education

Knowledge is Power

Everyone who is interested in China and its history knows that for Chinese (for East Asians in general) education and traditional values are among the most important things in life.

Deeply ingrained in Asian societies the positive attitude to rigorous education is reflected in many Chinese sayings. Reading them made me think about how different -despite of all the obvious similarities- East and West are in many ways.

The changes in the last decades might have led to even greater differences at least in the field of education. And dare I say, maybe not for the better in the West. My thoughts are meant as a contribution to a discussion, not to trigger anyone. Feel free to comment and give your own opinions.

Early on in childhood Chinese parents put a great emphasis on their child´s upbringing.

Your child has a great score and knows how to play piano? Bravo! Knowledge and a specific skillset are a sign of a parent´s job well done. A child´s education reflects on the social standing of a family among their peers.

Stereotypes make life easy

In the West, Chinese education is often shunned. Do you remember the angry discussions about the so-called Tiger Moms? The media tells us constantly what we want to hear so we get this fuzzy warm feeling of supremacy: Chinese only memorize and have no real creativity – either inherently or because of their bad education system.

Inventions can only flourish in a free (stereotype?) society like our Western democracies. How fragile they are we can clearly see in the behavior of both sides of the political spectrum in America right now. Who knows, maybe they never were real, and we just lived a dream.

It is so much easier to dwell in the knowledge that you are so much better than the rest. Otherwise, the Western societies would have had to take action. Many studies in recent years have debunked this idea of the ant-like Chinese mind as a cliché and wishful thinking. Statistics on patents and inventions during the last 20 years tell a hugely different story.

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