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Each September, millions of parents all over the world send their children to kindergartens, schools, colleges, and universities. Some of them believe that the heavy responsibility for their children is devolved upon teachers, starting from the moment when a kid steps across the school's threshold. Nevertheless, schools and teachers cannot control children nowadays. I am convinced that the responsibility must be shared. At this point in time, the theme of education draws a great deal of public attention. A lot of politicians act in support of the idea that the education system must be fundamentally reformed. What is more, one should draw the examples of other countries.
In 2009, the academic attainments of students from 32 countries surprised everybody greatly. The research was conducted on the teenagers at the age of 15. Nowadays, according to the global report by the education firm Pearson, the United States of America occupies the seventeenth position (Best Education in the World). South Korea and Finland dominate other developed countries because their education systems are the best. In addition, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Finland go after them.
The question is: what should be done for increasing the level of education? I suppose that the cornerstone of each education system is funding. Nevertheless, according to numerous studies, cultural supportive of learning is crucial. The researchers have found five key factors which produce the successful educational outcomes (The Learning Curve):
There are no magic bullets.
I assume that one cannotsolve the problem only with the help offunding. Nevertheless, as it was mentioned before, it plays a significant role. The education system needs changes as well. The whole process is long and complex. It takes time and must be consistent.
Competent teachers are vital for quality education. I believe that teachers must be regarded as valuable experts. They should be respected and paid well. One should remember that they play an essential role in the upbringing of children. Therefore, a lot depends on their attitude to the job.
Culture can be changed.
Sometimes, cultural values and beliefs have to be reconsidered. Therefore, each culture has positive and negative elements. The world is constantly changing, and some things should stay in the past. For example, there are such parents who believe that their children must occupy the same position as they do. Hence, I am convinced that each child should find his/her own way.
Parents are neither impediments to nor saviors of education.
Each parentwants his/her child to receive a decent education. Very often, children are put under enormous pressure. However, the parents' desire is not enough for changing the whole system of education. As it was mentioned before, this is a complex issue, and parents cannot solve the problem. I believe that fathers and mothers must be responsible and control their children's lives not only at home. By and large, parents should be fully aware of everything what is happening with their children. They have to cooperate with teachers, and together they can achieve the aim.
Educate for the future, not just the present.
Technologies are constantly developing, and, as a result, students should keep track of novelty. Education must keep pace with the progress as new jobs appear, and students need new skills for them. I think that the aim of the education system is preparing children for future challenges. For this reason, the education system must be flexible and open to everything new.
It is not a surprise that every country has its own approach to education. For example, there are two countries that top the list: South Korea and Finland. Their education systems are radically different. On the one hand, there is a very strict and test-driven system in South Korea. On the other hand, the system of Finland is flexible, and the attitude towards children is fairly relaxed. By and large, if one wants to create the best education system, the approaches to education in different countries should be considered.
Education in Asia
In Asia, parents pay more attention to the education of their children in comparison with Western parents. Asian children are under constant pressure. Maybe this is one of the reasons why South Korea, Shanghai, and Hong Kong are on the top of the rating. Nevertheless, according to Se Hoon Park who used to teach at Konkuk University (Seul, Korea), children are always gloomy and serious (Park). Parents are very strict and demanding.
American children spend over a month less at school in comparison with Korean ones. Children in Korea study too much: "If you live next to a Korean or Chinese family, you may notice this duo every day, rain or shine, summer, winter, spring and fall" (Park). Moreover, as usual, parents play the role of guardians. The sit near their children and control the whole process.
It should be mentioned that there is one more point of view on the problem of raising Asian children. In the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Ami Chua describes and explains the Chinese way of bringing up children. She argues that a lot parents in Asia are shocked and frightened of the way children are raised in the West. Ami Chua explains that Asian parents cannot understand how children can waste so much time on social networking websites and video games. In contrast, in South Korea, school days are followed by tutoring. The author wonders how parents can be not interested in the future of their children. Ami Chua considers life in the West to be tough (Chua).
Probably, one should make a categorical judgment about the Asian approach to education. By and large, it yields favorable results. I think that one should pay more attention to what children are doing at school and home as well. Of course, it would be better if one controls how much time a child spends in front of the screen.
Finland's Education System
The education system in Finland is also very successful. However, the attitude towards children is positive and fairly relaxed. Teachers spend less time at school than American ones. Extra time is used for assessing children and developing curriculum. As usual, children play outside, even in the depth of winter (Sahlberg). They do not have a lot of homework. What is more, children start to go to compulsory school only at the age of seven. In contrast, in England, children are of compulsory school age when they reach the age of five. All in all, the average official school starting age is five years.
In Finland, only elite graduates are recruited. What is more, the payment they get is generous. The European model encourages creativity and equality. Parents spend more time with their children. However, their role is not a guardian but a friend and partner.
I suppose that both systems are effective, despite the fact that they are polar opposites. We should try to take the best of them:
- Teachers should be competent and adequately paid.
- Parents should pay more attention to the study process of their children and spend more time together.
- Tutoring is efficient, but only if a child still has free time.
- Parents and teachers have to work together and share the responsibility.