Novelist plays wrong card

(China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-21 08:10
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The new book of Amy Chua, a professor at Yale University in the US, has drawn the attention of American society. It has sparked a heated debate, too, on whether Chinese- or Western-style education is better, says an article in Shanghai Morning Post. Excerpts:

The reason for Amy Chua's rise to fame is not the seemingly almighty Chinese-style education system but the "deep-rooted sense of crisis" of Americans. When some Americans feel less secure, they start casting doubts on other people's or countries' success.

Some recent educational competitions have seen American children perform worse than their Chinese counterparts. But that was no reason for Chua, who is of Chinese origin, to exaggerate the merits of one education system and belittle another.

A lot of netizens have criticized the extreme stance that Chua has taken in her novel. Many people even say that not all children growing up in such an atmosphere are "exam-passing machines lacking practical skills".

Chua, in fact, has used her talent and controversial opinion to sell her book.

These elements in her novel can make people who succeed in exam-oriented education systems the targets of many people across the world. Some people, for sure, will envy them, but others will criticize and despise them.

People should focus their debate - in real life as well as novels - on education systems, not on those who excel in them.

                                                 (China Daily 01/21/2011 page10)