Education in the New Powerhouse Economies: Catching Up or Leading the Way?

5758 Words Feb 20th, 2014 24 Pages
“Education in the new powerhouse economies – catching up or leading the way? Discuss in relation to India and/or China.”
India and China: Catching Up And Leading The Way
In recent years, China and India have both exploded onto the international education landscape as major global forces (Altbach 2009). China is considered one of the world’s most influential economies (OECD 2010b), whilst India is seen as playing a key role in the global knowledge economy (Agarwal 2007). India has also been described as “the science superpower of the Third World” (Altbach & Chitnis 1993:1). The sheer scale of the education sectors in these countries is remarkable (Altbach & Chitnis 1993). The literature generated by academics in an effort to understand
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A Brief History of Education in Chinese and Indian Societies
Both China and India have a long tradition of highly valuing education in society (OECD 2010b). In China, this tradition was born through the Civil Examination System (established in 603 AD), which was “a very competitive yet efficient system … known for its rigor and fairness” (OECD 2010b:84). The benefits of this system were centred on the low cost for both the government and those sitting the examinations (OECD 2010b). Students were required to write essays of political relevance, a skill that was able to be mastered by even the poorest of students, who were thus capable of becoming “Champions of the Civil Examination” (OECD 2010b:84). This ability for success regardless of socio-economic status (SES) was a trademark of education’s history in China and ensured that students, irrespective of their SES, remained hopeful and driven, which in turn “translated into hard work and adaptability to difficult learning environments” (OECD 2010b:84). It was against this backdrop that a cultural respect for education was born, with an emphasis on examinations and credentials as a means to improving one’s social status (OECD 2010b:84). Similarly, India has had a longer history of education, particularly higher education, than most other

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