International Class Trend Reaches Xinjiang

by elbbj on November 13, 2013

urumqiWith “international classes” in public schools, high school students can apply to Harvard, Cambridge, and other top international universities directly upon graduation. In September of this year, Urumqi City #12 High School opened its first international class, putting its first set of high school students on the international track. There are 40 lucky students in this first class.

Yesterday, reporters visited the #1 section of the international class at Urumqi City #12 High School, where the teacher was teaching class in fluent English. This isn’t English class, it’s an “A-level curriculum” math class. In this class, aside from the national high school subject assessments that are taught in Chinese, all other coursework is in English. Both sections are taught in rarely seen small-size classes, with just 20 students per class.

Zhao Mingxuan is a particularly active boy in this section. He uses English to respond to the teacher, sometimes questioning the teacher as to why a certain method is used to solve a problem. The classroom environment is lively too. The teacher sometimes sits among the students, giving them a topic and exploring it with them. The students often respond with all sorts of answers.

Reporters were told that the teachers for the international classes are recruited from all over the world. These teachers must have strong English, with many years of study abroad experience. Principal Zhang Jucheng said that more than just transferring knowledge to students, they also teach an international way of learning, so the classroom management methods are totally different from those used in other Chinese classrooms.

One student in international class #1 named Liu-An Decheng said, “Before when we were late to class, we’d have to shout out, “Reporting!” when we arrived, and the teacher would stop the whole class to look at the student who just arrived, sometimes even criticizing him publicly. The international classes aren’t like that. If we’re late, we just come in quietly from the back door and sit down, we don’t want to disturb the studies of the other students.” Liu-An Decheng said that this kind of western educational concept lets him learn more self control.

Students in the international class have much greater of an academic burden than students in other classes. They study the high school curriculum, academic English, “A-level curriculum” and extracurricular practical classes. The “A-level curriculum” includes 7 courses including calculus, economics, computers, and others. Upon graduation, they can use their grades from these courses to apply to international universities.

According to reports, the “A-level curriculum” is called the “international college entrance exam” by international educators. With their grades from various subjects, students can apply to schools in the US, UK, Canada, Australia,  New Zealand, and elsewhere in the first semester of their third [and final] year, and do not have to attend preparatory courses in foreign countries or attend language schools. According to Zhang Jucheng, students who receive four A’s in their “A-level curriculum” can directly apply to Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, and other famous international schools.

Zhang Jucheng explained that students will have completed the IELTS test by their third year of high school. When they graduate, they receive the Chinese national high school diploma, and at the same time receive an international “A-level” certificate. Students no longer have to make their focus testing and preparing for tests, and to a certain degree, this method breaks down the separation between public high school classes and international education.


Original publication date: 11/4/2013

Source: http://edu.163.com/13/1104/17/9CRSNJRF00294M4F.html


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new nameUniversities Need Real Achievements to Gain Recognition

Media reports that Beijing Second Foreign Languages Institute may be changing its name to Tourism University have stirred debate recently. Whether or not the reports are true, the recent obsession of universities in China with name changes has attracted much attention and discussion. A rough estimated once indicated that according to official school website announcements, in the eight years since 2004, more than 300 schools have changed their names. So universities are “the places of deepest research and study” in name only, and have no inherent connection to high levels of knowledge and learning.  Anyway, especially for schools with long histories, a name carries a tradition, and represents its core and internal culture and spirit. If a school changes its name all the time, not only does it lose its history, it makes a break with its cultural traditions.

So why do some schools seriously want to change their names?

Some schools change their names because of the times and because of the image they identify with, which is quite reasonable. For example, Haidian Commuter University changed its name to Beijing City College because the idea of “commuter students” is no longer common. Similarly, after several institutes of higher education merge, they will necessarily chose an acceptable name that represents all the schools. And with the development of the higher education system in China, some schools will set up institutes and colleges based on existing departments, which requires them to change their own name from “college” or “institute” to “university”.

However, if profit is the motive for a school’s name change, this contradicts the spirit of higher education. There are many examples: a college may rename itself a university simply to attract some under-informed university entrance exam test takers, a school may “upgrade” its name just to attract more funds for scientific research and program approval opportunities, or an individual school head may hope to bolster his status from “College Dean” to “University Dean”. These name changes hurt people, and are quite lamentable.

We hope that all schools in China are high quality and distinguished centers full of new and interesting ideas instead of countless clones. But the more schools change their names, the more indistinct their specialties become. Many schools that originally had words like “steel”, “agricultural, ” and “industrial” in their names, schools that actually had strength in these areas, have removed these words from their names. They seem to be becoming more comprehensive, bit they are losing their specialties.

Taking another look at the famous schools of the world, there are “universities” like Stanford and Harvard, but there are also “institutes” like California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and even “branch schools” like University of California Berkeley. It doesn’t matter if it’s a university, a college, an institute, or a branch school, a name will not stop a school from gaining a place among the world’s first-rate schools.

Schools want to light a fire under their development, but changing a name isn’t the way to do it. We still have to rely on serious scholarship and research. After all, real achievements are needed to gain recognition.


Source: http://edu.sina.com.cn/gaokao/2013-01-28/1013370190.shtml

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Professor Visits US: Gates of Famous US Schools Look Very Average

January 25, 2013

Last summer, Zheng Xiaobian, Professor at the Central China Normal University Psychology Institute traveled to the United States with his daughter, along the way visiting a number of top US universities including Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and Stanford. What he didn’t expect was that the gates of these schools were all very average, some were even […]

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