Endless homework and after-class tutoring have been a persistent problem bothering both students and families. But as exam scores still serve as a springboard to a bright future, such pressure is showing no sign of letting up. Tang Jiangpeng, Principal of Xishan Senior High School, Jiangsu Province, offered his insights on this issue:
Without good exams scores, students have little chance of attending a good university. Nevertheless, high exams scores alone are unlikely to guarantee a bright future for the students. Scores may be an important indicator of a student’s abilities, but high college admission ratios measured by exam scores alone are not equivalent to a nation’s competitiveness. Helping students achieve high test scores is not the ultimate goal of education.
Today’s teenagers are well nourished. At the beginning of the last autumn semester, boys in the 10th grade averaged 180 centimeters in height and half of them were taller than me. All of them took a pull-up test, and 132 could do none. Among 893 new entrants, 774 were myopic. I was shocked by these figures. We stepped up their physical training, beginning with push-ups every day. Fourth months later, the vast majority of them could do 50 pushups in a minute.
I have been engaged in senior high school education for over forty years. It seems to me that getting preschoolers into the habit of organizing things is far more important than getting them to build a big vocabulary early. Giving them books is far more important than assigning reading comprehension tasks to them. Too many extracurricular cram classes from a young age will only deprive students of the innate curiosity and desire to learn.
Good education means producing responsible individuals committed to lifelong physical exercises, and capable of solving problems and appreciating life. Good education is about nurturing individuals with healthy personalities, so that they can go on to live a happy adult life and give back to the community. By 2049, students graduating this summer will be in their prime, serving as pillars of the nation. Their abilities will determine the comprehensive strength of our nation and the wellbeing of the Chinese public. As President Xi Jinping said, we educators need to refresh their body, enlighten their mind, and help them develop strong moral character. In a word, our mission is to develop well-rounded graduates with positive personality traits.