January 17, 2007

Episode XIV: Let Them Grow

Education system in my home-country Poland, has changed lately, in 1999. At the moment compulsory are: six-years-long primary school and three-years-long gymnasium, which finishes with national examination that gives the right to enter chosen secondary school.
Usually pupils are spending three years in secondary school, called lyceum, or four years in technical school that already gives specific profession, such as electrician, mechanic or, for example, geologist.

After secondary school and matriculation exam, comes time to go to high school, which is university or academy. Commonly, studies last from three to five years, ended with defense of final thesis and achieving a degree in exact field.

Master’s degree in Poland, is ordinarily qualified at the age of twenty-four. That’s just to tell you few details about how does it look like to go through education path in my country. Now I would like to focus on Taiwan.

I’m not an authority to discuss Taiwanese system itself, I can only comment its effects and results, as I see and meet them here everyday. First thing that made me reflect on this issue is relation between teacher and student. According to what I was said, student is supposed to listen, more than actually asking questions, which from my point of view was a basic way to gather knowledge and communicate with my professors in Poland.

On the other hand, that teaches respect, patience and proper manners. Unfortunately it sometimes brings a withdrawal in form of being afraid to make a mistake.

Taiwanese girl that studies English once said to me: “excuse me I won’t talk to you, I would be embarrassed of my weak linguistic skills”. That was not a good sign for her future, if I may suggest anything.

Other story is the amount of pressure that parents put on their youngsters to bring the best grades from school. Education, especially at the early stages, is about discovering kid’s potential and encouragement to learn and explore. Should never bear frustration and fear.

I had an occasion to watch Taiwanese children around ten-years-old. I need to admit they are smart, bright and able to pick up knowledge very fast. Teacher’s role is to make them enjoy interaction with the others and not let them become shy.To finish this almost serious episode, I would like to mark that Taiwanese people impress me, with costly efforts they make to secure their offspring’s education, welfare and future. It’s really something that should set an example to follow.

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