After reading the article titled “East Asia wins top marks in OECD´s education rankings” published on REUTERS´web yesterday, you would think that the East Asian systems of education are setting an example for the Western countries to follow. In some respects, this could be true. For example, teaching children how to use their knowledge creatively so that they are able to extrapolate from what they are taught seems to be an effective practice. Additionaly, making a difference between well-qualified teachers and those who are not, and paying them well for their training and experience appears to be an important source of job satisfaction and motivation for teachers.
However, what this article is not including is the high number of suicides among young people in those countries. The pressure to get high marks, together with other factors, seems to be connected with their decision to commit suicide.
So, some of the questions that pop up after reading these two articles are: Are exams the best way to evaluate someone´s knowledge? Should students be pressed to get good marks? What is more important: a healthy lifestyle or a “successful” one? Can both be compatible?