Can Norway learn from China?: School Quality (Paperback)
CAN NORWAY LEARN FROM CHINA? The book's purpose is to reach parents and grandparents worldwide, to inspire them to be conscious about the quality of their loved-ones' schooling. Parents and grandparents are more important than public authorities, teachers and researchers, to achieve successful school development. Quality education is the primary life insurance in a changing global world. From my experiences in Norway, East Asia, Finland and England, I present some ideas about how parents and grandparents can enhance school quality. China soon has the world's largest economy. Can a substantial explanation be the respect for knowledge and the population's strong willingness to learn? When China joined OECD's Pisa surveys (2009), Shanghai's 15-year-olds were top in the world. The same was the case in Pisa 2013. Chinese students abroad, are those that complete the fastest. Is effort in school work China's strongest soft power? Norway is a small, sparsely populated, super wealthy Scandinavian country. Historically, it had an excellent education system. That changed when the country switched to a US American curriculum model after World War II. Today the situation is worrying. Norway has rather low school quality objectively, and worse, relatively, when compared to amount of money used per student. Everybody has access to higher education, free of charge. Dropouts from higher education is increasing. In 2015, four out of ten university students dropped out. The nation's position in international education rankings is mediocre or poor. Norway is the only country in Europe where a majority of the population does not see education as an important value. A common opinion among those who analyse the global economic competition is that individuals and nations' level of knowledge is the power source number one. Importance of knowledge for individuals', companies' and nations' identity and mastery is the overall frame for this book. The education cultures in Norway and China today are opposites. My observations and comparisons during seventy years, as student, father, teacher and researcher have convinced me that Norway, and most other countries, can learn from the education culture of East Asia. In this culture, there is an enormous respect for learning and knowledge. An education system where students show strong motivation for learning and respect for teachers is the super soft power of economically successful East Asian countries. Quality of education will decide their competitive power in the increasingly global knowledge economy. The educational and economic success of East Asian countries triggered my curiosity for their curriculum roots. I found the moral philosopher Confucius, the thousand years old Imperial Examination, and a recent Chinese history of education as a key means to safeguard people's identity, while simultaneously learning science and technology from the West. I came across a number of amazingly dynamic and patriotic individuals, often poor before turning rich, and then using their private wealth to build schools and universities of quality, for the public. At the very individual level of this travelogue, I tell about how my family and I met with two elite schools in China, one international and one Chinese. Both were established by a poor waitress having turned billionaire. In my concluding reflections, I look at what Norway and many other countries can learn from China, Finland and England. The three countries' common denominator is high education quality, despite different curriculum traditions. We can take the best from each of them and create an optimal quality school for all.
Arild Tjeldvoll was professor of comparative and international education at University of Oslo for thirty years, before being called to a research professorship in Taiwan. He is honorary professor at University of Jinan, China, and visiting professor at Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City. His research comprises international education in general and higher education and leadership in particular. He was headmaster of a lower secondary school, a private upper secondary school, and head of Department of Educational Research, University of Oslo. Tjeldvoll had affiliated positions and longer research stays at universities in the United Kingdom (Cambridge), the United States (Harvard and Stanford), Sweden (Stockholm), Lithuania (Vilnius and Kaunas), Zimbabwe, South Africa (Western Cape), China (Xiamen), Finland (Jyvaeskylae), Hong Kong and Taiwan (National Chi Nan). Among his publications are: The Language of Education. The Coherence of Educational Rationales, Systems, Cultures and Paradigms, in Daun, Holger et al. (Eds.). The Role of Education in Development. From Personal to International Arenas. Stockholm: Stockholm University, Institute of International Education, 1995. Education and the Scandinavian Welfare State in the Year 2000: Equality, Policy and Reform. (Ed.). New York: Garland Publishing, 1998. The Norwegian Unified School - a Paradise Lost? With Anne Welle-Strand, Journal of Education Policy, 2002, Vol. 17. No. 6. Xiamen International School - Ambition Excellence. With Anne Welle-Strand and Jenny Stretton, Oslo: Norwegian Business School BI, 2004. Pan Maoyuan - A Founding Father of Chinese Higher Education Research. Trondheim: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Teacher Education. Academic Reports 2005. Scandinavian Education. Comparative Perspectives from Taiwan. (Ed.) With Yfen Rosa Tang and Gary Vore. Oslo: ELI Publishing, 2009. The Service University, Managing Global Transitions International Research Journal, winter issue 2010. Change Leadership in Universities: The Confucian Dimension, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management - special issue on leadership and change in higher education in Asia Pacific, 2011. firstname.lastname@example.org