In Sun Yat-Sen University Professor Feng Zengjun’s view, the core of American education is freedom, which “levels up excellent ones, but also brings down lazy ones”. Thus, it’s easy to understand why Americans perform poorly on average scores but succeed in cultivating outstanding talents.
Feng also believes that the essential difference between Eastern and Western education philosophy is that “we Chinese are selecting talents for the society, but Westerners regard education as a way to achieve the comprehensive development of all citizens.”
American universities also have famous ones and general ones, but there is no “single-plank bridge” phenomenon in the U.S., because the gaps between different professions are not significant, and the social security system is equal to everyone. “Even those who go to training colleges can be well secured in their future work and life. This is very different from China, where diploma means job, and diploma from famous universities means high-paid job. Besides, the mutual recognition of credits between colleges and universities in the U.S. is common. As long as one has the ability, a community college student can also transfer to Harvard. This is unimaginable in China,” says Xiong.