Chinese newspaper discussion of the "creativity" problem

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Is the discussion about whether Chinese schools foster "creativity" and "critical thinking" confined to foreigners, or to Chinese writing in English?

Apparently not. Today's People's Daily has a big story on the results of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, just completed in Reno. (The Chinese team, from People's Daily.)
IntelFair.jpg


The article notes that mainland China had a large number of entries and won many minor prizes. But it had no real successes -- and the question was why.
 
Intel2.jpgThe three overall grand-prize winners were all young women from American high schools, shown here. For individual best-in-category prizes -- 18 total according to People's Daily, 19 total according to Intel -- all but one went to American students. That one exception was from Taiwan.

What's the problem?  The article discussed some obvious barriers -- language, resources -- but quoted a number of Chinese authorities saying that the real problem lay in the way Chinese schools taught people to think for themselves -- or, didn't. Too much emphasis on rote, detail, and following procedures; too little encouragement to reflect about the process of discovery. An analysis very similar to what we originally heard from a foreigner. I do not pretend to be able to follow arguments in the Chinese press with any nuance. I offer this (tipped from a contact at Intel, then labored-through by me) as evidence of a parallel, and obviously authorized, Chinese-language discussion, and as a resource for any Chinese reader who might have missed it.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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