BEIJING, Jan. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In the week following the International Day of Education on January 24, debates about education preoccupied Gen Zers worldwide. Fittingly, the eighth episode of season two of the China Daily series Youth Power, “Education & The Future”, was broadcast online on January 30.
In the episode, Gen Zers from Brazil, Bulgaria, China, France, Russia, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Yemen gathered in Suzhou, China, to talk about the state of education and its future.
Drawing inspiration from their own experiences, they talked about the value and influence of education. From a broader perspective, they also analyzed the challenges and opportunities of education worldwide.
The show opened with the Gen Z guests discussing the important concepts of various national educational systems.
The host, Zhong Yutong, a graduate of Fudan University in China and Cambridge University in the UK, talked of the Chinese educational philosophy of teaching according to students’ aptitude, providing equal access to education and unifying knowledge with action.
He later talked of how China, in just 20 years or so, had made basic education accessible to its 1.4 billion population as it developed and modernized its education.
Temelidi Yulia, a Russian studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said that in her country critical thinking is one of the top priorities in education.
“Russian education is more concentrated on critical thinking. You need to do your own research. You need to take a lot of time to actually understand.”
Alexandre Guery from France said his country’s education also focuses on building students’ capacity to think critically and to learn independently, epitomized by philosophy being a core subject.
Despite the differences among various educational systems, the guests concluded that globalization has provided an increasingly wider platform for these systems to merge and interact.
Chinatana Chaiyasuk, a Thai, who is studying at Southeast University in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, said her country strongly supports the teaching of Mandarin Chinese.
Asibek Khonkhujaev, a former athlete from Uzbekistan who is a student at Hangzhou Normal University, said that because of Confucius Institutes in his country, more students there are keen to further their studies in China.
On the subject of “What university is about”, the guests had many varied answers.
“In universities, people understand how huge the world is, how much there is to learn and how much there is to understand,” Yulia said.
Enoch Wong, of Hong Kong SAR, China, said universities are “laboratories” in which students should take every opportunity to challenge the unknown.
“The mission of college students is to embrace failure and daring to fail. Because we understand breakthroughs in science and research come from failures… Growth comes from overcoming failures, which include the process of falling down and picking yourself back up and keeping on going.”
For Victoria Gomes Pereira de Almeida, a Brazilian who teaches at Shanghai International Studies University, universities provide different perspectives through which we look at the world.
“You learn as you’re growing up to accept diverse ideas, diverse people,” she said.
Hamza Al-sal, a Yemeni studying at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said: “University is just a time for you to learn and find different things. You look for whatever you’re passionate about and find out what you want in life.”
Another important topic for discussion was how to provide quality education and how to promote equity in education. The aim of providing quality education, tightly connected to every country, forms the fourth Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations.
Yang Yicheng, a Chinese studying at the University of Pennsylvania, who once was a MOOC tutor volunteer in remote regions of China, said: “Technology combined with caring and the relentless efforts of humanity. This is the hope I see for educational equality in our future world. Where technology falls short, human touch comes in.”
President Xi Jinping, in his New Year’s address, said: “China will be a country that has great expectations of its younger generation. A nation will prosper only when its young people thrive. For China to develop further, our young people must step forward and take on their responsibilities. Youth is full of vigor and is a source of hope.”
Youth Power, organized by China Daily and first broadcast in June 2021, aims to build a global platform of communication and exchange, focusing on the interests and ideas of Generation Z. The program comes in the form of interviews, forums and speeches, with topics related to anything of current interest in the world.