Eight Quickies

Of interest:

1. Wesleyan decides not to open a college in China.

President Michael Roth said that he met on a recent trip to China with potential partners in the venture and it became clear their vision for the school did not line up with Wesleyan’s focus on liberal education.

“Further conversations with those who proposed the partnership have made it clear that our respective goals could not be sufficiently aligned — not to mention the questions we had around issues of academic freedom and the implications for our home campus,” Roth wrote in a campus-wide email.

A Chinese corporation, the Hengdian Group, had invited the private liberal arts school to consider teaming up to open a campus in China. The proposal called for Wesleyan to work with the Shanghai Theatre Academy as an academic partner in the joint venture.

2. China continues its effort to win soft power by donating to African schools.

3. The FT describes the identity crisis in UK boarding schools.

But the German 14-year-old sent to a quiet school in the English countryside had a specific complaint.

He was there to experience the famed British boarding school education, which — despite a tarnished reputation in recent years — is still seen around the world as a defining feature of British culture.

Instead, the boy told his parents, he couldn’t make friends because he couldn’t understand what his roommates were saying. Not because his English wasn’t good enough. But because they were all speaking Mandarin. His parents withdrew him after one term.

4. More on the “brain scan” headbands in the WSJ. This technology seems impossibly dumb.

5. I didn’t realize that the national anthem in China is played multiple times per day.

It’s driving me crazy,” lamented a high school student who is a resident in the community, clearly annoyed, before walking out of his room.

“Now we’re asked to sing the national anthem in school at noon and also during the self-study time in the evening,” he complained to his mother. “Finally, I get home, and the national anthem is also played in our residential community. How come red songs are everywhere I go? They fill my mind, and I unconsciously hum them; it’s impossible to erase them from my head. I’ve become a little neurotic and can’t quiet down to do my homework.”

I wonder how a Chinese authority would read this quote.

a. Oh, good. Kid is humming the songs. It’s working.
b. Uh oh. Kid is irritated. This might be backfiring.

6. Demand for private schools is growing elsewhere in Asia.

Today 359,300 children in China attend the 884 international schools there and 66% of them are Chinese nationals.As more parents realise the international school options accessible to them, so demand will continue to rise.

According to ISC Research, several countries are expected to see significant new international school development in the near future. These include:

Saudi Arabia, where education is an emerging sector for foreign investment

Qatar, which is likely to attract new international school development in the coming years stimulated by its National Vision for 2030

Malaysia, where several areas are experiencing industrial and residential growth and which are currently limited in international school provision

Vietnam which, as a result of legislation change (the enrolment cap for local students at international schools has been increased), will be able to admit more local children into international schools

Japan, where new immigration laws and market confidence are encouraging an influx of expatriates

7. TikToks (short vids) in schools.

Teachers saw this new platform as an educational and recreational opportunity, and supported the creation of after-school TikTok clubs, in which kids meet to discuss current trends on the app and make videos themselves.

Students are accompanied by adult advisers who supervise their activities, and often contests are being held to select the club’s best TikTok.

Some teachers reportedly utilised this trend as a way to immerse kids with various fields of study. A high school teacher from San Jose, California, for instance, had her students make TikTok skits about Newton’s Law for extra credit.

8. Students newspaper at Brookline High, a few miles away from me, interviews a Chinese teacher.

Q: Is there anything specifically that you are nervous about?

A: This is my first time teaching at Public School, so if there’s something nervous about it, its to learn the culture. If you don’t build a positive relationship, anything can turn, go on a different track. So that’s something, if anything, that I’m worried about. That’s the only thing.