A recent international survey has compared the various countries (around sixty five in number) for measuring the performance of the school children in the fields of mathematics, science and reading abilities. Not surprisingly, the Asian countries came out on top, with China, Singapore and South Korea topping the list. In the Asian countries, education as a field, has a pride of place and is given top priority. The children United States performed somewhat diffidently in this study and stood at 15th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in mathematics. At the first glance, it may appear that the US children are lagging behind in several fields. But, I don’t think so.
Even in India, the poorest of poor, beg, steal or borrow to educate their children in the hope of bettering their lives through their children. In India, children are sent to schools at the very tender age of two. They call them play schools. Even there, they are taught something. Indeed, if you don’t admit your child at the age of two, you will find it very difficult to get them admitted at a later age. The Asian children are crammed with knowledge at a very young age when they should actually be out playing. In India, hardly any child is allowed to play. Even very young children are forced to study for hours, after coming home from the school. Every child is expected to be at the top of the class. The parents do not even think for a moment as to how they performed in the school when they were children.
In general, the Asian children are far ahead of their US and European counterparts up to age of 12 to 14. It is my belief that the other children overtake them at this stage. This is mainly because in countries like the US, the children are allowed to develop in the normal way, nurturing the creative talents of the children. More importantly, the children acquire real and useful knowledge which they learn to apply at a later stage of their life. It is no wonder that the Western countries bag most of the Nobel Prizes which represent the real yardstick for scientific proficiency.