As nations battle the future of food security at the World Trade Organisation in Bali, China and India are going though dynamic social changes of their own – while one grapples with rethinking the education system, the other is realizing the strength of her women.
In India a spate of women are rising up against harassment meted out to them in the workplace, home or on the streets. The slew of rape, molestation and sexual harassment cases being filed in India, is on the rise and feminists attribute it to the growing voice of women who are slowly yet surely making themselves heard.
Having a neighbour who deems women hold up half the sky is beneficial to India who should take a leaf out of China’s treatment of women. Indian men need to realise that women are not inferior or sexual objects. Through these gradual awakenings, Indian men and the world are realising that Indian women will not stand to be subjugated any longer. While headlines might make many to think India is an unsafe country to travel in, the fact that these cases are coming to light is a sign of the times – that women and the media want things to change. Women aren’t going to take lewd comments, snide advances or male domination lying down anymore, the indecent incidents will be made public hopefully until women get on a more equal keel as men.
Whether times, attitudes or laws will change is anyones guess. However as long as these stories are getting their due, justice is being met and people are coalescing for safer streets, India has hopes to improve the state of her women. With companies educating their employees about sexual harassment, fathers informing their daughters and embassy’s issuing notices, the word has got out there, Its now up to Indians to use this knowledge positively and make a change for her better half.
Meanwhile in China, as more parents and high school students gain disillusioned by the existing rote based educational system an increasing number of Chinese students are choosing to go abroad to study at younger ages. Chinese youth have flooded American, European and Australian universities and represent the largest communities in a majority of them. Tired with memorization and a strong focus on maths and science skills earlier lauded by educationists, Chinese youth are now finding huge faults in their learning processes.
The documentary 2 million minutes or approximately four years spent by American students in high school chronicles the differences between students in India, China and the US. The poignant and though provoking documentary created a controversy around the time of its release as American students didn’t feel as prepared for the practical sciences as Indians or Chinese. While the documentary helped debate allowing American school students to choose their subjects and an emphasis on the arts as much as sciences, it also showed that the American system would lack engineers, doctors and scientists in the next 20 years. Similarly, it also caste a shadow of doubt on the Indian and Chinese education systems for being so focused on the sciences and not honing an individuals all round development. The consensus? while a mixture of educational systems is preferred, there isn’t just one way to teach – education needs to evolve with the times, remain innovative and allow students to think within measure.
The advent of International baccalaureate schools in India has drastically transformed the educational landscape in urban India. Focusing on the holistic development of a student, the UK based IB board enables innovative thinking and analytical teaching. While it will definitely benefit to China to move away from rote based learning and take a leaf out of India’s education textbooks, the system of indoctrination is so ingrained in China that this might be a tough habit to shake.