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A comparison of Education in the East and West

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A comparison of Education in the East and West

Eastern and Western education have distinct contrast between them.

Education in the West emphasizes on learning that involves children to

actively participate in class with teacher and with their peers in group discussions.

In contrast, education in the East focuses on learning in the class where

students have limited opportunity to interact with teachers and their class

friends. Teachers teach and listen and student – the old talk and chalk style.


In Malaysia local graduate unemployment is high because pupils are unable

to think critically. However, in Malaysia the government is taking a more

westernized approach so that students have the chance to speak or voice

their thoughts.


In Western countries, education is student centered. Students are encouraged

to learn independently and take charge of their own learning whereas in Eastern

countries, teachers keep control of teaching. Students gain knowledge through

spoon-feeding, instead of exploration and discovery.


Consequently, Eastern students are highly dependent on teachers – when

looking for answers. This is changing. For example, China is increasing guiding

its students to think critically and discover their own potential abilities to make

them ready and for employment.  These Eastern governments recognize this

importance to the future success of its economy and there is a cleear shift away

from memorizing to Western education which emphasizes on understanding.

Education of this country has started to encourage teachers to teach the

students by using critical thinking and reasoning skills so that they can think

and understand what had been taught in the classroom and in a variety of

contexts rather than simply memorizing the facts in the textbooks.


Another important point is, in Eastern schools the relationship between teachers

and friends is based upon respect for the teacher, whereas in the West the

relationship between teacher-student is one of friendship, compassion and love.

In these schools, good interpersonal relationship is recognized for enhanced

student outcomes in learning as children enjoy learning.


A future educational system should synthesis education that utilizes both Eastern

and Western educational philosophies. The Eastern education philosophy

stresses on using education in delivering an ideal life of an individual that brings

a good life style while Western education philosophy looks at developing

knowledgeable and skilfully competent students who are prepared for the economy.

When students develop moral standards are competent as well as are able to

contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, the community and the

country – then isn’t a successful educational system?