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 focusses 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 westernised approach so that students have the chance to speak or voice their thoughts.
In Western countries, education is student centred. 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 recognise 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 recognised 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?