南柯一梦

With ❤️ by John Z.
Have A Little Faith.

Pursuit
Journal

Pursuit

Thoughts on Mathematical Modeling Class
Journal

Thoughts on Mathematical Modeling Class

The following text is an excerpt from my diary written on the day of my first mathematical modeling class. I excised the title because the original one is, though fun, indeed tedious. The title was: Totally Arbitrary Thoughts Brought by the Crisp Autumn Breeze about My First Mathematical Modeling Class

Thoughts on Social Problems and Education
Journal, Review

Thoughts on Social Problems and Education

On 16 July 2008, after sixteen infants in Gansu Province were diagnosed with kidney stones, the 2008 Chinese milk scandal involving illegal addition of Melamine intended to pass the quality test broke out. During recent years, an increasing number of problems involving food safety, product safety, and social justice have been revealed in the society in China. China is now confronting unprecedented societal challenges, and the responsibility of solving them has fallen on the shoulder of our generation.

Although the public blame fell on the Sanlu Group, it shouldn’t all be the Sanlu Group’s negligence, because melamine was not an item in the checklist of the safety test before the scandal. Some investigations were conducted by the media and conclusions have been drawn that melamine came from the urea added by the farmers ignorant of the hazard of urea merely wishing to make more profit. The Chinese society is now in a state when a lot of people don’t know what they are doing, alike the diary farmers. Despite the problem of knowledge itself, the result-oriented inclination rooted deeply in people’s mind leads people to behave in a way that decreases the welfare of the society.

The whole fault originates from the current education. One must acknowledge that the Chinese miracle is attributed to the basic education proposed by Chairman Deng Xiaoping to a large extent in the last century. However, the education mode has always had to be adjusted to meet the current demand of the country. In the contemporary China, Huangpu Military School from where many great generals were graduated saved China from being destroyed and thus changed the Chinese history completely. Similarly, when Deng founded the education system we see right now, he was aiming to have skilled workers to promote the industrialization of the country. The whole plan did work well, however, when China has entered a new era, the education must be adjusted correspondingly.

As the China economy grows, essential education resources have become increasingly available to conduct the change. Some experimental schools have been founded trying to revolutionize the basic education. The new syllabi released have been expanding the fields students are exposed to allowing them to explore more and focusing more on the ability to analyze and judge. Social justice has been addressed more frequently than ever before. Private education has emerged in big cities. Meanwhile in the section of higher education, leading universities have adopted a more open atmosphere of education making higher education differentiate from the basic one. However, as long as the current student selection system (through mainly standardized means) exist, people would still see the result as the pursuit.

The circumstance right now is a dilemma: standardized means are the only way to ensure relative equality of access to education, especially for people in remote area where educational resources are not that abundant; on the other hand, standardized means of evaluation plant the root of result-orientation in people’s mind and usually discourage personal pursuit, preventing the further development of China. Fortunately, we could reference to the developed countries. Public-private cooperation should be introduced to the education sector to provoke the development of elite education. However, careful regulation is needed to balance the resources to maintain equality. Standardized tests should be inclined to become a low requirement but not a way of selection. Technology like MOOC should be employed to offer low-cost education and equal opportunities to the people in remote areas. A more generalized education should be provided, much alike the liberal arts and science education in the United States, promoting students not merely to expertize in certain fields, but also learn more broadly to become responsible citizens. Science and technology have been overly stressed during the past decades, which is appropriate before because of the demand of labors.

The fast-food-like test-oriented education has created miracle for China but meanwhile left underlying hazards which have begun to emerge for the Chinese society. It lacks essential vitamins for the giant China to grow stronger if no change is made. Our generation should make efforts in reforming the education system by special care through various means, including altering the testing system, employing technology, changing modes and orientations of education, etc., thus alleviating social tensions and problems that are potentially harmful enough to collapse the nation.

Book Review: The Traveler’s Gift
Review

Book Review: The Traveler’s Gift

Life hardly goes well all the time.

We are confronted with either large obstacles or small difficulties at least at some points in our lives. We tend to give in or even give up when the problem seems to be beyond our capability and the future seems to be beyond our reach. Continue reading …