应试教育 = Exams-centric Education
放任教育 = Laissez-faire Education
美国[#] 放任教育： 学少悟多 “Teach Less Learn More“
中国[*] 应试教育 ：学多悟少 “Teach More Learn Less“
[#] : 包括 以色列，芬兰，…
[*] : 包括新加坡，法国，韩国，…
The american education before university is considered inferieur to most asian education, because the curriculum is more relaxed, book knowledge gained in school is behind by a year relative to the Asian counterparts. [Note §]
Yet the american universities produce the most inventors, scientists, mathematicians, entrepreneurs. Why? That is due to the “Laissez-faire” education for american kids who have more relaxed time to explore the nature, with keen curriosity for finding scientific truth on their own.
[Note §]: Singaporeans after Junior College “JC” Year-1 (Pre-University 1) can enter directly to good American universities (eg. John Hopkins, Harvard), without the GCE A-level exams certificate. Because Singapore JC Year 2 covers the same curriculum in the USA University Year 1.
The disparity is due to the 1960s UK University Reform which pushed the first year university to pre-University in High schools, thereby shortens the more expensive university years from 4 to 3, and increases the much cheaper pre-University by one more year. Singapore follows the UK GCE system of 2-year Pre-U, without shortening the general Batchelor (non-Honors) degree academic years from 4 to 3 (eg. Engineering).
Japan is an exception from the typical stringent rigor of asian universities. Japan produces a Japanese Nobel Prize each year. Why? Notice these Japanese Nobel scientists do not come from top universities (where exams are very competitive) but the “second-rank” universities.
France is declining from the 19CE scientific grandeur also due to the Grandes Ecoles (Elite Universities) Concours competitive Entrance Exams – introduced from the ancient China Imperial Exams (科举) by Napoleon Bonaparte for his military Ecole Polytechnique (“X” ) – since then it has spread to entire France in last 200 years. Each year the top 1% of high school French talented kids are sent to these “cramped” schools (Classes Préparatoires) to study like “Taupes” (Moles) for 2 to 3 years, “no-day-no-night” to prepare for the competitive exams in Advanced Math. After the Concours, these “successful” but totally exhausted students no longer are keen to study as hard but their prestigious career guaranteed after being “X Diplômé” . President Emanuel Macron failed twice in such Concours, as did the “Father of Modern Math” Evariste Galois in the French Revolution.
Similarly the 应试教育 in China 科举 was first introduced since 600AD 隋朝 till 1905. Many top Imperial scholars (进士，状元，榜眼，探花) are unknown in history today, but the many failed scholars made tremendous contributions in science, math, literature (曹雪芹，) , medicine （李时珍）and military （左宗棠，曾国藩） … also some revolted against the ruling dynasties (黄巢, 洪秀全) . Today the Chinese “Gaokao” (高考) University Entrance Exams since 1980s has produced millions of graduates each year, but there is still ZERO Nobel Prize or Math Fields Medal in the past 40 years, compared to those world-class scientists (Nobel Physicists 杨振宁, 李政道, Nobel Medicine 屠呦呦， 钱学森， 钱三强， 钱伟长，… ) & mathematicians (陈省身, 吴文俊, 华罗庚, 苏步青,… ) educated before 1949. Why? This question has been the “Paradox” asked by 钱学森 to the Chiness Primier 温家宝，also known as the “陈省身 Conjecture“. [The answer is in this blog title ! ]
Other competitive education countries fall into the same “Paradox” are Korea & Singapore – Any of the Oxf-Bridge or Ivy League Universities trained, among the 200+ President scjolars or 400+ SAF / Police scholars or few thousand Colombo / PSC scholars since 1965, has won a Nobel Prize or Fields Medal or any reputed international scientific award? NONE !
A late boomer, he invented Lithium battery (bought by SONY) at 90 years old:
克隆之父 Nobel (2012) Medicine : another “hopeless” student in the eyes of his professors.