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教育是核心竞争力

今天无意中看到slashdot.org的一则新闻讲的是中国吸引海外人才回国的事情China Luring Scientists Back Home。文章的投递者很为美国的前途担忧,质疑科研部门是否要培养这些未来将会报效祖国的学生。鬼子们下面的跟贴很直白,你可以看出民族主义,或者是大国主义,下面摘录一些我觉得有特色的段落和大家分享:

As alluded in the article, Chinese science remains far behind, especially because of rampant cronyism in academia as well as government. But, if more Chinese students go back, it could damage the US’s technology lead. A large percentage of PhD students in the US are from China. Also, the typical PhD student has their tuition paid for and receives a salary. Does it make sense to invest in their training if they will do their major work elsewhere?"

f the US as a whole isn’t providing a sufficient incentive for these students to remain here and China is, then I’d say that the problem is mostly our doing. Give them a good reason to stay and they most likely will, treat them like crap and they’ll leave.

Brain drain sucks even worse for the people who live in the country the person receiving a PhD emigrated from. For instance, there are more doctors in the born in Ethiopia living in just the Washington, DC area than there are doctors in the entire country of Ethiopia. How does a country recover from such a tremendous brain drain and address major social ills like rampant poverty, famine, and endemic corruption when the very people who might be best able to assist with their own experience and knowledge do not return to their native country because there is nothing to return to and no reasonable job prospects? Why must the US retain as many of their foreign born individuals who received their PhD in the US, when under the right conditions these PhD holders could help their own country far more than any kind of work they do in the US? I’m not suggesting we force these people to return or even expect them to return, especially when there is nothing to return to. But then again I see nothing wrong with ti US offering grants and other forms of aid to underdeveloped countries so that they can improve their situation with respect to development and improve the local economy. This would come with the explicit expectation that these governments spend the money wisely, and steps are taken so that as little money as possible is wasted by corruption. 这位仁兄还是说了句公道话

On the other hand, sending back western educated scientists and engineers to China can’t help but better relations between the east and the west. People accustomed to western culture who have move back to China to fill high paying positions in Chinese academia and industry are much more likely to think well of the west than those who were fully brought up, raised, and educated under the Communist Party of China. (Not to say that relations between China and the west are bad at the moment, they’re probably near as good as they ever have been at the moment). 感觉对中国相当有偏见

That doesn’t have to be the case. When I worked as a Post-Doc in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 2000, we had a Chinese co-worker who just got his Ph.D. and was working also as a post-doc. He got a letter from the Chinese authorities in which he was invited to come back to China. He was promised a job as a professor at a university there. I don’t remember wether he went there to have a look before he moved, but after he moved we got a heartbreaking email from his wife who told us that this so-called ‘professorship’ didn’t exist, and the authorities had given them room to live in a house together with 9(!) other families. This was a big setback for her, being used to the standard of living here in NL. Her husband had a better job here than he had gotten in China. And of course there was no way this poor guy and his family were allowed to come back to the Netherlands. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens a lot with Chinese people who are drawn back to China by their government. 不知道这个事情是否属实,除非从事了特殊专业,要不应该可以再次选择的。

It has nothing to do with their education and everything to do with taxpayers money being used (in the form of grants) to pay for that education. But apparently you’re just one of the many billions who think that the US exists solely to be the global sugar daddy. 都扯到美国纳税人了,不过还是有智者存在,下面的回复说:apparently you’re just one of the many billions who think that the US exists solely.

Here’s where I think the main problem actually is: We actually send home some who do want to stay. And that is a true wasted opportunity. I’ve met a couple of very smart people in my days as a grad student that were sent home even though they wanted to stay. Visa expired, couldn’t find a job in time or some other such nonsense. If you have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, you are not likely to be a drag on society, even if you don’t wind up employed in your first six months out. And now they are in China, Germany, India, or Mexico, working and contributing in those economies and using all the tools and education they got courtesy of Uncle Sam. We should make it easier for them. And yes, I have real people in mind that I am typing about.

I think the whole situation is ironic. Quite often when I hear stories about immigrants with degrees getting jobs in the USA, people go ballistic about how they are stealing Americans’ jobs and depressing wages.When they go back to their home country, people then complain about a brain drain and about how they should make a ‘contribution’ to the country that educated them (never mind that they paid highly inflated tuition and quite often even their graduate education was paid for by moneys outside of the USA + grad students essentially work for $10 an hour – slave wages).So they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

I lived in China for one year teaching high school students and one thing I noticed in general while students were brilliant at chemistry, maths, physics, etc. when solving text book problems, many seemed to be struggling with coming up with new concepts, and in some cases applying what they learnt into new areas. Many struggled when told ‘I want x as the end result’ without any explanation of the process to achieve the end result. It seems most of the science study was just pure memorizing of facts and figures. I found the same later on when managing some staff from Asia, although very dedicated and hard working they required additional guidance on what processes to use to achieve a goal. There seemed to be a strong sense of ‘copy wherever possible’ (why re-create it, if somebody already has?) My students had to do ‘school’, ‘city’, and ‘provincial exams’ The complained the provincial exams ‘didn’t allow copying’ Another instance of this was when a foreign professor in Chinese university was fired when failing students for work that had obviously been copied from another source. I think US / Europe still had lead on creativity which can be an important factor when coming up with new solutions / ideas. Not to say the Chinese can’t, and it will be interesting to see how they go, but I don’t think the number of PhD’s alone will decide whether US or China has technology lead. It will also depend on how much further China restricts internet access as the number of internet sites being blocked continues to increase, it certainly frustrates me that even though I have a large network of friends in China working in technology social networking / YouTube continues to be blocked there, and alternatives to access these sites such as proxies / VPN are illegal – and often if detected are blocked. For my friends in China who have studied overseas and since moved back to China they are constantly complaining about fact sites like facebook,twitter, youtube no longer work.

基本摘录了自己感兴趣的内容,读后感就是有些美国在担心自己不再是老大的苦日子。中国和发达国家还是有差距,他们看得清楚,我们也看得清楚。教育以及互联网问题我觉得很重要。如果说互联网的审查是当前中国现有的特殊国情,因为中国还有很多无法分辨是非容易冲动的群众,我在想那么改变这一现状的唯一途径就是从教育出发。这应该是一个渐进的过程,我还是相信随着社会的进步,一代人比一代人在思想上更加趋于开放和温和,最终的社会形态有可能是逐渐的改善,变得更加和谐和具有人文气息。教育工作者任重而道远。

另外向那些同工不同酬的贫困地区的代课教师们致敬!

PS: 我在考虑互联网与信息技术可以在多大程度上改善贫困地区教育的问题,不过教育在一开始更重要的也许是言传身教和耳濡目染。

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Categories: research
  1. 涛瑞
    January 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    hi 可以转载到校内么?我是上海交通大学密西根联合学院的学生,学院的教育体制跟国外非常接近,但是你能想象一直在应试教育下的我们是如何接受世界最好的教育的 当看到那句There seemed to be a strong sense of \’copy wherever possible\’快笑死我了……可喜的是 有很多同学已经在密西根大学深造并以融入那边的生活啦 他们不久也会面临回国还是留美的选择 希望你的文章能对他们有所启示期待你的回复

  2. Junyan
    January 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    @涛瑞: 欢迎转贴,注明出处给个原文链接就ok啦:)

  3. 猫猫
    January 18, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    写的很好。我在瑞典也经常看到一些人对有关中国的新闻进行评论,譬如吉利收购沃尔沃等事件,很有意思,有空也贴一贴。

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