During the last week of term 1 and into the term break I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of an Education Delegation to China. This was organised by Hangzhou University of Science and Technology (HUST), Wuhan and the Confucius Institute University Canterbury (CIUC). The delegation included professors from UC, leaders from High Schools in Christchurch and Dunedin, and a primary principal from the city. Over the 12 days, we experienced amazing sights, food, and hospitality and explored education in China.

We arrived in Beijing on a Sunday morning. There had been national holidays during the week prior so schools and businesses were operating as a regular weekday. The trip was a wonderful mix of historic sites, delicious food and educational experience. Sites visited included;

  • Beijing Olympic Park
  • The Summer Palace
  • The Great Wall
  • Beihai Park
  • The Forbidden City
  • Xiangyang City
  • Tangcheng Film and Television Studios
  • Hubei Provincial Museum
  • Yellow Crane Tower
  • Yangtze River Dinner Cruise
  • Yu Park
  • Oriental Pearl Tower


Building Summer Palace, Beijing

Great Wall

Yellow Crane Tower

Beihai Park, Beijing

A family at the Forbidden City










We were privileged to visit a high school, middle school and primary school and listened to lectures from Professors and HUST about the education system and China’s move to mass education. As you know there are big differences between the education systems of both countries.

In China;

  • they attend school for more days in the calendar year
  • the school day is longer
  • there is fierce competition for University places
  • there are more tests and exams
  • education is highly valued and teachers greatly respected
  • core aspects of history are learned and known
  • specialist teachers are used, even in primary schools
  • class sizes are much bigger.

I wonder what we might change in our system and what we can learn from the Chinese system. I don’t think we value education in New Zealand and that is due to our small size and easy access to higher learning. The whole population of New Zealand is the same size as a small city in China. It would be impossible for anyone who wanted to learn more to attend university in China! Each year they have 5 million graduates!

People everywhere we went were proud of their history and achievements, whether as an institution or an individual. Education is seen as a pathway to success.

Being part of the delegation was a huge honour. It was 12 days of lively discussion and debate. As part of our delegation, we had Chinese-born members who provided commentary on sites, systems and history. It was a study tour that provided continuous experiential learning. I got to live our values of being curious, capable and caring and I look forward to being able to host visitors from China through HUST and CIUC in the future.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This