In December, China stunned the world when the most widely used international education assessment revealed that Shanghai’s schools now outperform those of any other country—not only in math and science but also in reading. Some education experts have attributed these results to recent reforms undertaken by the Chinese government. Jiang Xueqin has been active in Chinese education since 1998, when as a Yale undergraduate he taught for six months at one of the top high schools in China, Beida Fuzhong, or the Affiliated High School of Peking University.
A Canadian citizen whose parents emigrated from China, Jiang, who is thirty-seven, helped establish an experimental high-school program in Shenzhen in 2008 and now works for Tsinghua Fuzhong, Tsinghua University’s Affiliated High School. He just published a book in China called Creative China about his experiences in Chinese public schools. I spoke to him in Beijing in late March about the future of education in China.