Today’s controversy over the stabbing of a Fudan teacher and the university system comes at a time when I have been taking the college entrance exam for four years and will be defending my undergraduate thesis in the morning, which makes me want to express some opinions. Although I seldom express my views on other social phenomena and issues, this one is directly related to the education system that I have been most concerned about since college. If a socially inactive person commits a murder, we can say that something is wrong with him as a person, then it is impossible that a top-four Chinese university math teacher, a person who is inconceivably a direct danger to society, should not reflect on the killing of a colleague.
If I still have any so-called dream after all this time, I still want to be a university teacher; if I still want to make any small contribution to society, I still want to finish my PhD and return to China to do education. I do not know how long this idea will continue, and I do not know how many years will prove that I really do not have the ability and qualifications (qualification test is so difficult …) But at least now it is still on my mind every day. This is one of the main reasons why I keep insisting on studying abroad for my PhD. When I stop thinking about it, that’s when I completely just pursue my own life.
Overall, as a student who has attended four years of so-called 985/211 level undergraduate studies in mainland China, the Chinese education system as I see it is still full of holes – I like that adjective too much to describe it. I don’t know how good China’s economy is now, I don’t know if Huawei, Tencent, and Ali are about to flip to beat Apple, Google, and Microsoft, I don’t know how many industries are already at the top internationally, but I clearly conclude that the current state of the education system is riddled with holes…
Or use the “Shanghai Jiao Tong University Survival Manual,” a booklet written 13 years ago and describes a problem that has surprisingly not been solved in the slightest, with its opening first sentence says, “Students, at the beginning of this book, I have to regret to tell you a message. The vast majority of undergraduate teaching in the country’s universities is not on the verge of collapse, but has long since collapsed. Here, I have no intention of arguing whether Fudan, CSU, or Tsinghua or Peking University have collapsed a little less than we have-there is no point in such an argument. I just see countless students full of curiosity, passion, and young dreams, who will give their four years of youth to the university, full of hope and trust to shape. This makes me feel very uneasy. “
Whether it is the fact that students find that classes at university delay their studies, or that what they learn at university is simply not enough for them to acquire the skills they need to get ahead in society, or that students at China’s top universities have reached the point where they are worried about life, or that excessive competitive pressure leads to perverse competition among students, or that perverse assessment methods make young teachers miserable, or that These problems all point to the systemic problems of the education system. I am not sure if this is the right way to describe it – although the reform and opening up thirty years ago has transformed the economic system from an unscientific planned economy to a market economy that can actually lead to wealth, I am afraid that the university education system is still stuck in that “planned” era (the “planned” era). I am afraid that the university education system is still stuck in the era of “planning” (I know you can’t generalize between doing economics and learning, but there are always many similarities).
In my four years as an undergraduate, since I realized this problem, I have been observing the professors and students around me, and almost every day I think about whether Chinese education is still saved or not, or how to save it, or whether I am just moaning. I can continue to see the later generations who are getting better, smarter, and more hands-on with each passing year, but it is always a little hard for me to think that they are going to waste the same amount of time with some teachers who once wasted our time. Are there good classrooms in China? Yes, but (just looking at my major) they may be at Tsinghua at Peking University, but not much at Jiaotong University Fudan Zhejiang University and others (for some majors I’m afraid they are just barely or not at all) – and even Tsinghua can get Even Tsinghua can get such things as “homework to create a mine classroom” to be taken as a joke in the international arena – but a good education is only worthy of less than one in ten thousand people?
I see people criticizing the appraisal system, especially the 6-year appraisal “tenure track” system. This is not a system that Chinese leaders came up with, but a system that has been operating steadily in the academic circles of Europe and the United States and has been steadily promoting the advancement of human knowledge, so why not in China? There is a general consensus that the only reason for the failure is the thesis theory, but is this really the only reason? I am afraid not. My current conclusion is that the problem is one of “trust”. You could say that Chinese people do not trust Chinese people, or you could say that in order to be fair, we are formally afraid to make purely subjective criteria, so we must have the number of papers as an objective indicator, and we would rather “trust ” (although we all know it by heart) that people who have flooded ten papers are academically competent, rather than trusting people who are down-to-earth and researching difficult issues without publishing papers (because they cannot break the rules). It is because of the evil of human nature that this game is too difficult – when there are no hard targets, I am afraid corruption will strike again. But if you have worked in a serious scientific research group, you must be able to understand that whether a person has academic ability or not, it only takes a few “people who do have academic ability “The next paragraph may be more violent. (This latter paragraph may be more violent theory) I think this is one of the reasons why this system can operate in developed countries in Europe and the United States. Because for some unknown reason – perhaps it was the early accumulation of capital that produced a group of extremely materially rich and intelligent academic masters – produced “people who do have academic ability,” and the team that can assess standards without the number of papers just keeps renewing and growing afterwards. If you have been in contact with serious academic circles, you must be able to know a large group of people who are genuinely fond of learning and have little desire for power or profit – or rather, knowledge is their only interest.
This means that there are problems with our direct transplantation of the system – the card papers, which are not in line with the laws of scientific research, and the selection of people, which creates a cronyism academic valve. Unfortunately, it is surprising that we have done both of these things at the same time. And the only people hurt are academics, teachers who genuinely love academics, and knowledge itself. There are actually more nuanced issues – such as one-size-fits-all. I really want to ask the people who give such standards, can you tell what the difference is between high quality research in the two specialties of biochemistry and environmental materials? In the computer science that I can see with my naked eyes, even for this one major, the standard of a high quality research is very different for the study of machine learning, the study of computational complexity, the study of operating systems and the study of programming languages; even for my own small enough direction of programming language theory, the study of static analysis, the study of formal verification, the study of software testing, the study of Even in my own small enough area of programming language theory, the criteria for a quality result are very different for those studying static analysis, formal verification, software testing, program generation, type systems, and quantum programming languages. Not to mention across specialties, across large fields, and across the entire academic community.
I don’t know if it will get better, or how it should get better, but I see two hopes at my university all the same – one is that our university is still bringing in a group of (still small percentage) teachers who respect academics, respect knowledge, respect students while being bright and young and talented, and they are getting the respect and freedom they deserve, which shows that Everyone understands that this problem must be changed; secondly, a center has been established in our major, the same center into which my undergraduate advisor was recruited. This center in my eyes has almost the status of Shenzhen in the reform and opening up. It was almost like an artificially imposed utopia on the old system, in which teachers could indeed have an experience that approximated (though only approximated) the academic environment of the European and American academia. This utopia is just three years old, and the teachers in it are still so-called “temporary workers,” but they are already contributing high-quality courses and high-quality scholarship to our profession – and there are But it is already contributing high quality courses and high quality scholarship to our program – and many of them are actually produced with undergraduate students. I don’t know how long this utopia will last, but it may represent a hope.
Another issue is the conflict between classes and research. What I still haven’t understood is why university teachers, whether in China or in developed countries in Europe and the United States, must have research skills, and why most researchers have to teach classes to undergraduates – why make such a crucial job as education a side job for someone? There is a very strong difference between these two things – research is about discovering undiscovered knowledge and creating something completely new, and those things are often confusing, not yet summarized, and exist in the brains and computers of researchers, and the textbooks we study in universities are often the summaries of recent decades or even centuries of scholarship by scholars with decades of academic experience. The textbooks we study in universities are often summaries of the academic results of the last few decades or even a hundred years by scholars with decades of academic experience – whether a course is good or not depends on whether these confusing results are clearly explained – and this is not a necessary ability to do research – to do Research just needs to be able to summarize what has been done in the past few years, even if it is very confusing, for an audience that can understand it.
If I were to expect anything from the university education system, I would expect the separation of science and education and the adoption of a different assessment mechanism altogether. The person who teaches the class should be properly evaluated to see if he can teach the students well, and the person who conducts research should be properly evaluated to see if he can really do the study.
In the computer science education system that I can see with my naked eyes, I am afraid that China has a gap of 15 to 20 years from the U.S. scientific research – or rather, the AI field that has seized the AI wave has little gap in Qingbei, Fuxiao, Zhejiang, and Kernan, but there is a gap that is difficult to see in the better schools nationwide; and in the most basic theoretical computer science, I am afraid there is less than 20 years. In the most basic theoretical computer science, I’m afraid there are less than ten talented scholars holding up a piece of China’s sky (in the top thirty universities in the United States, I’m afraid there are such people); in the most basic programming language theory field, there are less than twenty people holding up that piece of sky (while in Europe, the most obscure and unnamed universities have such level of professors inside).
I am afraid that China is about ten to twenty years away from the U.S. undergraduate curriculum – depending on how the education system is improved, how real scholars are recruited, and how the assholes that tarnish academia are steadily eliminated. In my eyes, this is the question that will determine the survival of Chinese university education in the next twenty years.
Even if the college entrance examination is cruel enough and has too many irrationalities, it is formally fair enough on the one hand, and on the other hand, it has actually screened a group of really good students for China. I sincerely hope that our potential can be catalyzed by education into real learning and national literacy, instead of being absorbed by the university education system to sap our energy and sap our interest as it is now; instead of being like this, many people find themselves studying hard for more than a decade, only to be fed by the school they once dreamed of*; instead of the way it is now, many people who should be the driving force of development have to preserve their own acreage first, and go to the disgusting competition just to have the chance to act as a completely unplayable twenty-odd years of learning for what should be a quality life that can be obtained without much effort “Screws”
A little off-topic.
I’ve had the idea of staying in academia since about middle school, when my passion was math. I have to say that I was crazy about math during those three years – probably because of the simplicity. I would take the initiative to learn farther, and I liked to make the problems harder, and I often worked out some theorems and proofs on my own earlier than “seeing the conclusions in the textbook”. Techniques. Although they were simple conclusions, now, on the eve of my PhD, I know how valuable it is to have the ability to actively discover even simple conclusions. Those two or three years when I didn’t have any real competition, but simply learned whatever I wanted to learn, was a time when I felt (and didn’t just believe) that mathematics was wonderful from the inside.
Starting in high school, for some complicated reason (due in large part to starting competitions), I had gradually lost that enthusiasm from then on – until perhaps the day before the first month of competition in my senior year when my love of math died out completely, to the point of threatening never to touch it again. But I still had illusions about academia – I still believed in the beauty of knowledge, I just didn’t like math as an academic discipline anymore. I think it had a lot to do with my high school physics teacher, because he never taught us just the test, I guess he really taught physics, as well as natural philosophy. I don’t know if it’s because she was a freshman, but architecture is a perfect and erudite profession that combines physics, art, history, culture, etc. in her picture. In general, before college I basically had felt the beauty of learning, but also had too high illusions about the academic world. That year, I just wanted to go to these two fantasy majors to do my studies. When I heard that many professors were in the “San Ching group”, I threatened to join them.
In the end, I didn’t pass the entrance exam, but my score was always good, and as a typical lucky person with vested interests, I listened to my parents and chose the hot major of computer science. But I was really surprised because this major, which I had chosen by following the trend and which I thought was focused on making money, although not too involved in art, history and culture, turned out to be a science that stood on the shoulders of mathematics and logic (philosophy) and was also able to build new art and culture by the way – I thought I would still only be able to make money, but I didn’t realize that it still hid treasures. I really like it quite a lot, so I am quite lucky, so I still want to stay in this academic world, hoping to spread good knowledge to those who like it. But I’m afraid this thing is far more difficult than I can imagine, because my ability is just too low and too low now.