Engineering and Technology

The “Win or Nothing” Mantra in Chinese Classrooms

Leave no one behind—that’s just something unheard of when it comes to education in China. Learning is defined as a competitive experience. From an early age, students are encouraged to excel each other, and sciences and math classes are often used as the core programs to identify the extraordinaire from the mediocre. After all, in a country of 1.3 billion, you just gotta compete—and compete well—to succeed.

Now let’s fast-forward to see what it’s like when these students reach college age. Often the crème de la crème from their high school graduating class, engineering freshmen in China are expected to have come with a solid grasp of various design principles right from the first day of class. College is, well, just another testing ground to determine who’s the best among equal. When these students graduate from college, they are certain to form a formidably reliable and low-cost workforce that has been key in helping China become an outsourcing powerhouse in merely a decade China is today the largest producer of engineering graduates in the world, with some 600,000 passing out of its colleges and universities last year.

Compared to India and China, the United States produces only 70,000 engineering graduates every year. All of Europe produces just 100,000.

Chinese engineering and technology have developed rapidly since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. This growth has been especially dramatic following the adoption of national reform and openness policies nearly 20 years ago. Our nation has trained a large number of skilled engineers and technicians across a range of disciplines. These professionals have played a major role in the development of the national economy, in the continuous improvement of quality of life for all Chinese, and in the advancement of science and technology around the world.