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What if more students give up physics? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2017-9-13 11:27:21 |Display all floors

(ECNS) Following new regulations on the gaokao in East China's Zhejiang province and Shanghai, students are required to take exams on three compulsory subjects - Chinese, mathematics and a foreign language. But they can choose three optional ones from politics, history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology and science in other tests.


Only about 80,000 of the total 291,300 test takers in Zhejiang took physics last year, Chinese media reported, while in Shanghai only 30 percent of candidates did the same.


"Compared with other subjects, physics is more difficult," said Sun Guobiao, a veteran physics teacher in Zhejiang's Keqiao Middle School, who added that in the gaokao scoring system, it is difficult to get high marks with fewer students taking the test.


Is the new gaokao exam and scoring system fair? What if more students avoid the physics exam?

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Post time 2017-9-13 11:52:11 |Display all floors
Please don't avoid science and math. The avoidance is a road taken by most of the west from school up to undergraduate levels which has weakened them when they could have achieved more.

Although trained as a chemist and lately delving into fissiles and missiles but not by choice, i can vouch the importance of both science and math for nation-building. Pure science is of course physics, chemistry and biology. The foreign language clubbists may want to add social studies as a science; it's their sniffy privilege.

You need math for everything, especially digital things and precision thinking. And you need physics and chemistry for materials science and pharmacology, the next two areas which i expect China will soon dominate.

It is critically important to have a full command of all subjects under science and math. Especially these days when youngsters tend to take the shortcut of not thinking through from a base of knowledge just because they want to complete the tutorial on time and score in an exam just so they can move on to more exciting but vicarious activities.

Life is not easy; it is mostly about hard work to achieve small successes.  But millions doing their bit will add to a mountain of achievements. All the more important since science and math are reaching present limits of discovery which can only bring incremental marginal returns. So imagine how much harder it will be for others who have left fallow their studies of science and math. China is a scientifically run state but populated with wisey artists; don't waste that combo strength.

Lastly, physics is a most beautiful subject in its own right. It finds the real pattern intelligence inherent in nature and the universe. It however does have one failure. The failure to explain the stupidity and hypocrisy of western politicians and their ilk.

Chinese students have constantly scored first gold rank in the international science and math olympiads pitting against the best of the rest. And their teams even had to procure China's mentors to help them prepare for the competitions.

So magnify, not reduce. Why drop your strengths? You need them for the postgraduate levels next.

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Post time 2017-9-13 13:32:38 |Display all floors
markwu Post time: 2017-9-13 11:52
Please don't avoid science and math. The avoidance is a road taken by most of the west from school u ...

A very thought provoking answer. Physics is a subject that helps us understand how the world around us work, and will help the country achieve a more competitive position in science and technology. The government should give it a second thought to this.

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Post time 2017-9-13 15:38:19 |Display all floors
I agree with Mark Wu (#2). The education department can make science and mathematics compulsory subjects at all levels until college or university. This will make everyone at least grounded in the subjects if not excel. It could be the means for survival in the future.
However,  the teaching methods must also be developed to suit those students who are not inclined to these subjects and must be interesting. Memorising and burning midnight candles should not be the way.

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Post time 2017-9-13 20:39:10 |Display all floors
markwu Post time: 2017-9-13 11:52
Please don't avoid science and math. The avoidance is a road taken by most of the west from school u ...

"The avoidance is a road taken by most of the west from school up to undergraduate levels..."

What nonsense! Have you ever been to the "West" (with a capital "W")??? The "West" starts in EUROPE, man, and no such disaster as you depicted has befallen that part of the world which is revered and referred to as "the Old World".

There still are enough young Europeans that pursue studies in science. Most Nobels are won by Westerners. Just think of modern medicine: it is the U.S.A. that is pioneering in this domain, not China.

Luckily Europeans are free in choosing what they study and the State plays no role in it except to finance studies for deserving students from modest economic backgrounds.

Meanwhile, thanks to free choice, linguists get trained and artists are made and social studies are pursued and a lot else that does not exist in China.

Students who study what they have an innate interest in make for better professionals than students who meekly study what others decide for them. Just look at the growing mountain of unemployable engineers and other academic proles.

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Post time 2017-9-13 20:42:04 |Display all floors
ceciliazhang Post time: 2017-9-13 13:32
A very thought provoking answer. Physics is a subject that helps us understand how the  ...

If physics is your speciality, it does not mean you are going to make valuable contributions to future generations of your compatriots. Au contraire, you may have a restricted view of the world seen through the eyes of a materialist. You will quantify resources and not learn to treat Nature with respect. We need environmentalists and zoologists and botanists and anthropologists to save the planet on which we live. Physicists come a dime a dozen.

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Post time 2017-9-14 09:52:39 |Display all floors
By now the science & math education situation in the west would have degraded further since enrollment and thus knock-on effects would have declined even more from the earlier trends:

https://ec.europa.eu/research/press/2004/pr0204en.cfm
https://www.oecd.org/unitedstates/PISA-2012-results-US.pdf

some of at least fifteen reports:

http://tinyurl.com/yd44gb5q

China, don't listen to the windbag above; he's making sure you lose out in the future.

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