There are major differences between the two educational approaches. Nevertheless, each of the distinct characteristics of Asian and Western education are vital in shaping personalities and outlooks of students.
Education in most Asian countries can be defined as teacher-centered. The teacher provides everything like instructions, reading materials, assignments, and such for the student. Ranking and grades are predominantly taken from exams, quizzes, and activities on a score/numerical basis.
For Asian education, students are rarely asked to be part of the teaching process. They are expected to listen and remember the topics they are taught to them. Students asking questions for clarification and debates about a subject are usually only by the prerogative of the teacher. Interaction between student and teacher is rarely close-knit, with emphasis on the authority of the teacher and the complicity of the student in listening.
The seriousness and strictness of the nature of education in Asian countries have recently taken their universities to the top of world rankings. A style that focuses on the internalization of topics, whether by memorization or repetition, excels in producing students that are well-rounded and highly competitive.
However, the rise of its education systems’ rank comes with the rise of the pressure experienced by the students. The scheduled 8-hour school days are usually coupled by extracurricular activities (or after-school classes). Curriculums are complete to a fault, covering a wide variety of subjects that aim to instill (at least) the basics of every subject under the sun. The norm is excellence; putting the students in a sink or swim situation.
Regardless, Asian education produces results for a competitive world. The robustness of its curriculum is treated as a necessity for person to be useful in society. Where a solid foundation in education ensures a brighter opportunity in whatever you choose to pursue later on in life.
On the other hand, Western education prioritizes on the individual and nurtures the excitement of learning. Exams, quizzes, and activities are still the cornerstone of its grading system, but rather than it being focused on memorization and recall, open-ended questions that gauge the level of understanding of the subject is used.
Western education highlights interaction and communication between its teachers and students. Books and content are only used as a resource and not a bible to conform to. Teachers are not absolute truths but mediums of confirmation and correction. Because of the ease of choice and instructions, students are less pressured and given more time to express themselves and pursue their passions.
However, the freedom this system provides results in glaring gaps on the curriculum. The mode of instruction requires the student to have or acquire interest in the subject before they excel in it, or at least be proficient. Western students are lagging behind in standardized tests, specifically reading comprehension, math, and science.
The pillars of Western education (interaction and communication) create great individuals for the society. Progress of a student rather than a class, ensures each child is learning. There are portions where it needs to be reassessed and instructions that needs more emphasis, but these cons are easily adjusted. Overall, the liberal, critical-thinking, and confrontational ideas that come from this system.