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Old 08-16-2012, 06:48 PM
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Jragon Jragon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 10,402
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
This, as well. Even in very good universities, plagiarism and fraud are not only accepted, but actively encouraged. Yes, there are cultural reasons. But it impedes learning. Cheating is also huge. One of my friends specialized in selling tiny radios you put in your ears on test day to cheat with. I know other people who simply cut to the chase and bought their certifications.
I really have to be fair with the plagiarism. It's prevalent, yes, but the cultural reasons are about emulating the masters, rather than redoing the entire history of things that have already been figured out. In some ways the Chinese view is very useful, it doesn't advocate reinventing the wheel like a lot of American schools do.

That said, there are better ways to do it than the way China does, since they take it way, way too far. At my (American) University, in Computer Science we're perfectly allowed to implement standard algorithms or use sample code with attribution, they actively encourage not reinventing the wheel. However, they also specify that we pretend the wheel hasn't been invented yet for the ultimate task of the current class project. In other words, small parts may be recycled, but the whole package must ultimately be novel.

I think for China to really become a power in education, they have to do what Japan did with their manufacturing and technology industry. Japan, culturally, believe that tiny imperfections make the work "complete" or "better" in some fashion. But they're also prudent, and realized nobody wants to buy stuff with imperfections outside of Japan (and nowadays, one may argue, in Japan either), so they abandoned that notion in everything except perhaps art. And lo and behold, their manufacturing and technology industries are some of the best on the planet.

China really could be a world power in a lot of things if it was willing to sit back and evaluate in what ways it can change the "Chinese way" without outright abandoning it to serve their needs. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like they're at the point where they're motivated to fully undergo that introspection and cultural change as a nation (though one can see the mentality them trying on occasion).