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Chinese students scored first in math, science and reading. Is this very bad news for the West?

By January 8, 2020Current, World

TL;DR – There are already strong signs today the Chinese can innovate. They will only get better.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) recent study shows Chinese students outperforming their peers in math, science and reading. (Just in case you’re curious, Singapore ranks second behind China.)

The latest OECD study shows Chinese students outperforming their peers in math, science and reading. Does this bode ill for the West in terms of economic and technological competitiveness?

 

PISA is the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment. PISA measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges.

And now, Singaporean Bill Chen is active on Quora, an American question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, and edited by Internet users, either factually or in the form of opinions, and often shares his views on a wide range of issues. His pet topics geopolitical matters, human rights, economics and yes, topics related to Singapore and also China and Hong Kong.

Here’s Bill’s take on the question about whether the fact that Chinese students topping PISA bodes ill for the West in terms of economic and technological competitiveness.

Pisa tests 8th graders. The result is not as worrying as three other developments.

1) China has reached more than 80 percent of the US’ R&D budget

It will exceed American spending within the next decade.

China’s R&D Spending (Source: OECD via Reuters)

This is why Huawei has so many patents and working 5G technology, not espionage.

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2) One in three graduates in major economies aged 55 to 64 are American

By 2030, the American share of young graduates will shrink to 8 percent. In particular, China will graduate an order of magnitude more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students than America. In fact, China will produce more STEM graduates than the rest of the world combined by 2030.

Countries with the most number of STEM graduates (Source: World Economic Forum via Forbes)

 

3) China has 40% of the world’s unicorns, or startups valued at more than 1 billion

That is an absurd number for a developing country with per capita GDP one sixth that of the United States.

Distribution of “Unicorns” by Country (Source: CB Insights)

 

International Unicorn Club (Source: CB Insights)

 

The Chinese have shown strong signs they can innovate and be globally competitive today. It will only get better for them as they climb the economic ladder.

(Featured image via)

Editor’s Note: This was an answer by Singaporean Quora user Bill Chen to the question

“The Organization for Economic Development’s recent study shows Chinese students outperforming their peers in math, science and reading. Does this bode ill for the West in terms of economic and technological competitiveness?” 

We’ve obtained permission from Bill to share his answer here. Thanks, Bill!

 

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The Editor

Author The Editor

Either busy trying to save the world, or poking my nose into other people's affairs.

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