Can a Danish 9. grade pass a Chinese exam? Can the Chinese solve a Danish exam? In a TV-experiment that has been aired in four installments the past weeks on Danish television channel DR1, we follow a Chinese and a Danish 9. grade and their schooling in order to create an insight in what Denmark and Scandinavian countries in general are competing with.
The level of the Danish students is often criticized, while Chinese students are considered best in the world. In the international PISA-tests, the skills of Danish students are measured as average compared to other Nordic countries, but first place in almost all subjects goes to the Chinese. The question that the program “9.z mod Kina” (or 9.z versus China) raises is; who is best when it comes to creativity and cooperation?
The program tests the students in reading, mathematics, English, cooperation and creativity. It takes a hands on approach as viewers get to follow the everyday school life in a 9. grade in Holme School in Aarhus and school no. 69 in Harbin, Northeast China. The school in Holme has 30 students in the same class who go to school six hours a day while the Chinese 9. grade has 54 students who go to school 12 hours a day.
Niels Egelund who is a Danish professor of theory of education at the University of Aarhus acts as an expert on the program and calls the Danish middle school loving but weak.
Anders Bondo Christensen, who is the foreman of Danish Teachers Union, is also part of the program and he believes that the Danish middle school has many other tasks than just creating students who do well in tests. According to him the Danish primary school is the foundation of the development of the Danish democracy and focus should be on making sure that students can put their skills to use in real life.
The first three installments of the program is available in Danish here