Wakin Chau was born in a rice store owned by his family in Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong. Growing up as the fourth son in his seven-member family, Wakin learned to play the guitar when he was about 13 years old. In 1979, he left for Taipei to major in mathematics at National Taiwan University. During his college years, he sang and played folk songs in local coffee shops. This activity was a tradition among NTU students, and it is how Wakin learned to sing in Mandarin, which would be key to his future as a music-maker in Taiwan.
Probably one of his most famous songs is “Friends”, 朋友.
Shanghai teens top international education ranking, OECD says
By Sophie Brown, CNN
December 3, 2013 — Updated 2051 GMT (0451 HKT)
(CNN) — When it comes to mathematics, reading and science, young people in Shanghai are the best in the world, according to a global education survey released Tuesday.
In all three subjects, Shanghai students demonstrated knowledge and skills equivalent to at least one additional year of schooling than their peers in countries like the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.
In math, Shanghai had the highest score with 613 points — the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above the average for the 34 OECDmember countries of 494, and six years above Peru which ranked last with a score of 368. The city also came top in 2009 rankings.
Singapore came second in mathematics with a score of 573, followed by Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Macau.
The United States ranked 36th, performing below the OECD average in mathematicswith 481 points, and a score indistinguishable from the average for reading and science.
Part of the reason pupils do so well in Shanghai, according to the OECD’s deputy director of education, Andreas Schleicher, is that they have the drive and confidence to fulfill their potential.
“In China and Shanghai, you have nine out of ten students telling you, ‘It depends on me. If I invest the effort, my teachers are going to help me to be successful’,” Schleicher told CNN’s On China program, which will air later this month.
Asia-Pacific higher education is becoming a global force, but only some nations in the region have achieved or approached parity with Western Europe and North America.
The truly spectacular success story is from the Confucian zone in East Asia. Japan achieved high participation rates and research-intensive universities in the 1970s: now Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and China are following suit. Student numbers and research are growing by leaps and bounds.
East Asia embodies a new Confucian model of higher education. The key is the willingness of families to invest in schooling, tertiary education and extra tuition. Households are driving the growth in participation. Private investment is secured less by neoliberal ideology than an older Confucian respect for self-formation via education, within a social hierarchy “harmonised” by fierce competition for university entry.
China and Singapore maintain higher public funding. But the jury is still out on the extent to which these systems can foster a spirit of openness, criticism and free-wheeling creativity.