Friday, January 18, 2013

Why the BRIC countries are doing so well: technology use in schools

Over the Christmas holidays I went to visit my son, who has started working for Lloyds.  While there I heard one of his flatmates referring to a group of countries as the BRIC countries.  I hadn't heard this term before so was keen to look it up (since I was sure that I was living in one of them).  I was easily able to work out that BRIC was an acronym referring to Brazil, Russia, India and China - the "newly advanced economic development" countries.  When I read more about this I found that the term BRIC has been around for about 10 years and reflects the shift in global economic power away from the G7 economies of the USA, UK, Japan, France, Germany, Canada and Italy.  It is estimated that the BRIC economies will overtake the G7 economies by 2027.  The question I'm asking myself is why are these newly advanced countries so successful?  One reason could be attitudes towards technology.

The infographic below compares technology use in schools in China and the USA.  It is based on a study by Dell and shows that Chinese students are more likely to have technology integrated into school subjects, and that students in China spend more hours per day using computers at school than students in the USA.  Of course what is being done in those hours is important, and there is no indication in the infographic as to how China is developing 21st century skills in its students.  In fact more students in China state that their needs are not being met, and of course we know that access to many sites is blocked in China which will certainly impact on what students are able to do online.  However in an increasingly technological world, this infographic seems to suggest that Chinese students could be better prepared for their futures.

China vs. The U.S.: Meeting Students’ Technology Needs


  1. I sent this labelled "Food for Thought" to my building and district IT friends yesterday. They immediately wrote me back to say that Chinese schools are nothing like ours and besides, you can't trust Chinese stats. (I apologize on their behalf.) I guess that tells you where they stand and why I *occasionally* feel frustrated working here. ;)

    Thank you for your blog. I am an ed tech trainer and teacher who is trying to make the move to work overseas. I have also tried for the Google Teacher Academy but haven't gotten in yet. Anyhow, it warms my heart to read about the good work you are doing and that you like your school in India. Best wishes!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Suzanne.

    While your colleagues may be skeptical about this infographic, it's worth pointing out that the survey was conducted by Dell (an American technology corporation) and the infographic was compiled by Brain Track, an online college and university directory that lists over 10,000 higher education institutions in 194 countries. I also seem to remember reading not so long ago that on the PISA tests Chinese students scored higher on the English language test than American students. PISA is an international study that was launched by the OECD with the aim of evaluating education systems worldwide every three years by assessing 15-year-olds' competencies in the key subjects.

    I wish you every success in finding a job in an international school. There are many job fairs going on at this time of year but still plenty of job openings right up to May. There are a number of international recruitment agencies that I would recommend if you are seeking to move overseas (for example Search Associates).

  3. Thank you, Maggie. Thanks for pointing out some of the details about the infographic. I am going to a job fair with Search Associates next month! I have done some Skyping with several schools already and am starting to get very excited for the adventures ahead. I hope to cross professional paths with you someday. :)