Getting more patents and PhD’s are not the ways to improve education, writes IMD professor Bill Fischer in Business Week. Getting faculty in with business experience is more important to improve the now lagging education in China.
IMD’s 2010 World Competitiveness Yearbook reports that China’s education system has been in decline since 2007 in terms of how well it meets the needs of a competitive economy, presently ranking 44th out of 58 countries—below countries such as Greece (43), Kazakhstan (35), and Qatar (14). Finland, on the other hand, which ranks 1st in this category, is a notable reference point that people speak about with respect to how its educational offerings in engineering, technology, and innovation are having a direct impact on the economic vitality of the country. Do you ever hear the same about China?
If pushing out more graduates, patents and PhD’s does not help, what is the problem, according to Bill Fischer?
During my sojourn in China as an academic and as president and dean of the China Europe International Business School, I was frequently struck by the thought that China’s scarcest resource might just be “practically experienced” university faculty. Far too many of the Chinese professors I observed in other schools (CEIBS insisted that any faculty had the ability to interact competently with executives) had never actually worked for a living; they were lifelong academics, and everything was “theoretical” for them. This simply does not work if the goal is to transform new ideas into practical solutions. And it is particularly devastating if we are speaking about business schools and their role in preparing a “managerial class” for competing on the world stage.