Synopsis: A documentary that analyzes the modern educational system and argues that it squelches children's capacity for imagination, creativity, and independent thought.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Erwin Wagenhofer
Production: Pandora Film
  2 nominations.
113 min

The power of the imagination.

Any form of human culture is the result of this unique gift.

This gift brought forth a wide variety of cultural expressions ...

of business activity and innovation, the 6000 languages spoken on Earth.

We are also the kind that Hamlet has produced, and the works of Mozart ...

the industrial revolution, hip hop, jazz, quantum mechanics ...

the theory of relativity, jet ...

and all those other things that are the essence of human culture.

But I think we systematically destroy this talent in our children ...

and in ourselves.

I choose my words carefully. I'm not 'intentionally'.

I do not think we do it on purpose, but systematically.

We do it routinely, without thinking. And that's the worst.

Because we take for granted certain ideas about education and children:

What education is and what the social and economic usefulness is.

We proceed from certain assumptions, which appear to be untrue.

An airman stands for hope.

It's a metaphor for our education.

We compare our children with kites ...

which are held by parents and school in the air.

We hope they always fly higher ...

but in reality we do everything to keep the reins.

And education by the parents works exactly.

I'm Yang Dongping, a professor of pedagogy at the University of Beijing.

I stand at the head of the working group 'Education in the 21st Century. "

I recommend the government ...

about legislation regarding education.

China was in the past ...

not in favor of competitive thinking.

The motto was equality. Everyone ate from the same pot.

Since the reform and open door policy, the market economy has been introduced ...

and competition in education has expanded.

Since then, any education, from high to low ...

sucked into a spiral cut-throat competition.

I do not know what I'm after.

The parents of these children have made great sacrifices for this city.

They have the high rise and the new town built with their own hands.

The children in these migrant schools ...

are different than urban children.

Here the children can still be real child.

In the city, especially at elite schools ...

there is great competition ...

and a huge exam pressure.

Both the government and the parents aspire to it ...

that the children achieve great things ...

and win important prizes.

But we now know ...

that this enormous pressure to perform ...

does not correspond to the nature of a child.

Everyone is now convinced of ...

but we strive for upward mobility and access to top universities.

So keep everyone stuck ...

this unhealthy system.

Now we are again stuck in traffic. Then think you do, a ring road is being built ...

Just a few years later ...

we are back to square one.

I work for the OECD ...

the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

We think hard about how politics ...

can improve the living conditions of people.

Education occupies a key position.

I will introduce you to our guest.

Here on the right for you ...

zit Mr Andreas Schleicher.

Mr Andreas Schleicher is one of our great experts ...

and the driving force behind PISA.

In his native Germany, he is known as Mr. PISA.

We went together to the US.

We've been in LA and New York.

We also visited Yale and Harvard.

That is beautiful. That was great.

That is beautiful. Here you get so good chances.

Normally it strikes twelve years. Why do you do it in nine or ten years?

We want to see if we can handle this educational system.

So you make the same examinations, but in less time.

At a younger age.

Do you also have a life outside of school?

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