Skeptics of the program point to cultural differences between British and Chinese schools. Some say that students in the UK are unused to the rigor and long classroom hours experienced by Chinese students, while others say that Chinese schools are testing factories that do not teach creativity. But a study of 140 schools in UK carried out by UCL Institute of Education and Cambridge University found that students taught through the mastery approach were learning faster than their classmates taught using Western models of teaching math, making about an extra month of progress in an calendar year.

Ironically, while the UK is attempting to emulate China’s success in mathematics education, Chinese parents are demanding a more “Western” approach to education in China. They are vying to enroll their children in the Chinese arms of British private schools such as Wycombe Abbey and Harrow and China’s education ministry has recently looked to UK educators for tips on how to encourage creativity.

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