CHAMPLAIN — Northeastern Clinton Central High School has welcomed a visitor from the Far East.
Jing Kao Li, principal of Hebei Xinji High School in the province of Hebei, China, recently made the long journey to Champlain as part of the China Exchange Initiative’s U.S.-China Administrator Shadowing Project.
Through the project, Li has been staying with Northeastern Clinton High School Principal Stephen Gratto since Oct. 27 and observing the teaching and learning practices in place at NCCS.
In turn, Gratto will visit China for two weeks this coming April. He will spend one week in Beijing attending conferences on education and a second week in Hebei at Li’s high school.
The China Exchange Initiative, based in Newton, Mass., is an organization conceived by philanthropist Houghton Freeman that strives to build relationships and increase exchange opportunities between pre-college-level schools in the United States and China.
In an interview with the Press-Republican, Li said through a translator that he chose to participate in the exchange, in part, because he is interested in learning about the advantages of the American education system.
“The education system in America is very famous in China,” Li said, adding that he is particularly interested in the level of creativity that American students seem to posses.
“Compared to the American students, the Chinese students lack imagination,” he said. “They are less creative.”
While both the Chinese and American education systems show great concern for bettering the lives of their students, according to Li, American schools place more emphasis on extracurricular activities, which he believes to be beneficial to students.
In China, for example, schools generally require that students receive far less exposure to music and art. And though some Chinese students participate in sports for fun, many schools do not have organized sports teams.