To be sure, China's current education system has produced some stellar results. In the OECD's latest Program for International Student Assessment exams, Shanghai students came out on top. Students in Hong Kong and Macau didn't fare too badly, either.
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But experts argue those results don't reflect the entire country, just three of the more well-off cities. In addition, those results come at the cost of one of the highest levels of student anxiety in the world.
But the changes China is adopting may be less about making life easier on students and more about developing an education system along the lines of a consistent top performer: Finland.
"In the long run, for us to become a strong country, we need talent and great creativity," Xiong Bingqi, an education expert at Shanghai Jiao Tong University told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. "And right now, our educational system cannot accomplish this."
The Finnish education system puts less emphasis on testing and homework. Students are steered toward creative activities and teachers are given wide latitude with assignments and curricula. (Here's a neat little video detailing the system).