You have been called to interpet at an international conference on education for a visiting scholar from China. The scholar’s specialization is education policy in the PRC.
Listen to Speech
Transcript and reference translation
中国学生的学科教育，毫无疑问做得是非常不错的。但是，如果把中国学生的综合素质在全世界排名的话，从德育素质到美育素质到体育素质，应该不会比中国的人均收入在全世界的排位更高。It is no doubt that individual subjects are taught quite well in China. Nevertheless, if one were to rank the overall quality of Chinese students in comparison with other countries in the world in terms of their ethics, aesthetics and physical education, it would probably not be higher than the ranking of the average income in China.
中国现在经济总量在全世界排到了第二位，中国教育总量，大学生的总人数和中小学生总人数在全世界是排在第一位的，中国大学生的人数已经超过了美国大学生的人数。 China is now the world’s second largest economy and boasts the largest number of university and secondary school students. The total number of university students in China has also surpassed that of the US.
但是，中国的人均素质呢？我认为，如果有这样一个统计的话，应该是排在全世界倒数的。 However, what about the overall quality of the Chinese people? If such a statistic were available, I believe it would place them towards the end of the global ranking.
中国的素质教育，自从解放以后到现在的60多年时间，进步并不大。按说中国的数学教得那么难，本来数学领域的主要奖项很有可能是在中国的，但非常可惜，我们几乎一个都没有看到。 Though it has been more than 60 years since China’s liberation, little progress has been made in its all-around education. One would imagine that, considering the high teaching standards for mathematics in China, there should be Chinese recipients of major prizes in the field, and yet regrettably we have not been witness to this.
中国的学生物理和化学水平也相当高，但是我们也没有发现诺贝尔奖得主。中国的文学功底，从古代的古文到现代语言的发展，原则上诺贝尔文学奖获得者也应该在中国，可惜的是我们也没有看到。Chinese students are highly proficient in physics and chemistry, and yet not one has ever won a Nobel Prize in these fields. China boasts a fine literary tradition from Classical to Modern Chinese so, in theory, we should have won some Nobel Prizes for it, yet unfortunately this has not been the case.
我们也可以看到在体育方面，中国的体育比赛，包括大学生的体育比赛，都是那些从小就进行训练的运动员参加。As for sports, participants in China’s sporting competitions, including those for college students, are made up of those who have been training since they were young.
后来我们发现，很多来中国参加奥运会的美国运动员是大学生，参加奥运比赛只是他们的业余爱好。所以，中国的教育现状在某些方面是非常令人担忧的。We then discovered that most of the American athletes who came to China to participate in the Olympic Games were university students. Their participation was merely out of personal interest. Thus the current state of education in China is highly concerning.
中国现在的教育体系，我觉得有三个问题需要解决。首先，是学生素质问题，我觉得主要来自几个方面的原因。 Regarding the education system as it is currently in China, I think there are three problems that need to be solved. First is the overall calibre of students which I think is plagued by the following three problems.
第一是社会体制问题。由社会体制问题引发的社会问题，比如说诚信问题、贫富悬殊问题、城乡差距问题等，都要为教育问题承担责任。 First is the issue of the social system, which has triggered a series of problems such as a lack of trust, the extreme disparity between the rich and the poor and the rural-urban development divide. All of these are factors which have contributed to the education problem in China.
当然，制度改革不是一天能完成的事情。比如，高考制度的改革真的不太容易完成，因为它跟所有的其他制度弊病都连在一起。 Of course, institutional reform cannot happen overnight. Transforming the Chinese college entrance examination system, for example, will be a difficult task because it is linked inseparably with all the other systemic problems.
高考制度之所以不能改革的一个重要原因是因为中国诚信体制没有建立，中国诚信体制之所以没有建立是因为中国监督体系没有建立，所以它是连在一起的一体化问题。 One of the important reasons why the college entrance examination system cannot be reformed is due to the lack of a trust system in China. Such a system could only be set up with the establishment of a regulatory system. Thus, these issues are linked to one another.
我认为中国未来的任何改革都要以体制改革为基础，当然，这并不意味着否认中国改革开放30年的成就，也不意味着我们要否认现有政策中的那些合理因素。 In my opinion, any future reform in China should be based on systemic reform. Of course, this does not mean we can deny the achievements of the reform and opening up over the past three decades, as well as the reasonable parts of the current policy.
但是，如果不改变的话，我们未来的教育是没有希望的，因为我们未来的教育关系到今后30年中国能不能成为世界经济强国、政治强国、文化强国，以及科学强国的问题。 However, if we do not reform the system, there will be no hope for the future of education in China, which would determine whether China can become an economic, political, cultural and scientific power.
不要以为一个近14亿人口的国家就能强大，要知道人口并不构成一个国家的核心竞争力。什么才能构成一个国家的核心竞争力？是这个国家的国民所拥有的素质。谢谢大家。 Do not make the assumption that a country with a population of 1.4 billion must become a powerful country by default. There must be a recognition that population is not the chief factor which contributes to a country’s competitiveness. In fact, that chief factor is the overall quality of its citizens. Thank you.