It is difficult to sum up my experience of schools in Britain. I am Chinese, my childhood years were spent in China and I didn't set foot in Britain until the age of 10.
In 2005 I quickly enrolled into the Fitzjohns state primary school in north London possible for year 6. Despite my obvious linguistic impediments at that time I still found the lessons a great bore due to their simplicity. The school was dominated by an "anti-achievement" culture, students and teachers alike. Lessons were extremely slow and inefficient, and it was a wonder that I, a person whon could barely communicate properly in English, achieved one of the highest English levels in our class.
I fled without a backward glance and went to Parliament Hill, a girl's secondary school, in September 2006. Dazzled by its flamboyant descriptions on the website, I didn't realise that in the next two years I only learnt about a third of what an average Chinese pupil would learn. I was top in every subject, yet the results I had when I returned to China in 2008 gave me a heavy blow.
I can never say whether the Chinese or the British is better. Chinese students are universally hardworking yet lack the basic abilities of imagination and creativity. One of my best friends thinks that any time spent on anything but studying is a waste of time. Another is a genius in physics (better than me, anyway) yet cannot put on the kettle or change a light bulb. I cringe when I think of the future of China, a rising country run by intelligent elites who can't cook or repair.
A saying in China goes, "Western schools have exams for their education, Chinese schools have education for their exams". It may be a little arbitrary, but recent trends show that it is true. We are losing the grip on the essence of learning, we are forgetting the purpose. Instead we memorize everything and spit them out in exams like regurgitators.