Two Million Minutes – Comparing Education in the U.S., China & India

Two Million Minutes is a documentary film which compares how American students measure up to those in India and China.

The film is conceived by Robert A. Compton, who also was the executive director. As explained by Education World, the title means:

High school often is measured by years or events, but across many nations, there is a common factor: Every student has 2 million minutes from the time he or she leaves eighth grade until high school graduation.

The film follows six students through their senior year of high school in the United States, India, and China, and trying to show that “the simple fact is, global education standards have passed America by“, as said by Compton in a press release. In an interview, Compton noted that “Our knowledge of these two cultures is seriously out of date and that has to change…fast,” and he also said, “Our economic future depends on it.” Compton also writes a blog entitled What Should America Do?, which is “a continuation of the Two Million Minutes documentary film”, as explained by the author. “This blog offers deeper insights into education in China, India and the United States, and the challenge America faces”.

Not having much knowledge about education in India, what we can see from China is that education in the country is in fact desperately looking for remedies for its often labeled as examination-driven education. Just as an American scholar once pointed out in 2005 in a seminar on international education in Beijing , “while China is trying to move its education towards more quality and innovation oriented approaches, the U.S. is trying to upgrade the quality of its education by strengthening disciplines within schools and classes, and it appears that both are looking at each other”.


So, it is perhaps right to say that education is in many aspects about intercultural learning, which is in every way more important than economic competition.

Picture and film trailer credit: Two Million Minutes

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