Dirt is Good for Profit and Good for People

Brent Gosling
Lowe and Partners

Until recently, if you'd been a schoolchild in Saigon you almost certainly wouldn't have heard of the idea of 'playtime', and you'd be unlikely to have had any experience of it. That's because Vietnamese children spent the whole of their school day in a classroom. Aside from a short break for lunch, schools in Vietnam scheduled days of back-to-back lessons.

It's an approach to education common in much of the developing world. It's especially true in Asia, where learning by rote and high exam results are the sole determinants of success. For example, preparations for China's college entrance exam, the 'gaokao', dictate the course of a child's entire education, from nursery onwards. As the education professor Yong Zhao puts it: "From a very young age, children are relieved of any other burden or deprived of opportunity to do anything else so they can focus on getting good scores"1.