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Indian, Chinese kids outperforming Americans: Obama

At a town hall meeting in Los Angeles, the US President Barack Obama chided American parents for comparatively lower performance of their kids despite having far better resources and facilities than those available in countries like India and China.

world Updated: Mar 20, 2009 09:59 IST

The US President Barack Obama said children in India and China are outperforming their American counterparts even if they do not have access to the facilities and resources equal to that of the United States.

At a town hall meeting in Los Angeles, Obama chided American parents for comparatively lower performance of their kids despite having far better resources and facilities than those available in countries like India and China.

“You (parents) can’t complain about the schools and complain about the teachers, but when your child comes home, they’re playing video games and not doing homework. And you don’t have time to go to your teacher -- in teacher-parent meeting. Our parents have to instill a sense of excellence and a thirst for knowledge,” Obama said.

“The truth of the matter is even as overcrowded as schools may be, as poor the computer equipment may be, if you took a bunch of kids right now from China or India and you put them in these classrooms, from their perspective these would be unbelievable schools,” Obama argued.

“I mean, they don’t have better facilities, but they’re out-performing us in maths and science,” he said citing the reason that America parents do not insist their kids for higher performance.

During his two days of out-of-Washington travel, Obama has been insisting on the American parents to take some cue from India and China and insist on their children for better performance.

“We as parents are not insisting and demanding on the kind of higher performance from our kids. So everybody has got to be more accountable in order to improve our education system,” Obama said.

“We can’t afford our kids to be mediocre at a time when they’re competing against kids in China and India who are actually in school about a month longer than our kids,” Obama said at another Town Hall meeting at Costa Mesa in California on Wednesday.

Emphasizing on the need to raise the standards of education, Obama said: “It can’t just be a single high-stakes standardized test -- but we do need to have strong, powerful measures of performance because schools are like anything else.”

Parents have an important role to play in performance of their children. “You can’t put the entire burden on a teacher. If you’re not making sure your child does homework, if you’re not reading to them, instilling a sense of excellence and a thirst for knowledge in them, then they’re not going to do very well, no matter how good your teacher is,” Obama said.