From the Economist:
I'm not sure if our education system prioritizes creativity, self-esteem and sports as much as other developed countries (other than the States), but there are downsides to America's fascination with those fields by sacrificing the "sciences":
I'm pretty sure that education everywhere evolves in their own pace and direction, but in Malaysia (at least back then) the system wasn't too good either. In the States I learned basic skeletal anatomy in 3rd grade and world history in 6th grade, stuff that wasn't taught in the Malaysian education system until at least years later (world history was what, Form 5?). And there was much more creative/arts education there, compared with the "churning out results" nature of East and Southeastern Asian education. And let's not talk about sports; it's like a night and day difference.
But hey, in spite of their so-called flawed school education system, they have the highest rate of scientific innovations right? You could argue that it's partly from immigration, but hey you should get my point.