This chapter discusses something that seems to be of prime importance to educational development, and yet has received little serious attention. It pertains to educational thought and practice in five settings in East Asia: Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan. It also discusses Singapore as a sixth, somewhat marginal case. The discussions are mainly generated from examples in Mainland China and Hong Kong, of which the writer has first-hand knowledge, but which are closely related to other communities in the neighbourhood. Pupils of lower language ability are still made to finish their primary schooling in eight years, two years more than their counterparts in other streams. This goes along with the belief that more effort may compensate for poor ability. The construction of the system is based on the nation's development needs and not on individual needs. The structure of the education system very much matches the manpower structure required for economic development.