The outcomes of both stories are perhaps counter-intuitive. The Swiss kids did so well that the school extended the project. They read and wrote more, and were more enthusiastic about their work. It just didn't save much money. And Hong Kong pupils top international surveys of maths prowess, despite any personal shortcomings of their primary teachers.
The Swiss results make sense: the pupils benefited from following their own interests and learning styles. Which begs a question: does the Hong Kong paradox have useful lessons for us, too?