We All Have a Lot to Learn

Fareed Zakaria:

This small event says a lot about global competition. Traveling around Asia for most of the past month, I have been struck by the relentless focus on education. It makes sense. Many of these countries have no natural resources, other than their people; making them smarter is the only path for development. China, as always, appears to be moving fastest.
But one thing puzzles me about these oft-made comparisons. I talked to Tharman Shanmugaratnam to understand it better. He’s the minister of Education of Singapore, the country that is No. 1 in the global science and math rankings for schoolchildren. I asked the minister how to explain the fact that even though Singapore’s students do so brilliantly on these tests, when you look at these same students 10 or 20 years later, few of them are worldbeaters anymore. Singapore has few truly top-ranked scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors, business executives or academics.

One thought on “We All Have a Lot to Learn”

  1. There is a brilliant, 4.0 GPA student from Singapore currently working in my lab here at UW. His government gave him a FULL scholarship to attend undergrad and grad school in the US under the condition he returns to Singapore to work afterwards. The Singapore government is offering such scholarships because they believe that while their educational system excels in producing students who have mastered known facts, the US’ elite research universities do a better job of teaching students to be creative, original thinkers.

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