Magazine article The World and I

Education and Development

Magazine article The World and I

Education and Development

Article excerpt

The Special Report in Current Issues this month is "Education: The Key to Global Development." Indeed, education is a weapon for Third World development. It is important to recognize and contribute to this process.

However, this orientation to the role of education, which parallels discussions in our own country, also slights education. Education is much more than a tool for development and economic production. Education is the most important task of any society, for it is integral to the creation of good citizens and good human beings.

I do not wish to overstate the case, for many formally uneducated individuals are better human beings than many college professors. I have more respect for a shoe-shine man who takes pride in his work than for a scholar who uses footnotes misleadingly.

But this says only that education has many facets. From our journey from the womb to the end of our days, we are subject to many types of education and miseducation. The ghetto youngster who "learns" that it is smart to sell dope and the Ivy League lawyers who teach their clients how to evade the law all suffer from, and propagate, miseducation regardless of how wealthy they become.

An educational system that believes the end of education is to teach students how to read, write, and compute is doing damage. The end of education is to produce individuals whose production is put to use for good purposes in the realm of the economy, the society, and the culture.

Students who do not understand their history and culture and who cannot contrast and compare it with those of others have only a truncated education. …

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