Magazine article The World and I

Education: The Key to Global Development

Magazine article The World and I

Education: The Key to Global Development

Article excerpt

Ask parents in the United States what they want for their children and, after good health, the answer is a good education. In the face of this universal truth, however, more and more parents are concerned about what exactly their schools are teaching. Some parents are turning to homeschooling--even though educators question how well socialization works in such a narrow setting. Those parents who can afford the tuition send their offspring to private schools. In this month's Special Report, "Education: the Key to Global Development," we deal mainly with public education, looking at the importance of education throughout the world and the necessity for high school to teach good reading and math skills.

In "Promise and Perils of Education," Harold O.J. Brown, professor of theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, starts off with a Latin lesson on the meaning of the word education and goes on to compare American education to that of other nations--in particular, India and Switzerland, where he lived for a number of years. To enable a society to progress, schools must be widely available, provide worthwhile content, and be taught in an engaging manner. Availability generally involves government funding but the alternatives of private schools or homeschooling can be a competitive stimulus to excellence.

It is essential to point out that economic development depends on educational progress, proposes Stephen Heyneman, professor of international education policy at Vanderbilt University, in "Are We Our Brothers' Keeper." The evidence supporting this claim emerges from multiple sources and common intuitive judgment: nations with an educated population are economically adaptable, healthy, and innovative. …

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