Letter from the Editors

By Jaskiw, Michael; Li, Linda | Harvard International Review, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

Letter from the Editors


Jaskiw, Michael, Li, Linda, Harvard International Review


In meeting the demands of our connected world, what matters is not what you do or where you are, but what you known. Despite this obvious fact, there has never been a more critical time to make the case for quality education around the world. It is a case for individual empowerment, accelerated scientific innovation, economic and financial literacy, and artistic creativity.

In this symposium, we take an expansive view of the triumphs and challenges of education. We seek to highlight areas that require attention and improvement across all academic subjects, levels of education, as well as regions of the world. Just as with other resources, schools, teachers, and technologies--the means of education--are not distributed equally. Our authors are keen to point out that the challenges faced by each community are as they are distinct, and addressing each requires exacting arduous reforms. Taken together, their pieces construct a balanced, multidimensional approach to making education both accessible and effective.

Our symposium opens with a critical look at the UN Millennium Development Goal of "education for all," set to be achieved by 2015. Phillip Jones tempers our excitement toward its realization, calling attention to implementation constraints and the need for realistic targets tailored to each region. Funding for education is, of course, a primary concern for public institutions in all countries. Lue Weber explains that while the government should provide financial resources, universities have the responsibility to strategically recruit and retain talent, and to ensure that competition does not hinder productive cooperation on worthy scientific endeavors. Next, Johann Mouton alerts us to the decline of scientific research in African universities--a trend that is surely reversible as long as we commit to investing in peace and development. John Hawkins looks to East Asia, directing the West to adapt Confucian cultural practices to improve the effectiveness of Western education. In the following article, Alexander Evans analyzes the pros and cons of traditional Islamic education from firsthand accounts and experiences. …

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