Educational Experience in China, Russia and Iran-Lessons for the USA

By Kamalakar, G. | ASBM Journal of Management, July 2012 | Go to article overview

Educational Experience in China, Russia and Iran-Lessons for the USA


Kamalakar, G., ASBM Journal of Management


Introduction

The quest for knowledge, truth and value has been the original reason for the pursuit of education throughout history. The roots of American educational system can be found in Greek and Roman traditions - specially those of Plato and Aristotle.

The rich heritage and philosophies embraced by the West have their roots in the Middle Eastern traditions and ideologies. History also indicates that the nations of the Far East such as China and Japan influenced by Confucianism, and India with a unique system of its own, have been in pursuit of knowledge, truth, and value since the early days of civilisation. Education has been universally considered the medium that makes the pursuit of knowledge and truth possible.

In the past, different patterns of education were followed in accordance with the philosophies, cultures and values of each nation, independent from the educational advents happening in other countries. It was usually in the case of conquest and occupation that the language, philosophy or ideology of a nation was imposed on another culture.

Advancements in communication, transportation and international relations have brought the nations together in many aspects of life such as the growth of technology, science and economy. The progress in any area of knowledge and expertise has created an interest among nations to scrutinize the educational system in the leading country's educational practices. For example in 1980s, American educators became interested in learning about the Japanese educational system when Japan became a leading power in industrial production.

During the nineteenth and the twentieth century, political powers had an impact on the education of the countries under their influence. The educational system in India and other colonies of Britain became very similar to the English educational system. After the separation of powers in the twentieth century, the educational practices of the "eastern bloc" were under the influence of the Soviet Union while many noncommunist countries such as Iran were influenced by western education such as that of the United Sates.

Education in the United States had undergone tremendous changes during the twentieth century. It was mainly affected by the rise of standardized tests, the prioritizing of different areas of knowledge such as mathematics and sciences resulting from the political rivalry with the former Soviet Union, the ever-changing curriculum, the recognition of educating children with exceptionalities, and the standards movement.

The United States has traditionally benefited from the intellect and the broad experience and expertise of foreign educated individuals. With new trends in technology and the outsourcing of technological expertise, it seems that at the end of the 21st century Americans are confident that they can rely on the intellects and skills of the educated foreigners in India, Singapore, China, the Philippines and elsewhere to deliver the medical profession which has attracted many educated physicians and nurses from abroad.

In recent decades, educators who come from foreign countries join the educational system in educating children from early childhood till the completion of higher education and become teachers. Now these individuals try to view the education in their countries and they compare it with their learning in the American educational system. During twentieth century, the American educators at the level of higher education have become curious about the curriculum and the methods of learning and teaching practices with other countries. Can the knowledge of educational practices in other countries inspire American educators to improve and advance the American K-12 educational system? In the international arena, the twentieth century has witnessed dramatic events like the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of the Maoist regime and then the reforms in China, and the establishment of the Islamic Republic regime in Iran. …

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