Saturday, May 3, 2008

Globalization and Education

Yesterday, in a brilliant essay, David Brooks of the New York Times discussed the politics of globalization and the limits of the current paradigm being pushed by politicians (primarily the Democrats).

In addition, he discusses a notion that the world is in the midst of a "skills revolution". Here is a core section of his article:

We’re moving into a more demanding cognitive age. In order to thrive, people are compelled to become better at absorbing, processing and combining information. This is happening in localized and globalized sectors, and it would be happening even if you tore up every free trade deal ever inked.

The globalization paradigm emphasizes the fact that information can now travel 15,000 miles in an instant. But the most important part of information’s journey is the last few inches — the space between a person’s eyes or ears and the various regions of the brain. Does the individual have the capacity to understand the information? Does he or she have the training to exploit it?

Brooks is saying two tremendously important things in this article.

First, the key to coping with free trade and the changing global economy is to recognize that education is key and prioritize it appropriately. We must ensure that our young people are trained as critical thinkers and lifelong learners.

Second, the focus of our political leaders (primarily the Democrats) on re-engineering or obstructing trade deals is distracting us from this goal. We need better leadership.

I highly recommend the whole article. It is not very long, but in my opinion, pretty sophisticated - therefore probably worth reading a few times. It's here.

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