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Old 10-12-2009, 06:33 PM
 
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Which cultures (and why) value education more than others? Also, except for some sub-groups in the U.S., our country does not seem as pro-education as Asian nations, or even European ones. Some of the top internet searches are for Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, OJ Simpson. Why is this the case and what can be done about it? What will be the consequences of this if we do not change? Discuss.
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Old 10-12-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lentzr View Post
Which cultures (and why) value education more than others? Also, except for some sub-groups in the U.S., our country does not seem as pro-education as Asian nations, or even European ones. Some of the top internet searches are for Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, OJ Simpson. Why is this the case and what can be done about it? What will be the consequences of this if we do not change? Discuss.
I have lived in Asia for 14 years and have worked in education the entire time. I can truly say that Asians are not so much into education as they are into educational credentials, i.e., pieces of paper that will give them a higher salary, better job title, and enhanced social standing.

I used to peruse those advertisements at the back of The Economist, the ones that promise a MBA degree, DBA, or PhD, if you send in your credentials (CV, resume) to the university's post office box. These usually go by fairly weird names like Metropolitan University, or The University of Northwest New Hampshire. I often wondered who in their right mind would buy a degree from one of these places (post office boxes).

Well, here in Malaysia, I know of several men who have purchased their PhD credentials from a particular university in Wyoming that has the same name as John Travolta's wife's surname. And, if you know anything about Wyoming, you would know that there is only one true university there, The University of Wyoming in Laramie. This so-called university that gives out PhD degrees like toilet paper is just a p.o. box in Cheyenne!

Anyway, the men that bought this degree truly think that they have earned something of value, and they use the title "Dr." in front of their names. But the Malaysian government is promising to crack down on false degree credentials, and hopefully that will shut off the supply from this fake university in Wyoming (which recently set up a "branch" in this country since so many Malaysians had taken them up on their services).

I have met few in Asia who continue their personal education through extensive reading; there are probably some like that, but I haven't met any yet.
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Define "education".
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:01 PM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,336 posts, read 9,982,800 times
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I have met very few people who value 'education' (as in pursuit of knowledge). As was mentioned above, what is valued is a piece of paper to secure a better salary. Very few people value the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. If 'education' does not result in monetary rewards, most folks would rather be watching Southpark reruns than learning anything. Try telling someone that you are learning abstract algebra or Swahili just for the hell of it and see how many thoroughly perplexed stares you get. You may even spur a 911 call.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
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I value education as an American. I'd love to take courses to learn various languages, possibly piano, and art history (I'm an engineer, and would love to take a break from math-based courses).

However, who can afford it? Not me, with my $50k worth of student loans after scholarships and grants (not including my husband's $30k). If someone else wanted to subsidize it, I'd be all for it. What about "universal" education?
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
I have met very few people who value 'education' (as in pursuit of knowledge). As was mentioned above, what is valued is a piece of paper to secure a better salary. Very few people value the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. If 'education' does not result in monetary rewards, most folks would rather be watching Southpark reruns than learning anything. Try telling someone that you are learning abstract algebra or Swahili just for the hell of it and see how many thoroughly perplexed stares you get. You may even spur a 911 call.
I agree.
********

I don't think that we have an accurate depiction of education when making a comparison between our country and others. I also think that Jt raises a real good point in defining education. A woman goes out and decides that she is going to learn everything there is to learn about canning. A few good tips from the internet is ok but a vast majority of the time will be spent pouring over books. For those that are into learning anything the vast majority of time will be spent using books, not the internet.

Life-long education probably starts very early and is something that kids see on a daily basis. Then they grow up and duplicate what they saw. A great many people get locked into continuing education out of their career. And yet, there are a great many people who just flat out don't care and have absolutely no desire to learn anything more then what they may have gotten from high school.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:22 AM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,336 posts, read 9,982,800 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedSurprise View Post
I value education as an American. I'd love to take courses to learn various languages, possibly piano, and art history (I'm an engineer, and would love to take a break from math-based courses).

However, who can afford it? Not me, with my $50k worth of student loans after scholarships and grants (not including my husband's $30k). If someone else wanted to subsidize it, I'd be all for it. What about "universal" education?
Not to be snide or anything, but for two of the topics you mention, you can probably learn more studying on your own. I have found that formal language courses are almost a complete waste of money. Buy a good course book, lots of audio, use of internet resources, and you will learn far more quickly than in a classroom setting. Depending on the language, there are some GREAT websites for learners (especially Spanish and French).

It's even more the case with history. History classes these days almost always come with a strong bias (same applies to literature classes). Buy a few credible, fact-based, history texts without all the lame author-generated editorials and start reading. History is fascinating.

IMO, education is about fact. Once the facts are established we then insert our opinions... not the other way around. That's called indoctrination. While there is nothing wrong with opinion, let's just make sure it's clear that's what it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandamonium View Post
I agree.
********

I don't think that we have an accurate depiction of education when making a comparison between our country and others. I also think that Jt raises a real good point in defining education. A woman goes out and decides that she is going to learn everything there is to learn about canning. A few good tips from the internet is ok but a vast majority of the time will be spent pouring over books. For those that are into learning anything the vast majority of time will be spent using books, not the internet.

Life-long education probably starts very early and is something that kids see on a daily basis. Then they grow up and duplicate what they saw. A great many people get locked into continuing education out of their career. And yet, there are a great many people who just flat out don't care and have absolutely no desire to learn anything more then what they may have gotten from high school.
Excellent post. It’s true. ‘Hitting the books’ is really the best way for most people--old technology that is still most efficient most of the time. And of course for many skill-based pursuits (like the canning that you mention), lot’s of practice follows.

In my line of work, so many people want to constantly invent a better mousetrap. In the end, there is no replacing book study and repetition (if it’s a skill-based situation) for the vast majority of learners.

Last edited by ChrisC; 10-13-2009 at 07:32 AM..
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Michigan--good on the rocks
2,544 posts, read 3,450,650 times
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In my opinion, the most important part of education is not the subject matter, but the thinking skills. Learn to think in an organized way, analytically and critically. Learn to study efficiently, in a way that helps you to retain knowledge. Once you have these in your skill set, learning any subject matter is not particularly difficult. These are the most important things we can teach our children, skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

This is where those "waste of time" philosophy and literature classes come in.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:03 AM
 
Location: I think my user name clarifies that.
8,293 posts, read 22,457,074 times
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There's a big difference between an education and a degree. You really can have one without the other.

I think that one of our problems in America is that too many of our colleges and universities are providing degrees, but are not necessarily producing educated individuals.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,556,197 times
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Education is not the process of learning facts. It is a process of learning how to look them up, and learning how to apply them.
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