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Friday, April 29, 2005

Reforming The US Education System - Learning From India & China

( Via NYTimes) Thomas Friedman writes, the time to reform american education system is now.Bill Gates said,"Training the work force of tomorrow with the high schools of today is like trying to teach kids about today's computers on a 50-year-old mainframe. The American high schools were designed 50 years ago to meet the needs of another age. Until the American educationists design them to meet the needs of the 21st century, this will keep limiting - even ruining - the lives of millions of Americans every year."
"For the first time in the US history, the country is going to face competition from low-wage, high-human-capital communities, embedded within India, China and Asia," In order to thrive, "it will not be enough for America to just leave no child behind. Indeed, we can't rely on importing the talent we need anymore - not in a flat world where people can now innovate without having to emigrate. In Silicon Valley today, "B to B" and "B to C" stand for "back to Bangalore" and "back to China," which is where a lot of our foreign talent is moving.
Strategists John Hagel III and John Seely Brown in their new book entitled "The Only Sustainable Edge" argue that comparative advantage today is moving faster than ever from structural factors, like natural resources, to how quickly a country builds its distinctive talents for innovation and entrepreneurship - the only sustainable edge. Economics is not like war. It can always be win-win. "But some win more than others," Mr. Hagel said, and today it will be those countries that are best and fastest at building, attracting and holding talent. There is a real sense of urgency in India and China about "catching up" in talent-building. America, by contrast, has become rather complacent. People go to Shanghai or Bangalore and they look around and say, They're still way behind us, Mr. Hagel said. "But it's not just about current capabilities. It's about the relative pace and trajectories of capability-building”. India and China know they can't just depend on low wages, so they are racing us to the top, not the bottom. Producing a comprehensive U.S. response - encompassing immigration, intellectual property law and educational policy - to focus on developing our talent in a flat world is quite a task cut out for American leaders.

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