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ERIC Number: EJ786384
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan-25
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
America Can Teach Asia a Lot about Science, Technology, and Math
Bharucha, Jamshed
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n20 pA33 Jan 2008
There is a sense of urgency in America today, reminiscent of the "space race" rhetoric of the cold-war era, that Americans must get their act together in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education because the Asians are coming. Many people believe that higher-education institutions in countries like China and India produce professionals in those so-called STEM fields far more effectively than U.S. institutions do, thus posing a major threat to the nation's global competitiveness. Amid the Spellings Commission's concern about America's global competitiveness, the author argues that it would be a mistake to infer that Asian institutions do a better job teaching in STEM fields. The extraordinary talent pool of Asian scientists is not the result of a superior educational system, but rather of the fact that a larger proportion of top students in Asia choose to enter STEM fields in college or graduate school and have the requisite preparation. Several cultural factors account for that phenomenon, none of which have to do with the way the United States or other countries run their institutions or teach their students. What is known about how the brain learns suggests that Asian colleges should become more like their American counterparts, not the other way around. This author contends that the American system of higher education, perhaps unwittingly, promotes more endured learning. It mixes things up, offers students more choices in any given semester, and allows more student engagement with a variety of course materials. An understanding of how the brain learns suggests that the more varied and innovative approaches of American higher education manifests itself in one's thinking in the future--which is the object of education.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Asia; India; United States