College Education Without Prospects

George Siemens, elearnspace, Dec 06, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

George Siemens links to this unencouraging article from the New York Times (so it will disappear from view shortly) about schools in India. "A lack of communications skills may be the most obvious shortcoming, but it is not the only one. A deeper problem, specialists say, is a classroom environment that treats students like children even if they are in their mid-20's. Teaching emphasizes silent note-taking and discipline at the expense of analysis and debate." Of course, I take note of the source, and wonder just how accurate this account is, and whether it depends more on stereotypes than data. Not every school in India is perfect, to be sure, but I find it very hard to believe that the schools of an entire nation - especially one as resurgent as India - leaves its graduates unprepared for work. I am much less concerned than the Times, for example, about students being educated in languages other than English. And what are the sources for the article? A former Harvard professor, a couple of tech company execs, and some 'buy 'em by the dozen' student quotes.
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