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Unformatted text preview: POL 202(8): Social Change and Ethnic Issues (II) • Education and economic growth In countries where Confucian values have been dominant, education is regarded as a means of upward social mobility, and reverence for learning has been an important influence on society’s attitudes towards education. In East Asia, education has long been recognized as an important ingredient in economic development. Investment in education is seen as a critical part of national planning. Governments thus make great efforts to make education accessible to as many people as possible. Investment has been concentrated on public primary education, a timely expansion of secondary education, and a tertiary sector driven by government priorities. A highly educated workforce is more likely to be productive, more adept at operating and maintaining sophisticated machinery, and more able to absorb and adapt new technology. Foreign investments which employ capital or skill intensive technologies are often attracted to countries where a highly educated workforce is available. The relative efficiency of the bureaucracies of Japan and the NIEs, based on their ability to attract the best and brightest students, has often been cited as a major contributor to the economic growth of these countries. Many Asian countries invested heavily in education, such that, by the 1980s, most of them reached universal (6-years) primary education. Emphasis at the primary level is placed on writing, reading and numeracy, as well as citizenship education. Common to the Southeast Asian region has also been a concerted government effort to develop and expand various non-formal educational efforts aimed at raising literacy, vocational-technical skills, women’s education, agricultural education and health education. The more advanced the level of economic development, the higher the secondary school enrollment rate. Developed countries are better able to finance the costs of their citizen’s education. Hence a society’s educational attainment and its economic growth rate constitute a virtuous cycle. The highest enrollment rates in secondary education are found in the Asian NIEs, while the lowest are found in...
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- Fall '07
- Public Policy, Han Chinese