Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Story Break: Education Debate at The Economist

Interesting debate at The Economist's website on education.
The motion:
"This house believes promoting maths and sciences education is the best way to stimulate future innovation."

The debate seems to be focused on the future of United States' prosperity rather than on what is best for the children involved.
I used to full-heartedly agree with this motion, but after working with kids for the last 6 years and studying economics for the past 4, I think that future innovation may best be achieved by incorporating as many people in the discussion as possible. That means triggering creative passions in all children, not just the mathematically or scientifically gifted ones.

The "everything in moderation" saying has a lot of truth to it. We can be a really smart country of math whizzes, but that would exclude the great artists and writers from our collective academic focus.
When we try to make something more expansive to involve more people in a set subject, we will undoubtedly have people participating who normally wouldn't (i.e. more would-be-authors will become chemical engineers). That doesn't necessarily improve the quality of the field. In fact, it could very well detract from it, and from the other fields which have lost out on talent (ex. the would-be-author cannot write his would-be Pulitzer-winning story, and instead makes a living as a mediocre polymer lab technician).

Maybe instead of looking for an easily labeled fix, we should try something even more innovative--finding what kids really like doing, and finding ways of incorporating those passions into productive paths, some of which we can only imagine today.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't promote math and science, but we shouldn't allow these subjects to crowd out their equally worthy counterparts.

To see the debate, visit I'm sure I'll have more comments in the coming days on this topic.

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