Archive for the ‘math’ Category

China: Schools, High Tech, Stimulus “A matter of survival”

January 11, 2009

Amena Schlaijker makes her students cluck like chickens, mimic a toothbrush, jump up and down or pretend to die an agonizing death.

The aim is to make budding business leaders think outside the box.

It may sound extreme, but this is China, where students have grown up on rote learning and the ruling Communist Party has long discouraged creative thinking lest it lead to challenging authority.

“You can tell them to think outside of the box, but some employees don’t even have the concept of a box to begin with,” said Roy Magee, an Australian whose training company, AchieveGlobal, has operated in China since 1997. “We just have to go in and start from scratch.”

By Chi-Chi Zhang
Associated Press Writer

It comes as the government works on the economy’s next leap forward – to transform the nation’s industry from “Made in China” to “Invented in China.” Addressing parliament last year, President Hu Jintao spoke of making China a nation of innovators. At the same time, China is recognizing that as wages and land prices rise, it is no longer a cheap place to manufacture other countries’ products, and needs to invent its own to remain globally competitive.

While the state is spending billions of dollars on technology parks, research grants and art programs, the drive for creativity has spawned a market for classes run by foreign trainers like Schlaijker and Magee.

“It’s a matter of survival,” said Schlaijker, a Chinese-speaking American who works in Shanghai for ?What If!, a British marketing and employee-development consultancy.

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Economic Stimulus? Math, Science, Schools Must Create High Tech Jobs, Not More Shovel Jobs

January 11, 2009

Over the next couple of years, two very big countries, America and China, will give birth to something very important. They’re each going to give birth to close to $1 trillion worth of economic stimulus — in the form of tax cuts, infrastructure, highways, mass transit and new energy systems. But a lot is riding on these two babies. If China and America each give birth to a pig — a big, energy-devouring, climate-spoiling stimulus hog — our kids are done for. It will be the burden of their lifetimes. If they each give birth to a gazelle — a lean, energy-efficient and innovation-friendly stimulus — it will be the opportunity of their lifetimes.

By Tom Friedman
The New York Times
January 11, 2009
So here’s hoping that our new administration and Congress will be guided in shaping the stimulus by reading John Maynard Keynes in one hand — to get as much money injected as quickly as possible — and by reading “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future” with the other.

“Gathering Storm” was the outstanding 2005 report produced by our National Academies on how to keep America competitive by vastly improving math and science education, investing in long-term research, recruiting top students from abroad and making U.S. laws the most conducive in the world for innovation.

You see, even before the current financial crisis, we were already in a deep competitive hole — a long period in which too many people were making money from money, or money from flipping houses or hamburgers, and too few people were making money by making new stuff, with hard-earned science, math, biology and engineering skills.

The financial crisis just made the hole deeper, which is why our stimulus needs to be both big and smart, both financially and educationally stimulating. It needs to be able to produce not only more shovel-ready jobs and shovel-ready workers, but more Google-ready jobs and Windows-ready and knowledge-ready workers.

“America becoming the nation of the unemployed” — Schools to Blame?
U.S. Students Failing International Science Measures
Bill Cosby: We Need To Educate; Do the Math

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