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Education and economic development Education and economic development
by Joseph Gatt
2020-09-01 07:44:59
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For a country to develop economically, you need people in the government and in business to know what they're doing, to plan the economy, to create conditions for businesses to thrive.

That is when you value education and invest in education; you really have access to a pool of intellectual talent that can help plan the economy.

But there are caveats. There have been some education models that have failed to develop economies, while others have sunk what were once robust economies. So here are a few notes.

edc001_400Academic inflation

What academic inflation does is it drowns real intellectuals into anonymity.

That is, when everyone's going to college, everyone's getting a college degree, everyone's on the dean's list, and everyone gets the “exceptional thesis award” …

What happen is those guys and girls who can really plan an economy or invent scientific tools that can help and economy and well being of society are drowned into anonymity.

That is, if everyone's on the dean's list, but you're the real Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein; you're going to have a lot of trouble getting noticed.

So academic inflation can be useful in economies where nepotism is the norm and where the intellectual, economic and political elites want their children, as opposed to the real intellectuals, to rule the economy and business.

Furthermore, academic inflation means educational standards are so low that those who want to come up with high educational standards are the kids who are actually getting punished. If all you need to jump 90 centimeters and that everyone's getting an A for jumping 90 centimeters, teachers are going to start believing that those who jump 2 meters 46 and break Javier Sotomayor's world record are the weird ones who deserve to be failed.

Other problems with academic inflation

Academic inflation also stifles intellectual debate, because too many people get invited to intellectual debates when they really shouldn't be in those debates.

Academic deflation

The opposite of academic inflation is academic deflation.

Back in my school days in the French system, academic deflation was the norm (1990s French education system).

That's the kind of system where Einstein or Thomas Edison would get a C+ and be told to try harder next time.

There are instances of countries today that still use academic deflation. I heard it's the case in Russia. It certainly is the case in Korea and Japan when it comes to assessing language abilities (the English abilities of locals of the Korean and Japanese abilities of foreigners).

Academic deflation is a system used when you want to keep the intellectual elites at a distance, by deflating their worth.

That is, with academic inflation, you smother intellectuals in the crowd. With academic deflation, you kick the intellectuals out of the ball game and put them on the bench.

Educational anarchy

Finally, many states have something of an anarchic system when it comes to education. Absent teachers, frequent teacher replacements, frequent class cancellations, administration does not check student attendance, lack of books and materials, and teachers complaining about the system in class rather than teaching.

Educational anarchy is a system that deprives intellectuals of their tokens. That is, educational anarchy is a system that relegates intellectuals to the status of uneducated masses.

Why can't we have a “normal” education system?

-Academic inflation is used in countries where the elites (politicians, business owners etc.) want their children to have access to the diplomas, when their children would otherwise “fail” (I mean possibly fail) their education.

So my children can't go to Harvard but if everyone gets A+ then my children will get picked for Harvard because in addition to A+, my children will also have life experiences that other kids don't, and I'll give Harvard a few donations, and that will get my kids access to Harvard.

-Academic deflation is a system used when those children of the elites who benefited from academic inflation start screwing up the economy. Turns out those Harvard kids got into Harvard and did not learn much (I'm using Harvard as an example of course) so those new elites want everyone to fail their tests, regardless how bright the student might be.

-Educational anarchy is the system where those kids who failed the economy now no longer have money to send to schools. Schools run on very low budgets, teachers don't teach, either don't show up or complain to students about horrible working conditions rather than teaching them.

-Academic deflation is also used in countries where the elites send their children to study overseas. In Korea for example, the elite kids are all in the US or Canada or New Zealand getting their inflated grades, so the average Korean kid should get his or her grades deflated, and that gives the elite kids the advantage.

So what's a normal education system?

Ideally, a good system would be one where teachers are career teachers, teachers don't work too many hours, teachers engage in professional development during their free time, teachers teach to the best of their ability.

And more importantly, teachers give a fair assessment of tests, and test grades are not a political affair.

I say this is an ideal. In the French schools I used to go to for example, a lot of the children of French embassy staff oddly enough had very high grades, and often refused to let me look at what made them get those high grades. They would hide their test sheets like it was marijuana or heroin or something.

You get the idea.

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