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Documentary-maker raises spectre of end to US supremacy

Praveen Bose  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

The next six to eight years will see a shift in the economic centre of gravity towards India and China in the east from the west. China’s efforts to develop entrepreneurship among its young is no less than scary for many in the US. The US is also in awe with the education system India. The Chinese education system has been transformed into one with a great emphasis on technological blend, said Robert A Compton, an entrepreneur, professional venture capitalist, angel investor and who had been a trustee of the Kauffman Foundation dedicated to accelerating entrepreneurship.

In India and China, the education system is Darwinian in nature where it is the survival of the fittest. In the US, on the other hand, it is an inclusive education which tries to meet the common denominator. He finds Chinese high school education to be more aggregative and the school education system to be more inter-disciplinary . Compton had produced a documentary ‘Two Million Minutes’, a documentary seemingly aimed at ‘pricking’ the collective psyche of the US and wake the people in power and who matter to do something about the education system to make it suitable for the demands of the 21st century and ensure that US is able to keep its competitive advantage.

Till now, Compton has got in touch with governors of about 12 states in the US to convince them to work towards reforming the education system in their respective states.

The US now feels threatened by the developments on the education front as it feels ill-equipped to deal with developments in the 21st century. Most people feel “in the US there is over-investment in athletics and sports, and under-investment on education. This is in contrast to China and India where parents lay emphasis on education and not sports.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had earlier shown the inadequacy of the US education system that had imperilled US’s global competitiveness. The US is falling behind very fast.

‘Two Million Minutes’, the documentary, takes its title from the amount of time most students spend in high school absorbing, enough math, science, literature and history to compete in an increasingly flat, competitive world.

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First Published: Tue, December 30 2008. 00:00 IST