Reischauer the Asian savant and diplomat is well known to the American opinion-making public and it is this experience he...

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TOWARD THE 21ST CENTURY: Education for a Changing World

Reischauer the Asian savant and diplomat is well known to the American opinion-making public and it is this experience he draws upon here to discuss what he considers the gravest problem confronting the community of nations: how to revamp education on an international scale to meet the needs of a shrinking world in the throes of rapid, potentially holocaustic technological and sociopolitical change. As we hurtle toward the next century (whose ""problems are already here""), we must recognize, he says, that we are ""in the process of becoming a single great mass of humanity,"" that the global condition has radically altered since World War II, and that we will never be the same again. Ideologically, culturally, geographically, militarily, ontologically the old set of nationalistic saws, the old folk and literary knowledge (to borrow a phrase from Kenneth Boulding, whom Reischauer resembles here), just won't do anymore. That is the problem and the analysis. The solution? Not only must we reduce the ""generation gap in education"" (which becomes exponentially more critical with each passing day) but we must construct a new education which emphasizes our ""sense of shared interests and common identity as members of a single world community."" Without getting into curricular specifics, Reischauer calls for heavy attention to the ""high skills of communication"" (including language study), knowledge about other societies (""instruction of this sort should be regarded as being as basic a part of a liberal arts program as such old standbys as English, History, or Mathematics""), and preparation for ""world citizenship."" These are not unfamiliar ideas and, although they will strike many as utopian and hence impractical, Reischauer's smallish essay is refreshing for its faith in mankind's ability to deal intelligently with its irrational impulses.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1973