Regarding the Feb. 5 article “Why can’t Japanese kids get into Harvard?“: I agree that the Japanese education system holds back many students with talent, particularly in terms of creativity and in the pursuit of anything outside the normal curriculum. But to suggest that only an education from an Ivy League university is the key to engaging successfully with the future global society is U.S.-centric.
It is true that the majority of Japanese people only speak Japanese, which is only spoken in Japan. But criticisms of the Japanese based on this observation are hypocritical if you consider that the only language most Americans speak is English, that China is the up-and-coming economy, and that most of the world’s population speak something other then English.
Mentioning that “Asia is increasingly engaging the world in the exchange of ideas” makes it seem as if the “world” is the United States. The U.S. is no longer the center of the universe, as China and India have become increasingly powerful and influential. The argument that Japan, and its education in particular, is insular is certainly true, but to hold up America’s brand as the benchmark to aspire to reeks of imperialism.
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