Category Archives: Education

The failure of fuzzy opining

2016-06-07 Another epic fail-01

The following item was part of my daily dose of the Economist this Tuesday the 7th of June:

Class action: China’s university entrance

The 9.4m teenagers taking the two-day exam which starts today have been cramming for years. The tests, known as the gaokao, will (they believe) determine their entire future. Meritocratic exams have been revered in China since imperial times, when any man could sit them to enter the civil service. For centuries they enabled the poor but talented to rise to high office. The gaokao is intended similarly to be a great leveller. But China’s education system is becoming more unfair. The number of university students has increased nearly sevenfold since 1998, but the expanded intake has mostly been from cities, whereas 90% of rural youths leave school at 15 or younger. As a result the country is increasingly divided between those with degrees and those who never even make it to senior high school. Give China’s rulers a failing grade on that test.

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India: the good, the bad and the puzzling

2013-12-15 cultural comfort zone

After our first trip to India I wrote down my questions and thoughts in a post I titled “Liberty for all?” A friend with a more positive view of the place thought that my criticism was a little too harsh.
My views about India did not change fundamentally, I still think that they are not ready for ideologies requiring a high degree of individualism (such as libertarianism) but I am not as sure as I was after our first visit. India tends to bring out strong reactions from people. I know some who hated it, many who would never return. We’ve been there three times.
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Who’s the bully here?

2013-07-23 cyberbullying laws

I was watching Ezra on 2013-07-18 talking about a proposed  Cyberbullying law in Manitoba. It was an excellent, fiery presentation pointing out all the ridiculous shortcomings of the proposed law. He even confronted the sponsor of the bill whose line of defense was something along the lines of: “Don’t worry about the fuzziness. Just trust us. Lawyers and politicians are all decent people and we are going to do right thing. Nobody will abuse this law. Scouts’ honor.”
As I was watching this elected politician, I had to ask, who is the real bully in this setup? How did we get here?

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Moral-free Montreal Mob Freedom

2012-04-28-montreal mob

There is nothing new about students protesting. It must be part of their job description. When I was traveling in France in 1987, we picked up a hitch-hiker who was a student at the time, in the time of nationwide student protests about tuition fees. He was shocked speechless by my arguments. I questioned his morality. I questioned the morality of forcing the poor to subsidize the rich. The argument was clearly new to him. I am yet to meet someone who can offer a reasonable rebuttal to it.

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