To Paraphrase Bush, ‘Is Our University’s Learning?’

Japanese language exam

This Japanese University English Textbook is a Joke, We’re too Worried About Japan’s Future to Laugh… | RocketNews24

We had a recent semi-literate President who went to the best private schools in America and learned virtually nothing.  Educating children is very difficult.  For eons, societies struggled to teach their young.  To run a civilization, you need sane, educated people.  The race to educate and thus rule is continuous.  All countries compare each other in this area, education.  And it is a hard race and the winners are whoever learns the most and applies this the best.


In Asia, the question about how to learn English or not learn it is a huge issue.  Japan requires English classes for much of the educational system but teaches it in such a fashion, virtually no one learns anything.  The cultural push to alienate and eliminate all outsiders destroys any ability to learn any foreign languages with any level of skill.


Nursing exam pass rate down among foreign applicants: this system imports nurses because few Japanese women want the job but  Only 30 foreigners pass nursing exam despite inept lessons offered.  So hundreds take these tests and 95% fail.  I was a language major in college, my language was German.  I even got a scholarship to study in Germany in 1968.


My first day in school, I announced to everyone at the assembly that no one was allowed to practice their English with me, it was Verboten.  Nur deutsch.  Within six months, I spoke German like a native and when I was arrested that July (we were having a revolution, you see) I told the Polizei that I was an American citizen so one of them asked me to speak English and I couldn’t do this without a heavy German accent!


The nurses taking this test live in Japan for several years.  But are not immersed in the language, obviously.  No one in the government makes a move to change this fake system by either having no tests but using evaluation of work as the method to see who is capable or by changing the test to make it more realistic.  You see, the bureaucrats making up the tests are people who survived the Japanese test system which is an odious system.  Memorization of obscure grammar tools is the main goal.


It is well known in the foreign teaching world in Japan that the Japanese don’t learn English or any other language well due to this concentration on goofy, arcane and bizarre grammatical exceptions.  No overall comprehension tests are administered.  Unlike with many of the tests I underwent which require reading quickly and then writing an essay in a foreign tongue, the tests one has to pass in Japan look at the minute rather than the overall picture.


Frightened by how swiftly South Korea, Taiwan and China are mastering foreign languages and making huge inroads overseas in trade due to this, the LDP education proposal includes TOEFL prerequisite for univ entrance ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion


The proposal states, “The development of human resources is essential for achieving the Abe cabinet’s most important issue, economic revitalization. Moving away from egalitarianism, strategic human resource development aimed at strengthening top achievers will be undertaken.”


In order to develop globally-active individuals, the draft recommends a three-pronged approach: drastically reforming English language education; revamping science and math education with an aim to promoting innovation and a doubling of PhDs; and enhancing education for information and communication technology.


TOEFL is used for admissions in a number of schools.  The SAT in the US is used to see if students understand college-level English and a surprising number can’t pass even if they were born in the US and English is their main form of communication.  Literacy and a love of language beyond, ‘Cute’ or ‘Yo, dude’ is required if one wishes to attend a university.


The poverty of modern language use thanks to TV and other passive entertainments is getting worse every decade.  Periodically, I overhear people being entertained by media when outdoors in stores, etc.  The audio is moronic, often only a few dozen words used over and over again.  Overhearing girls talking about something they like is mainly ‘cute’ with virtually no other descriptive words, often repeated endlessly.  Once, I counted a group of teens saying this magic, all-purpose word 45 times in less than a minute.


Japan can’t learn English or any other foreign language any time soon because, collectively, they don’t want to so they don’t.  Meanwhile, China is returning to its roots as the Middle Kingdom:  Top China University’s Scrap English – Forbes  Note the ‘University’s’ here.  Totally bad grammar!  Forbes has no more editors so no one corrected this headline.  It should be plural ‘Universities’.  Proof that the education system used by the headline writer is verging on illiterate.


In most of the country’s major state universities, those who have applied for science and engineering majors for example now just need to pass the pre-requisite math and physics exams.


Yu Han, an enrollment officer at Tsinghua University, told China Daily on Sunday that the subject was eliminated in order to reduce new students’ study time and get more of them to focus on their course majors.


Earlier, few papers were published first in Chinese.  Now, they are catching up with the West and feel strong enough to no longer need mainly English.  The Japanese still publish studies and papers but it is falling off as the country declines whereas in China it is taking off like a rocket.  Student count, knowledge sliding – The Japan Times:  in the last 20 years the number of students graduating from high school in Japan has fallen by 50%.  Only 1 million today.  And they come to the universities with very poor skills.


The number of college students has remained at half a million which means weaker students get to go to universities with less work.  And they know this which is why they don’t bother so much anymore.  The universities have a high graduation rate but only because they let anyone graduate easily, it is the highest on earth but isn’t producing great intellectuals.


China has over 6 million university students.  And they are the cream of the crop from a population base of a billion people!  There are six times more university students in China than there are high school students in Japan.


Now on to India which has never had a revolution and thus has the old, creaky, discriminatory system of caste rule: What Are You Doing to Fix India’s Broken Education System? –  The article is OK but by far, the best information, as it always is with the NYT, is in the comments which is probably why so few articles there allow comments.  At least this one did:


Uziel NogueiraFlorianopolis – SC – Brasil

The problem in India is not the poor quality of public education.


The problem in India –and many developing and developed countries, including Brazil — is the political system dominated by a small wealthy elite.


In India, the children of the elite have the best school money can buy. Perhaps (guessing) 5 million privileged children out of a population of 600 million school age kids. Public education of good quality is not a priority for the political system to spend taxpayers money.


By the way, something similar to India has occurred in the US. One of the best public education systems in the world after WWII became a dumping ground for children of the poor and disenfranchised.


India produces ten times the University students that Japan produces.  And most go to private, privileged schools.  And then there is this comment:



Yes, india is doing very poorly on mass education. But the reasons (as Mitra points out) are very complex and have as much to do with over-regulation and lack of accountability. Govt teachers are hired for life and usually for political reasons. They can never be challenged or removed for any reason. If a parent dares challenge them or the school, the teachers union can have the parent beaten or the child thrown out of the school !!!!


Some very large govt programs in “education” have been created recently (including the “right to education”) but 70-90% of the funds are stolen before delivery by the ruling political parties in different states. This is one reason why legislatures are so happy to pass these “rights” and affiliated laws.


At the same time opening a private school in india is very expensive and will involve extensive payoffs to local politicians. In some recent incidents, private schools were closed because they taught too much english (the best way to get poor people richer) or because they had stumbled over some obscure local legislation.


This complex reality isn’t reflected in this article.

Here is an article discussing the caste problems of India.  Nearly the entire industrial and business and banking system is run by the two top castes:  When will the Brahmin-Bania hegemony end? – Livemint


India’s population of Brahmins and Banias and Jains all together is 6% or less.

Media in India is almost entirely controlled by Banias and Jains…The largest caste in India is Shudra.
We think Shudra means untouchable, but it actually means peasant. The peasant castes, such as Patel, constitute more than 50% of India’s population.


Going to private schools and getting the best education and being an elite with rich parents doesn’t always translate into being good citizens or even successful:  Katheryn Kalikow daughter of real estate mogul Peter Kalikow arrested with heroin | Mail Online


Kalikow’s father is Peter S Kalikow, a real estate baron with a fortune of up to $1billion. He is the former head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, once ran the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is a former owner of the New York Post…Court documents show undercover Bronx police detectives responded to a Craiglist post advertising ‘stamps, diesel, H train, dope, bundles, tickets, dog food’ – all of which are slang for heroin.


Both she and her boyfriend went to Vassar College at $50 thousand a year.  The gangsta culture has taken over our country and is the model many youth follow, rich or poor.  This is a social problem due to our media and when daddy owned the media, he was part of this business of making the gangsta culture attractive as does Hollywood and music moguls.

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18 responses to “To Paraphrase Bush, ‘Is Our University’s Learning?’

  1. lucky13

    In India, near grim [I do mean grim] slums a ‘pasha’ built a billion dollar building. No, not a office building, a ‘skyscraper home’ for himself, should he ever move it. [Last I heard, it was unoccupied].

    “We had a recent semi-literate President who went to the best private schools in America and learned virtually nothing. ”
    Yes and Michelle did not have the grades or smarts for the Ivy League, but her skin color got her in and she still hated the USA, Whites, and her school /school mates,.
    If you doubt, theres ‘The Obama Files’.com. Her writings may still be up.

  2. lucky13

    ‘Literacy and a love of language beyond, ‘Cute’ or ‘Yo, dude’ is required if one wishes to attend a university.’

    There was a time when most were considered to ‘not be college material’.
    By the 1990s Clinton declared ‘everyone should have a college education’.
    And as you know, the for profit schools and loan system has further weakened education.
    My local news happily announces mega millions going into online classes.
    Please, online [for credit] classes are a bad joke.

    Are teachers unions to blame? Affirmative action? For profits? The student loan program? GI Bill?

  3. tio

    I find this post most interesting. Mass education was viewed, from its inception, as an exercise in cost benefit analysis by big capital with regard to labour. Each party initially concluding that the establishment of this ongoing contract was mutually beneficial. The capitalists got drones more suited to their ends, and labour got something akin to opportunity/progress. It is this deal that has now changed/broken somewhat.

    I read that some economists conclude that the greatest actuarial crime of the PIGS depression is the lost future earnings potential of the currently unemployed youth in those debt-toilets, I scoff. They have clearly never been to England to see our system of education. it is so poor it is difficult for me to imagine anything worse. We lose 80% of new teachers within a year, the corporates have to teach basic literacy and numeracy to the cherries they so carefully pick – I mean wtf?

    Tragically it seems as if a new agreement has been reached between the sociopathic inbred elite in gubbermint and the ulta-left militant fuckwits in charge of the school system here. Each is delighted with the results, although for entirely different reasons, certainly from those originally envisioned. This is just another bubble or rather glass dome that should be swept away with everything else, tick tock.

  4. DeVaul

    Here is an amusing article about education and its “disparate impacts”:

    Notice the Asian boy doing his homework on the back of his father’s moped. I do not agree with this kind of highly competitive schooling, as it destroys things that we believe are no longer necessary to life, but which children actually need to become whole persons.

    I also agree with tio about the origin of public schools, although in America they also had the function of taking immigrants who had nothing in common and giving them a common purpose in their new land, thus lowering ethnic conflict in America.

  5. tio

    I’m not for one thing or the other, what I believe in is what Elaine so often alludes to and that is, in a word, ‘balance’. This can be expressed by the German system of education that is both horizontally and vertically accommodative, trying to maximise what each child has to offer accordingly. Not to mention trying to create an economy that is in fact symbiotic. I believe there are some Nordic countries that don’t bother with formal education as such until very late, preferring to hike instead, when these kids are introduced to more formal pursuits they accelerate past their continental peers in short order. My points are that this is too important to leave to the two vested interests that I have mentioned (nothing should be left off the table) and that we need to consider what we are producing and most importantaly for what purpose. And oh yeh .. what we (UK) have at the moment sucks the sweat of a dead mans balls.

    I’m going to sit in the garden now and eat worms.

  6. John

    I blame Snooki. :-p

  7. emsnews

    Germany invented Kindergarten. Not as a school but for socialization. When I was in a high class Gymnasium in Tübingen, a beautiful university town in the Black Forest, if the weather was beautiful, the Direktor of our school would announce, ‘Spatziergang!’ and we would all jump up and go for a long, long hike.

    One time, we went to this Bierstube in the forest and got roaring drunk and then hitchhiked back to the school! I was only just 17 years old. Our teacher was ripped.

  8. tio

    From Fred on Everything “.. so they could invent stuff to help everybody, like a really good hangover cure.”

    1 x Large glass orange juice
    1 x Large glass water w/ large spoon effervescent salts
    1 x dose of strong pain killers

    you’ll probably never have all three when you need’em though.

  9. JT

    I’m not sure it’s just the tests that’s to blame.
    I studied those same things and had the same kind of tests.
    Memorization of obscure grammar is the thing about the english language that you just have to memorize.

    I got straight A’s from english with very little studying.
    And although I have studied english grammar for 10 years total, I have absolutely no knowledge or recollection of any of it.

    I’m blessed with what they here call an ear for languages.
    (it’s not uncommon in any way, I guess about 40% of all people have it).
    You just try to remember phrases that you’ve heard on tv or read in a book and you can fill those test easily.

    School system, no dubbing of english tv shows, reading books in a foreign language, being from a small country and spending time abroad are the keys to learning languages IMO.

    I read all the science fiction I could find as a teenager (in english and in finnish) and of course I read Lord of The Rings in both finnish and english.

    And the rest I picked up from McGyver, Dallas, Love Boat, Miami Vice and Small house on the prairie.
    (pls do not comment on my grammar.
    I’m too lazy to check my posts with thesaurus).

  10. trondack

    Elaine, I always wondered why after WWII, the world didn’t try to adopt a universal language such as Esperanto.

  11. JT

    And Knight Rider of course.

    I saw this great documentary about Tallinn receiving Finnish TV prodcasts during the cold war. Finns smuggled the circuits there and estonians built the TV sets.

    There is a great bit about estonian kids talking to cars (3 mins onwards).
    Only the western cars could talk and you needed an electronic watch.

  12. JT

    I like the latin languages.
    But respectfully I think some of the words should be changed.

    Milky way for example is awful compared to others…

    Silver River – in chinese
    River of the Sky – japanese
    Path of the Birds – finn-ugric

    milky way – yuck…

    “At the edges of Earth was Lintukoto, “the home of the birds”, a warm region in which birds lived during the winter. The Milky Way is called Linnunrata, “the path of the birds”, because the birds were believed to move along it to Lintukoto and back.”

  13. lucky13

    A neighbor CLAIMS the Swat teams in Korea bust ‘study groups’.
    As in, Korean parents send grade schoolers to after school private schools,
    where they study till very late at night and the Swat team comes in, as
    forcing small children to do this is illegal.


  14. melponeme_k

    The US is regressing intellectually and all by design. The media is filled with stories about how great we are and most believe it.

    I was shocked to discover that most think the illegal assassination of Bin Laden is a wonderful event on Huffingtonpost today. People who believe that they are good liberals and free thinkers but instead are naive fascists. They can’t see how the assassination was what Bin Laden wanted. That it justified him.

    Now I know how the fascist mania in Germany (pre-WW2) started and why another variation of it is taking root here.

    The weirdest accusation leveled against my arguments against the assassination was that I was a Tea party Bagger or a Fox news watcher. Since when were these groups ever against Bin Laden’s assassination? And the best part of it all is that I’m not really a liberal. Years ago, during more level headed times, I would have been labeled a conservative centrist. Today I’m an insane radical.


    ELAINE: The day they announced the bin Laden assassination/murder of his family I said it was illegal and an invasion and would be a total diplomatic disaster and that dumping his body was to hide the fact they cut off his head for the Skull and Bones gang. I know I am right on all counts.

  15. JT

    What happened to respecting teachers over there?

    In the media at least there is only layoffs, paycuts and bashing teachers unions?

    Fixing this takes 10-20 years not 6 months.
    Community, kids, parents, school and the teachers together.

    Respect and responsibility.

  16. emsnews

    It is in the families and culture. We are the Assassination Nation with a bully boy military and super-high murder rate. We think guns are how we talk. So we grow dumber and more vicious each generation as this sort of thinking dominates more and more.

    Plus kids in the ghetto know who has the money, the chicks and the fun: drug dealers and thugs! Then rich kids like Michael Jackson and his white clone, Bieber, ape this even though they made money as ‘angelic boy singers’…no street creds!

    So they turned themselves into mini-thugs who strut around and do stupid things. Being stupid is good, being smart means being beaten senseless by the cops for being antiwar.

  17. Paul S

    The education system in the US is alot like the MIC: it is one big RACKET. It is designed to profit the political classes–of both Parties. Don’t think so? Check out the funding education, especially the University systems get. They get their funding consistently raised year after year regardless of which Party is in power, Repub or Dem. That should give one a clue. Cushy, extremely well paid employment are part of the political spoils system; educating the kinder is more of an afterthought. Examples: in my home state, the mens basketball coach was fired. The team didn’t perform very well. Don’t worry about the coach though; he’s leaving with a golden parachute worth $3.35 MILLION. This explains why the US education system is not educating its students. Improving intellectual achievement is difficult and it isn’t on the agenda anyway. This also explains why the University’s have no qualms about saddling their student with HUGE student loan debt and then sending these students out into one of the worst job markets in decades.

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