Third is the one with the hairy chest

A new documentary made on the precarious situation of the American education system places a large amount of emphasis on how the quality of Indian and Chinese students far surpass those of America and that this situation will pose a serious threat to US economic and technological prominence.

High school often is measured by years or events, but across many nations, there is a common factor: Every student has 2 million minutes from the time he or she leaves eighth grade until high school graduation.

What happens — and doesn’t happen — in that span of time in the U.S., China, and India is the subject of the documentary Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination, conceived by Robert A. Compton, who also was the executive director.

What Compton learned in making the film was that high-school students from India and China surpassed U.S. students on every academic level — which puts the economic well-being of the U.S. at grave risk in a global economy.

“The simple fact is, global education standards have passed America by,” Compton said in a press release. “When it was Finland who was winning, it wasn’t such a concern. But now that our K-12 students are being outperformed academically by China and India — the two highest populated countries in the world with the fastest growing economies and with cultures that embrace intellectual challenge — it is cause for serious concern.”

In addition, few Americans realize that India and China — which have a combined population of 2.3 billion people — will have an enormous educated workforce in the years to come, said Compton, who worked in the corporate world before becoming a documentary filmmaker. The two countries have more than 400 million students in K-12 education compared to the 53 million in the U.S.

The fears expressed by Compton in this documentary, while valid, completely overlook how untapped India’s true potential still is. With is public education infrastructure in its current state India is still no where near where it could be in pumping out qualified, motivated people ready to work and become productive members of society. With only 2/3 of Males and 1/3 of females literate, the best is yet to come assuming that these gaps can be addressed.


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