Educational Development in the Asian Countries

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Department od Education, NTNU


The Asian region consists of some forty independent countries. In 1980, there were 2,558 million people(roughly 58% of the world population) living in this part of this world (which covers 20.3% of the world land area)with per capita income ranging from as high as US$8,378 IN Japan(1981)to as low as US$112 in Bangladesh(1978/1979). The population density of the region is fairly high and the rapid population growth is still a considerable handicap for economic development in most of the Asian countries. While urbanization is growing steadily in most of the countries, the urban population is still a small percentage of the total population in the region.Excluding Japan, which is highly industrialized, and the Middle East oil─exporting nations, the rest of the Asian countries can be drawn with a dividing line of per capita income setting at US$360 per annum. Those low─income countries where per capita income is lower than the above mentioned level are still in the condition of underdevelopment, but the countries which can be placed in the middle income bracket are actually newly industrializing countries. Although their per capita income is generally far behind that of the industrialized nations, these newly upsurged countries have made great strides both in economic growth and in the process of modernization in the past decade. Today, developing countries like Singapore, the Republic of China(Taiwan)and South Korea have drawn international attention and built themselves a reputation with their highest sustained rate of economic growth. Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines also have undergone an immense change in the socio─economic aspect.This essay will attempt to describe the main educational issues and the coping strategies in the Asian countries, but the discussion will be limited to within the scope of the newly industrializing countries where education plays a most dynamic role in nation building and economic development of the country. The school system is en