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Are We Ready for the Asian Century?

Thursday, October 03, 2013

So we have a new government in Canberra and it looks like business as usual in the education sector, failing some new policy directions which weren’t canvassed during the election. However, one would expect a continuation of the policy to engage with our northern neighbours as we move deeper into the Asian Century.

In terms of education, the promotion of the learning of Asian languages and extending our knowledge of Asian cultures and histories would seem to be imperative. Some schools are doing well in this area and, with more funding and training, this can be improved further. However, what is not so clear is whether our attitudes towards Asia are changing from fear and xenophobia to acceptance, tolerance and understanding.

As a younger generation travels overseas (beyond Bali) and takes up educational and business opportunities, it is to be hoped that the inevitable cultural contact will promote a mutual respect and understanding that goes beyond the culinary.

It is not unusual for people to be afraid of the unfamiliar but hopefully we can have an open mind to learning from cultures that are often thousands of years older than ours. The opportunities that come from broadening our horizons, and our minds, are enormous and can enrich our lives and those of our children.

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