TODO: ! The first book edited by Philip G. Altbach that I have read. This volume covers the rise and growth of the modern Asian university system. OverTODO: ! The first book edited by Philip G. Altbach that I have read. This volume covers the rise and growth of the modern Asian university system. Overall, a very interesting read, worthwhile especially for academics who want to better understand their professional world. +++ The modern Asian university system piques the curiosity of the casual Western observer: why does it look like a slightly modified British system? Why the current approach to scientific policy? Why the current approach to research subjects, treatment of corruption, political power of students, etc.? ++/- As all the other volumes edited by Altbach I've read, except for the overview matter each chapter explains the situation in one country, written by an expert of that country. Additionally, chapters in this edited volume are grouped by development stage, which is apparently possible to decide easily about systems in Asia. -- As expected in general from a volume that collects material from different authors, but perhaps less understandable for such a narrow topic and experienced editor, the quality of the content varies greatly. What is perhaps even less expected is that the quality of the writing also varies significantly; some chapters even abound in the wooden language of closed systems, characterized primarily by an excessive use of specialist terms. ++ the introduction is very good, very useful....more
TODO: + well-written, quick read +++ excellent book about the establishment and growth of a top-notch young faculty. +++ Addresses the interesting questiTODO: + well-written, quick read +++ excellent book about the establishment and growth of a top-notch young faculty. +++ Addresses the interesting questions: how to start? What goals? What plan? With whom? How to manage? How to grow the human resources? +++/- acknowledges the hard truths: the impact on funding of using the name of the first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew; the impact on education and research topics of being located in Singapore; the tensions between Western and Asian policies, leading to interesting issues in developing content and human resources; etc. Unfortunately, these acknowledgements are limited in scope and do not lead to reasonable critique of the Singaporean government's policies - normal, given the possible punishment as enshrined in law. (The exceptions has only a few sentences, quoting and analyzing the words of Western academics, such as Freedman, but sugar-coating them in praising words about Singapore's government said by the cited Western academics). ---/+ one-sided, all is bright and pleasant in this facility. The growth and impact are indeed excellent, but there is still so much to do......more
TODO: + very clear, high quality writing. A delight to read such an eloquent story! +++ Very good book, excellent in many parts but annoying in its manTODO: + very clear, high quality writing. A delight to read such an eloquent story! +++ Very good book, excellent in many parts but annoying in its many propaganda parts. Excellent and lengthy analysis of China's leadership, policies, and issues, if more compassionate than that of Southeastern Asian countries. +++ I finally understood how Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia and Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge were possible. +/- Many politically charged statements, which makes the book difficult to assess objectively. +++ recommended reading for anyone trying to understand the history and politics of the region. - Unfortunately, the book covers only the period until 2000. So much has happened in Asia (and the entire world) since!
Good policies: + the right to leave the country + running the economy + house ownership + low corruption + greening + focus on education
Main issues: - the chase for First World standard (ends when reaching standard, leaving little else to achieve as Grand Dream) - the nationalist call combined with fear of neighbors who want to destroy them (never ends, if played right, but destructive in forming a safe environment) - presenting a well-known leader as the know-it-all source of decisions, for decades (ends when said leader retires, typically with nepotism or cronyism in replacement process - in N. Korea, same family; in China, same political groups; in the US, same family) - progressive tightening of the screw (ends when a large fraction of the population cannot take it anymore) - patient but decisive elimination of rivals - resettlement of most people, specifically separating ethical groups (Stalin also did this) - many rules, disproportionate and seemingly discriminating punishment (example: the widely different duration of limiting the volume of printed newspapers, after seemingly similar infringements of the law) - financial incentives for people for voting with the ruling party (upgrading houses first in quarters won by the ruling party) - seemingly nepotism, with all three children winning medals and high positions in environments linked to their father. That the children, now mature, have coped well with the high-responsibility positions is undoubtful. However, the key question is: would Singaporean children without a connected parent have had the same opportunities and success? - lots of propaganda (we have to catch uo, pressure from neighboring enemies, return to traiditinal values) - using the "others do it too" argument and other logical fallacies
Other issues: - need for change, as accumulation of resentment - happens with coaches of the most successful teams, when players become fed up with the same person managing the course of action - only a small fraction of the population of a First World country is willing to do Third World jobs; the missing workers willing to do them can be imported, which raises racial and ethnical tensions, and fights over salaries and opportunity; the missing workers can also simply be provided from the younger generation, causing unwillingness to work and street riots (as in England)
I got involved again in observing Romanian politics sometimes around June 2014, after a break of 1-2 years, and now felt compelled to read Klaus IohanI got involved again in observing Romanian politics sometimes around June 2014, after a break of 1-2 years, and now felt compelled to read Klaus Iohannis ' biography-cum-political statement, Pas cu Pas. Overall, a book of no frills, little detail, yet unbridled ambition for a new Romania.
(Edit: Full disclosure: I like K, voted for him in the diaspora, twice, and I think constructive criticism would help him and other new age politicians in Romania understand what voters really want.)
(Edit: Warning: this is an opinion piece. I find it impossible to review a political statement objectively.)
The central point of the book is (of course, Iohannis, but, because he is so little known) a cautios, process-driven approach to politics, management, and everything else. This is both the main feature and, for me, the main detractor of Klaus' message. Perhaps it is good for a country riddled with corruption and perennially inefficient management. But this is no grand vision for the future, no creative approach. Certainly not a new Barrack Obama (perhaps for the better).
I loved the part about Sibiu: how a medieval city that has reached near-destruction due to neglect has been saved, and later even turned into the European Cultural Capital. Very impressive! I also liked that Iohannis' vision was and still is that Sibiu should not remain moored in this fantastic achievement (for a city in Romania).
The personality depicted here seems a Twitter profile, terse and keywordy. We learn very little about the person Klaus Iohannis, other that he was a typical child, albeit belonging to a minority, both ethnic and religious, that later his hopes of settling in Sibiu and his dreams of having a respectable academic job were both met. There is a bit about his personal approach to life - hint, it's a process, and K is moderate and patient. He is less so regarding the performance of the Romanian Government and officials, whose obedience and strong ties to the "center" is often a source of (rightful) derision.
(Edit:) The end of the book focuses on the future, importantly, Romania's future. While the topics---internationally embedding in the EU and NATO, nationally eliminating corruption and growing the economy---were very interesting and timely, the treatment is rather superficial. I was less than impressed, for example, with the treatment of education: after identifying correctly its crucial role in creating the workforce for a competitive economy and in positioning Romania as an attractive international partner, the assessment of major problems and the proposed approach remain very limited (higher salaries, long-term planning, more respect from the other state institutions) - - but, how will the financing be found? How to attract leading educators, the only ones who can make Romanian education competitive? How to keep the top students in the system? How to involve the Romanian talent currently hired abroad? How to convince the masses of the importance of serious education? How to maintain competitiveness, if the middle class continues to grow fast? How to attract a body of foreign students? How to export the services? In other words, education is a microcosm of the entire system, and solving its problems seems to me a very challenging problems for which I have not seen answers in this book.
The presentation is another stopper. The writing is particularly dull. There are enough typos to notice, including some that change significantly the meaning of a politically sensitive issue. The print quality is low; that paper that causes dog-ears to appear is not top. (Edited: someone mentioned price as a reason for the low quality. I bought 10 books in the same bookfest where I bought this one, and found many of the others to offer better quality per dollar.)...more