China is focusing on science and technology, areas that reflect the country's development needs but also reflect the preferences of an authoritarian system that restricts speech. The liberal arts often involve critical thinking about politics, economics and history, and China's government, which strictly limits public debate, has placed relatively little emphasis on achieving international status in those subjects.
Could that reality have any connection to this reality reported by Ed Week:
The Business Roundtable, a Washington-based coalition of leading U.S. corporations, released an action plan to accelerate student achievement in the fields of math, science, technology, and engineering in July, with the goal of doubling the number of graduates in engineering over the next 10 years. According to the group, the number of students in the United States planning to pursue engineering degrees declined by one-third between 1992 and 2002. ("Business Coalition Focuses on Math, Science Careers," Aug. 10, 2005.)And do we have to guess why Spellings and her Commission has been instructed by the corporationists to muck around in higher ed policy?