Thursday, July 3, 2008

Social Capital

Listening to Ian Williamson, Associate Professor of Human Resource Development at the Melbourne Business School on their Leadercast series, I was compelled to write this. Social capital is the possibility of exchange that exists between connections within social networks. Anyone else see how this relates to education?
We are shifting from industrial age economy to a knowledge age economy. He says developing third world countries like China and India have growing populations. However many of their growing populations are unemployable in the new knowledge economies because they lack the prerequisite skills needed to enter the new knowledge economy successfully.
Anyone who has seen Two Million Minutes in its entirety will know that our nation's schools are contrasted in that movie with those in China and India. The theme of that movie is that Chinese schools and Indian schools are educating for the new knowledge economy and doing a better job of it.
How could this two situations occur simultaneously? I think the obvious answer lies in who attends schools in all three nations. Even in our own nation homeless, destitute, and migrant children often do not attend school regularly.
The shortages of prepared employees projected by 2010 predict major economic difficulties. There is also high turnover and mobility in all three countries. How should we all prepare ourselves? Professor Williamson's ideas on social capital are applicable to education.
I encourage you to view both the movie and listen to the podcast and synthesize your own ideas.

Photo courtesy of yewenyi taken October 16, 2006 in Busan, Busan available at shared with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 license.

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