An article titled ‘Ignorance is everywhere and everywhere we are ignorant’ by Michael Welton (dated Nov 13 2015) was sent to me by a close friend. He knows that I was closely involved with matters educational, and how critical I am about what is taught and how it is taught (at least in Australia). I will allow a few extracts to speak for themselves.
“The US National Geographic Society published a survey of geographic literacy. This international survey of young people in the US and either other countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and Britain—asked 56 questions about geography and current events. The organization’s survey discovered that about 87% of Americans, aged 18 to 24, the prime age for military service, could not place Iraq on the map. Americans could find on average only seven of the 16 countries in the quiz. Only 71% of the surveyed Americans could locate the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest body of water…. This survey occurred over 10 years ago.”
“John Farley, president of the National Geographic Society, thought that these results reflect something deeper than lack of geographic knowledge. He referred to the ‘apparent retreat of young people from a global society in an era that does not allow such luxury.’ … Fahey said that this ‘generation is highly skilled in what they want to block out and what they want to know.’ ‘Unfortunately, the things they block out seems to include knowledge of the world we all live in.’ One can also assume that the inability to locate Iraq on a world map means that these students know next to nothing about Middle Eastern culture and politics or anything much about Islam.”
Think about all those young Americans killed, maimed, and PTSD’d while seeking to save the Afghans from themselves; and breaking up Iraq into 3 ethno-geographical enclaves to enable the West to control Iraqi territory. Pity that some unidentified Arab nation(s) have spoilt that strategy.
Is it also preferable for young soldiers to be ignorant about the people they are sent to fight?
( Dr. Michael Welton is a professor at the University of Athabasca. He is the author of Designing the Just Learning Society: a Critical Inquiry.)