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Cultural Diversity, Human Development, and Education

Elsevier Ltd
DOI: 10.1016/b0-08-043076-7/02322-6
  • Education


The human species acquires its behavioral characteristics through learning. Moreover, humans organize learning opportunities for their young to socialize or enculturate them in particular ways. Education has emerged from this species-specific tendency. There should be close, mutually supporting relationships between diverse cultures, differently organized ways of educating children, and correspondingly differentiated courses and products of individual development. However, two standardizing factors have made the relationships among culture, human development, and education much more complex. First, to survive in the present competitive world, most cultures are eager to promote in their children the learning of science and technology, and thus to enhance literacy, numeracy, and a beginning of an understanding of science. As a result, education in the form of institutionalized, basic public schooling has become almost universal across cultures. Second, though the human mind develops by being socialized or enculturated, it has some universal features as a product of the species' evolutionary history. This implies that even diverse cultures may produce a highly similar pattern of individual development. In this article we discuss these complicated relationships between culture, human development, and education, taking four domains of growth as examples.

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