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Will society preside. This is a series of interviews with experts on Asian affairs designed to strengthen our understanding of Asian people and ideas. Your most on this transcribed series is the noted author on the ward winning broadcaster league Graham. Here now is Mrs. Graham. There are all sorts of revolutions going on in the world as you well know. Some I think will have a better or a more beneficial effect than others. They're not necessarily destructive. And the ones that we have very much in mind today are the two that are going on in age especially but also in Latin America and Africa. This is program is devoted to Asia I'll just concentrate on that continent. And I mean the revolutions in education and in communications. Our guest on this program is someone highly qualified to discuss these matters. There's divil he wrote a splendid piece about this topic will foreign affairs.
Most well regarded publication and his name is Data's S. Smith Jr. Mr Smith. I think it's probably gone to Asia more often than any American I've ever come across. Twenty nine trips to Asia he has been very concerned with books all his life and with ideas all his life. Formerly he was director of the Princeton University Press. Later on he was president of the Franklin book programs. At the present time he is an associate of John D Rockefeller of the third and a vice president of the JD authored fun and that is a foundation which has a special interest in Asian culture and Asian American cultural relations. He's also a trustee of that fund and a trustee of the Asia Society a Mr. Smith going to Asia 29 times must give you a point of view which Americans who don't go to aged just possibly cannot have. What has it done for you. All this knowledge and observation of Asia.
Well I think probably the most important thing is confirming what every wise person knows intellectually but not always emotionally that his own approach to life is not the only possible approach and that is our own society is not the only society in the world. I think that I have had a liberal education that has helped to broaden the formal education that I had through my contact with Asians through all these years. What would you say that unless a man brought an open mind to it to begin with that this effect would not take place. Absolutely. We have many friends I'm sure you have and I have who have traveled and it's just as if they had stayed home because their minds were closed and their eyes were closed. It was an opportunity for them which I'm afraid is often wasted. Exactly. Did you go specifically on your last trip to Asia which I think was several months ago when you stayed there for about five weeks. Was this trip in connection with some observations you
wanted to make about the development of education. This particular trip was especially in connection with the JTR third fund that you mentioned which is interested in the arts in Asia and in connection with the Asia society's interests in different countries and especially in this particular case in Indonesia. I would say that this this particular trip from which I came back a couple of weeks ago was a mix of different kinds of assignments that I had at that time. But the idea that education is now he had to stay and is rolling ahead it is speed which probably amazes the rest of the world. This is this growth of education nevertheless presents a number of problems and I thought you might be there on your last trip to see what some of these are and whether they're fun to do something about it well I think this is always the case. And I think you're very perceptive in mentioning the problems because I
think so many of us tend to take our bluebirds view that education will inevitably lead to peace and happiness. And I happen to think that for the near term. Education probably leads to trouble rather than clarification of problems because as law as soon as people become educated they then have ideas and ideas are what lead to political ructions. So that I think that it is not just simple of saying that education is going to lead us into a bright new future. I happen to be very optimistic about the future for Asia as well as for other countries. But I think that between now and that future we're going to have a lot of problems and the troubles are in a sense made more difficult by education because people are then able to participate in the decisions about these things whereas previously they
might have stood and let them go or just buy them. I suppose you could paraphrase if I think that a little knowledge is the danger absolutely. But at what point is this little knowledge enough knowledge. I mean when does this short range anxiety you have begin to relax. Because education has gone along far enough and strongly enough so that it benefits all then beginning to be felt. I think this ties in with something that we were mentioning earlier of the fact that education cannot be considered all by itself but must be considered in relation to social development and economic development and political development. And I believe that is only one of these three things are going along together that you can say you have arrived at a safe point about educational development. I think a number of the points that you made in this extremely good article called two revolutions was the fact that all of the latest
technology can be used in a way with less resistance in Asia or some of the developing countries because they don't have a lot of set standards to get rid of and they have not only set standards but vested interests. Right. People who whose economic interest will be upset by the introduction of new things. But on the other hand you point out that although technology could get in more easily the wherewithal to make it work is still not in existence. And of course one of the basic where with laws is not. Not money but an educated society that can make use of the things that are communicated so that we need education in order to develop the society. But we also have to have a developed society in order to make use of the education. But there is a statistic in this piece which I thought was a very encouraging one that is expected by 1990 18 of the Asian
countries that we were discussing them should be universal education or let's say a literacy naturally going with it. You don't think that's too optimistic. No I think that's really true the figures that you're quoting are from a study that you Nasco people made on request of the Asian member states you Nasco and the level that they're speaking of is that by 1980 there will be. Compulsory 100 percent education through what they call elementary grades which I think goes through the sixth grade. This is in contrast to the present rate of 10 percent of those people of that age in school in Afghanistan at the present time. Fifty seven percent in India. And then it goes up higher in some countries. Taiwan I believe it's 98 percent in some Asian countries then you find the
differences in education and literacy. If you compare various parts of the absolute which are the countries which are most advanced from this point of view. Well of course Japan is as developed a country as the United States or a European country there in economic terms in education in so many way. Japan is exactly the same as a Western European country. Aside from that I would say that in in many ways Taiwan Singapore Malaysia are probably the most advanced in many of the ways. But it really is an unfortunate thing to try to make a scale of that sort you have to look at particular things and see how they stack up. Well many of us realize that a great deal of the United States foreign aid went to Japan it
went to Taiwan and that should it come to some extent for their progress. But are there other factors. I mean it is astonishing what the Japanese did. What was involved aside from money. This is a great great mystery that I think the Japanese have not yet themselves answered to their their satisfaction. And it goes back of course before the Second World War though their greatest development has been since then. There are Japanese who give high credit to the American occupation and think that this is how get them started in the right direction. Well Mr. Smith when you were the director president of the Franklin book programs. What part of you work to do with that books were disseminated. All the parts of the wound especially the objective was to help develop a local book publishing in developing countries not to distribute the books ourselves so that our purpose was to try
to create a book publishing industry that could go on supplying the books that were needed there and we had 17 operating offices from Cairo to Jakarta and in West Africa and in Latin America. You tell some amusing alone in a way sad stories about the obstacles to book publishing. In other parts of that will we just review a few of those now. Well one one of the problems is the just the lack of type. One of the most basic problems that in quite a number of Asian countries you set up 16 pages of typed and print those pages and then distribute the type and then set up 16 pages more because there is not enough to type in many printers hands to do more than 16 pages at a time so that they think an American author is terribly
lucky who is able to have a galley proof of his whole book at one time because they're accustomed to seeing just little snippets. Don't be a terrorist. To which from my point of view don't make sense not that we don't have to have it all as well. I think ours are more foolish than there is really when you come down to it because we have so often had obstacles to the inflow of cultural material from abroad and in general most Asian countries are absolutely without tariffs on books. I think what you may be referring to is the customs obstacles to paper that the local industry needs for for running a printing types even ink and he saves things of that sort. Which if one were really thinking of the development of book industry one would say those should come in absolutely free. Why is there a high caste in those on those items.
It's this same difficulty of arguing with the ministry of finance that one encounters in any other country that to a ministry of finance a book may be just exactly like any other physical object and they would say this is a rule and it should be applied across the board. Well how about the other equipment which is necessary. Some of the newest developments in audio visual aid you films and no cameras at all. Is there any trouble getting the those right in great trouble. Right I will. And it's usually a battle between the Ministry of Education and the ministry of finance with the Ministry of Education being on the side of the angels and the Ministry of Finance not necessarily being on the side of the devil but really playing the devil's part by making it difficult to bring these cultural materials and Mr Smith is the idea of using English as a fairly universal language declining. That is there are a great distrust now on learning one's native language and using that as much as
possible without deferring to English. Now the two things are going along together. I'd say that the universal use of English is more more pervasive than it has ever been before in history and is continuing and will continue further. And at the same time there is a desire in many of the local countries to use the national language at a higher level of education so that as an example in Pakistan until five years ago absolutely all higher education university education was in the English language. Now there is a strong urge to you or do books in west Pakistan and Bengali books in Pakistan. And one can see this in a number of other Asian countries also. This is not cutting down the prevalence of English as a universal language in Asia but it does relate to the particular use in in education in the local
countries doesn't it motivate a student less. If he can use his native language more to pay you know less attention to learning English. This is this is the argument that goes on in all Asian countries and I'm sure is going on right now. The fear that if a student is permitted to take his university examination in or do that he will have less impulse to learn and really to master English. But for International Affairs of course he has to master English anyway. What would you say that the revolution in education is concerned more with the grade school. This this you know 60 years of age and that the university level is still on a very elite small basis. Yes and there are and indeed there are many thoughtful people in Asian countries who think that perhaps
university education has preceded on too broad a basis of taking in too many people without sufficient examination and without sufficient thought of what these people will do with their education at their university education when they get it. Yes that would read from station U.S. I mean from a well-educated man not to have anything to do and as I overheard a reduction of lawyers in quite a number of countries in Asia and in Africa also is. It is a clear case in which there are many many more lawyers than the society needs but it has become a fashionable thing to be educated as a lawyer. Is it a prestige which one campaign in any other way absolutely. And so parents hoped that you would and will doubtless do. Most people who want to go to a graduate school college and graduate school in Asian countries do they find that they can get this education in their own country almost they still travel abroad to a great extent to a very large extent.
They can get their education at home but there is still a prestige factor attached to going abroad. And I think the most thoughtful educational leaders believe in Asia. I believe that they should make their universities better and better for undergraduate training and restrict going abroad to advanced graduate work and even to a faculty sabbatical leaves rather than spending as much money as they used to do on sending undergraduate students abroad. Where do the textbooks come from in these classes. Are they mostly imported. At the present time mostly imported and. The textbooks that are in English are mostly imported. There are countries and of course Japan is the outstanding case being a developed country and having a wonderful publishing industry of its own. The
Japanese use their textbooks in Japanese and they're produced there in the Philippines in which English is used as the university language. Most A Many of those books are produced locally. In most of the other countries most of the textbooks are imported either from Britain or from the United States. Most of the faculty members imported as well know they are natives. Yes most of them are nationals of the countries where they're working though in some cases with visiting professors and other people from abroad who can can help out. How about popular education. By that meaning the yes magazines and more books and so what. He was on the upswing. Yes it's its body and it is by no means uniform throughout Asia but I think I made reference to
this wonderful development of what we would call paperback publishing in a number of countries India and Iran are and Indonesia before Indonesia's recent troubles outstanding cases. Of course most Asian books have paperbacks anyway but I mean by paperbacks the method of distribution that they are not dependent on bookstore is that they can be bought at bus stations and bicycle shops and tobacco shops and places where they sell lottery tickets and things of that sort. And. Multiplying by a factor of 10 or so of the circulation that a book can now get compared with what it used to get all day a bookshop so in the major city. By all means yeah yeah. How about libraries. There was this dim of libraries throughout a country no. And one of the greatest lacks is the lack of school libraries because with the younger generation coming up if the younger
generation could be exposed to books other than the solitary text books this would be a wonderful thing for educational development. And incidentally would be a great aid to the development of the economic development of the book industry. Mr. Smith How about access to radio and television programs TV of course quite restricted because of the lack of receivers and the cost of receivers in comparison with their or their economy. But radio receivers are very widely distributed. Is that used by the government as propaganda which governments do. Is it used as a means of education. Yes but not really well yet. And I think the thoughtful Asian educators are aware of the fact that radio and ultimately TV provide an enormous resource that they must learn to use later and have not yet mastered women being drawn into higher
education law. Yes indeed a number of Asian countries. I'd say that women are playing a more important part in their societies than to some extent. Then when women are here in the sense of holding key government positions. Being very active in business and industry and of course in the professions that we think of as women's professions such as teaching you soccer that particularly true in Thailand the Philippines Indonesia and also Ceylon and then the women cabinet members. After all India has a woman prime minister which is. Fairly fairly advanced I've always felt to get India to the leader. Well that is one that I not the first there have been other women prime ministers before me again. Yeah that one right isn't on I think. Yes but
not nothing like that in United States. We don't even have one woman Cabinet member of the present time. Unless one is announced thank you very much Mr Smith for visiting us on this edition of the present. I'd like to say that we have had the pleasure of listening to see Smith Jr. Mr. Smith family director of the Princeton University Press. He has been president of the Franklin book programs. Now he is an associate of John D Rockefeller the third and a vice president and trustee of the ethics fun Foundation which is greatly interested in Asian culture. He's a trustee of the Asia Society. I think a man who brings the best of American thought to the east and takes back the best of eastern thought to the west. And this is Lee Graham saying goodbye and asking you to remember that although East is East and West is West we do think the time has come for the twain to meet tonight's edition of full fire with the
theories come through the cooperation of the right. If you would like to comment on tonight's program or would like further information about the society and how you can participate in a many interesting activities please write to Mrs. Graham up w NYC New York City 100 0 7 and make a note to join us again next week at the time for another edition of the age of 4 5 prevent. Her.
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Asia Society presents
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Asia Society presents is a series of programs from WNYC and The Asia Society. Through interviews with experts on Asian affairs, the series attempts to strengthen listeners understanding of Asian people and ideas. Episodes focus on specific countries and political, cultural, and historical topics.
Talk Show
Global Affairs
Race and Ethnicity
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Host: Graham, Leigh
Producing Organization: WNYC
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-6-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:24:46
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Chicago: “Asia Society presents; 13,” 1969-02-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 21, 2022,
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APA: Asia Society presents; 13. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from