The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a recent article (sorry – subscription required) called “So Much for the Information Age,” from a college professor lamenting his students’ deplorable grasp of current events and world history. This professor teaches journalism at one of our countries’ top universities, yet here is a sampling of what he found when he surveyed his students:
Nearly half of a recent class could not name a single country that bordered Israel. In an introductory journalism class, 11 of 18 students could not name what country Kabul was in, although we have been at war there for half a decade. Last fall only one in 21 students could name the U.S. secretary of defense. Given a list of four countriesÂ â€” China, Cuba, India, and JapanÂ â€” not one of those same 21 students could identify India and Japan as democracies. Their grasp of history was little better. The question of when the Civil War was fought invited an array of responsesÂ â€” half a dozen were off by a decade or more. Some students thought that Islam was the principal religion of South America, thatÂ Roe v. WadeÂ was about slavery, that 50 justices sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, that the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1975. You get the picture, and it isn’t pretty.
I don’t think this is all that surprising, and it probably says much more about our nation’s primary and secondary educational systems than it does about the university world.Â
The professor goes on to express concern about our nation’s future, and about how we as a nation have failed our students, by considering them “educated” when they can’t discuss the front page of The New York Times. Â
I hope that Christian students are taking a different approach to their studies, and educating themselves whether or not the system is. Â After all, we worship a God who made the world, who loves the world, and who loves the people of the world so much that he sent his Son to die for the world. Â That same God then calls us to emulate Him and be formed in the image of Christ. Â
Since God loves our neighbors and the world they live in, so should we. Â And the first step is to learn about the world in which we find ourselves.Â