The End of Science Education in East Asia?

  • Adam Lefstein
Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 47)


In this brief commentary, Lefstein reflects on the narratives about the purposes of East Asian science education in light of Neil Postman’s The End of Education. He identifies two narratives that dominate the chapters in this book: (a) the global competitiveness story, according to which science and technology education are critical to the development of a globally competitive workforce, and (b) the scientific literacy for civic participation story, which views science education as critical for a healthy deliberative democracy. These two narratives are compared to a third narrative, “the Fallen Angel,” offered by Postman, which sees in the learning of science a moral and epistemological opportunity to reflect on human fallibility and the dangers of dogmatism. Such a vision has the potential to inspire the learning of science for its own sake, as a topic which is an end in itself, since it is intricately tied to our humanity and its perfection. Lefstein argues that East Asian countries’ lofty standing at the top of the global league tables presents an excellent opportunity to engage in more critical and metaphysical reflection.


Science education East Asia Scientific literacy Educational aims Civic participation Global competitiveness 


  1. Hanushek, E. A., & Woessmann, L. (2016). Knowledge capital, growth, and the east Asian miracle. Science, 351(6271), 344–345. Scholar
  2. Komatsu, H., & Rappleye, J. (2017). A new global policy regime founded on invalid statistics? Hanushek, Woessmann, PISA, and economic growth. Comparative Education, 53(2), 166–191. Scholar
  3. Postman, N. (1995). The end of education: Redefining the value of school. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Lefstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Ben-Gurion University of the NegevBe’er ShebaIsrael

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