Few months old, yes, but I've just come back to it with fresh eyes.
"The person who wins the Nobel Prize in biology is not the one who read the most journal articles, it's the one who knew what to look for. Cultivating that capacity to seek what's significant always will answer the question of whether you're on the right track. That's what education is meant to be about."
Good Ol' Noam's thoughts on education are indisputably valuable, and as we seek to extend education to all and improve it, we need to keep in mind what we consider to be a success, and how to acheive (and measure!) that.
In relation to development, he makes a great case:
"If there isn't a lively cultural and educational system which is geared towards encouraging creative exploration, independence of thought, willingness to cross frontiers and to challenge accept beliefs and so on, you're not going to get the technology that can lead to economic gains."
Intuitively I wholeheartedly agree. On the other hand, this makes me wonder: what about Japan? They pushed for education and reaped the benefits, though their education system is not reknowned for "encouraging creative exploration". On the contrary, Japanese students have earned the reputation of being afraid to make mistakes.
Perhaps the distinction would be in technology vs. technology that will fundamentally change our way of life?