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Contents

  1. Globalization and its Effect on Cultural Diversity - ETEC
  2. Main navigation
  3. Globalisation in the Asia-Pacific Context
  4. Contact us

Influences of globalization are multi-dimensional, having large social, economic, and political implications. A massive spread of education and of Westernoriented norms of learning at all levels in the twentieth century and the consequences of widely available schooling are a large part of the globalization process.

With regard to the role of schools, globalization has become a major topic of study, especially in the field of comparative education, which applies historiographic and social scientific theories and methods to international issues of education. Globalization is both a process and a theory. Roland Robertson, with whom globalization theory is most closely associated, views globalization as an accelerated compression of the contemporary world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a singular entity.

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Compression makes the world a single place by virtue of the power of a set of globally diffused ideas that render the uniqueness of societal and ethnic identities and traditions irrelevant except within local contexts and in scholarly discourse. The notion of the world community being transformed into a global village, as introduced in by Marshall McLuhan in an influential book about the newly shared experience of mass media, was likely the first expression of the contemporary concept of globalization.

Despite its entry into the common lexicon in the s, globalization was not recognized as a significant concept until the s, when the complexity and multidimensionality of the process began to be examined. Prior to the s, accounts of globalization focused on a professed tendency of societies to converge in becoming modern, described initially by Clark Kerr and colleagues as the emergence of industrial man.

Although the theory of globalization is relatively new, the process is not. History is witness to many globalizing tendencies involving grand alliances of nations and dynasties and the unification of previously sequestered territories under such empires as Rome , Austria-Hungary, and Britain , but also such events as the widespread acceptance of germ theory and heliocentricism, the rise of transnational agencies concerned with regulation and communication, and an increasingly unified conceptualization of human rights.

What makes globalization distinct in contemporary life is the broad reach and multidimensionality of interdependence, reflected initially in the monitored set of relations among nation-states that arose in the wake of World War I. It is a process that before the s was akin to modernization, until modernization as a concept of linear progression from traditional to developing to developed — or from gemeinschaft to gesellschaft as expressed by Ferdinand Toennies — forms of society became viewed as too simplistic and unidimensional to explain contemporary changes.

Modernization theory emphasized the functional significance of the Protestant ethic in the evolution of modern societies, as affected by such objectively measured attributes as education, occupation, and wealth in stimulating a disciplined orientation to work and political participation. The main difficulty with modernization theory was its focus on changes within societies or nations and comparisons between them — with Western societies as their main reference points — to the neglect of the interconnectedness among them, and, indeed, their interdependence, and the role played by non-Western countries in the development of the West.

Immanuel Wallerstein was among the earliest and most influential scholars to show the weaknesses of modernization theory. He developed world system theory to explain how the world had expanded through an ordered pattern of relationships among societies driven by a capitalistic system of economic exchange. Contrary to the emphasis on linear development in modernization theory, Wallerstein demonstrated how wealthy and poor societies were locked together within a world system, advancing their relative economic advantages and disadvantages that carried over into politics and culture.

Although globalization theory is broader, more variegated in its emphasis on the transnational spread of knowledge, and generally less deterministic in regard to the role of economics, world system theory was critical in shaping its development. As the major formal agency for conveying knowledge, the school features prominently in the process and theory of globalization. Early examples of educational globalization include the spread of global religions, especially Islam and Christianity , and colonialism, which often disrupted and displaced indigenous forms of schooling throughout much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Postcolonial globalizing influences of education have taken on more subtle shapes. In globalization, it is not simply the ties of economic exchange and political agreement that bind nations and societies, but also the shared consciousness of being part of a global system.


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That consciousness is conveyed through ever larger transnational movements of people and an array of different media, but most systematically through formal education. The inexorable transformation of consciousness brought on by globalization alters the content and contours of education, as schools take on an increasingly important role in the process. Structural adjustment policies.

Much of the focus on the role of education in globalization has been in terms of the structural adjustment policies of the World Bank and other international lending organizations in low-income countries. These organizations push cuts in government expenditures, liberalization of trade practices, currency devaluations, reductions of price controls, shifts toward production for export, and user charges for and privatization of public services such as education.

Consequently, change is increasingly driven largely by financial forces, government reliance on foreign capital to finance economic growth, and market ideology. In regard to education, structural adjustment policies ostensibly reduce public bureaucracies that impede the delivery of more and better education.

By reducing wasteful expenditures and increasing responsiveness to demand, these policies promote schooling more efficiently. However, as Joel Samoff noted in , observers have reported that structural adjustment policies often encourage an emphasis on inappropriate skills and reproduce existing social and economic inequalities, leading actually to lowered enrollment rates, an erosion in the quality of education, and a misalignment between educational need and provision. As part of the impetus toward efficiency in the expenditure of resources, structural adjustment policies also encourage objective measures of school performance and have advanced the use of cross-national school effectiveness studies.

Some have argued that these studies represent a new form of racism by apportioning blame for school failure on local cultures and contexts. As part of the globalization process, the spread of education is widely viewed as contributing to democratization throughout the world. Schools prepare people for participation in the economy and polity, giving them the knowledge to make responsible judgments, the motivation to make appropriate contributions to the well being of society, and a consciousness about the consequences of their behavior.

National and international assistance organizations, such as the U. Along with mass provision of schools, technological advances have permitted distance education to convey Western concepts to the extreme margins of society, exposing new regions and populations to knowledge generated by culturally dominant groups and helping to absorb them into the consumer society. A policy of using schools as part of the democratization process often accompanies structural adjustment measures.

However, encouraging user fees to help finance schooling has meant a reduced ability of people in some impoverished areas of the world to buy books and school materials and even attend school, thus enlarging the gap between rich and poor and impeding democracy. Even in areas displaying a rise in educational participation, observers have reported a reduction in civic participation.

Increased emphasis on formalism in schooling could plausibly contribute to this result. An expansion of school civics programs could, for example, draw energy and resources away from active engagement in political affairs by youths, whether within or outside of schools. Increased privatization of education in the name of capitalist democratization could invite greater participation of corporate entities, with the prospect of commercializing schools and reducing their service in behalf of the public interest.

Penetration of the periphery. Perhaps the most important question in understanding how education contributes to globalization is, what is the power of schools to penetrate the cultural periphery? Why do non-Western people surrender to the acculturative pressure of Western forms of education? By mid-twentieth century, missionaries and colonialism had brought core Western ideas and practices to many parts of the world. With contemporary globalization, penetration of the world periphery by means of education has been accomplished mainly in other ways, especially as contingent on structural adjustment and democratization projects.

Some scholars, including Howard R. Woodhouse, have claimed that people on the periphery are "mystified" by dominant ideologies, and willingly, even enthusiastically and without conscious awareness of implications, accept core Western learning and thereby subordinate themselves to the world system. By contrast, there is considerable research, including that of Thomas Clayton in and Douglas E. Foley in , to suggest that people at the periphery develop a variety of strategies, from foot dragging to outright student rebellion, to resist the dominant ideology as conveyed in schools.

Evidence on the accommodation of people at the periphery to the dominant ideology embodied in Westernized schooling is thus not consistent.


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Erwin H. Epstein, based on data he collected in three societies, proposes a filter-effect theory that could explain the contradictory results reported by others. He found that children in impoverished areas attending schools more distant from the cultural mainstream had more favorable views of, and expressed stronger attachment to, national core symbols than children in schools closer to the mainstream. New Zealand has a very small market, so in our case specialising is important. It helps us to overcome the limitations of size and gain economies of scale through access to larger markets.


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The international flow of capital helps bring in financial resources that enable our businesses to grow, as well as enable New Zealanders to pursue opportunities to invest beyond our shores. Flows of people and ideas have the potential to lift the skills of our workforce, raise our productivity, improve our cultural literacy and open-up deeper links to overseas markets. And, fundamentally, being an open economy — an internationally connected economy — makes New Zealand more resilient. The resulting bigger economy is better able to grow in the good times and successfully weather its way through the bad times.

Tariff and non-tariff barriers have a huge bearing on this: the higher the tariffs and the greater the number of non-tariff barriers, the more difficult it is to trade with a country or invest in it and, consequently, the more closed it is. In general, New Zealand is considered a relatively open economy. We have very low tariffs relative to most countries, so it is relatively easy to trade with us. Some non-tariff barriers do exist, particularly focused on biosecurity for understandable reasons.

Stability, certainty, the rule of law, well-functioning markets and peaceful political processes help to create supportive conditions for investment and employment and ultimately an improvement in wellbeing. And as Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson [4] made clear, strong institutions are also critically important. In fact, alongside openness and connectedness, strong institutions play a big role in the management of the global economy and a particularly important one for small states such as New Zealand.

They also provide a forum for the harmonisation of regulations which make it easier for businesses to access foreign markets. New Zealand has a long history of being involved in bilateral and multilateral rules-based frameworks and we have done very well out of them. Take our Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia. Our trade and economic relationship with our neighbour across the Tasman helps drive the New Zealand economy. Rather than have a market of four and a half million people, we have one of 29 million. The mechanism is binding and sets parameters for a country to pursue a trade dispute against another over a trade problem.

That allows the dispute to be sealed off from the rest of the bilateral relationship. To give a more recent example, New Zealand was a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank AIIB and the first western developed country to join the negotiations to set it up. This signals our strong commitment to the goals of regional development and cooperation in Asia. We retain a strong sense of ownership over the success of the Bank. The governance arrangements set for the AIIB meet or improve on existing best practice at International Financial Institutions, centred on the need for inclusiveness, openness, transparency and accountability.

Just as New Zealand benefits from being part of bilateral and multilateral rules-based frameworks, I believe others benefit from our participation. We are a respected advocate for more effective rules to ensure that good standards are achieved, including in areas such as corporate governance, competition policy, responsible business conduct, environmental protection and anti-corruption. As I said, international connectedness is far from a new phenomenon.

The Romans years ago used an extensive transportation network, language, legal system and currency to unify the far-flung regions under their authority. This economic integration led to trade flows and economic development across the Roman Empire. Globalisation explains why they speak Spanish in the Philippines and Portuguese in Brazil.

Often driven by colonialism and ramped up by technology, by the early 20th century the flows of goods, capital and people between countries were entrenched in economies around the world. The decades after World War Two saw the growth of multilateralism, encouraged by the understandable desire for stability and certainty. The IMF and the World Bank were among the earliest of the multilateral institutions and still have a major presence in global economic relations today.

The phase of globalisation most familiar to us now is the burgeoning of free trade and investment since the late s. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, eastern European nations moved away from planned economies towards market economies. Over the same period, China and other emerging economies that until then had mainly sat on the side-lines of the world economy became major players in global manufacturing and trade.

Their outstanding economic growth accelerated the process of globalisation even further. As trade barriers started coming down, advanced and emerging economies alike also set about liberalising restrictions on international investment. The arrival of the internet and digital technology has added fuel to the growing connectedness. The outcomes of these changes have been profound. And back in the ratio of global trade to world GDP was 30 percent; by that ratio had doubled to around 60 percent [7]. Increased globalisation has led to greater economic integration, and I know some people are concerned about the possible implications of this.

My perspective is that overall the impact has been positive. In fact, as Robert Cooper [8] has written, in the modern era sovereignty is strengthened by international co-operation. It has helped create more stability and certainty, levelled the playing field, and allowed us a seat at the table to shape the rules of the global economy. By challenging traditional symbols of power in the international system — such as land mass and size of population — globalisation has created new possibilities for New Zealand to promote its core values and interests externally.

We get to work in unison with other nations that share these values and interests.

Greater international connectedness has not translated into a substantial erosion of the capacity of the sovereign state to act on the international stage. And of course this matters more than ever in the twenty-first century as some of our biggest challenges can only be managed through global cooperation.

Globalization and its Effect on Cultural Diversity - ETEC

An example that immediately comes to mind is, of course, climate change. One of its important conclusions was that the benefits of early action on climate change considerably outweighed the costs. Our domestic responses to climate change are unquestionably important. And right now the Productivity Commission is undertaking an inquiry into options for how New Zealand could reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions and transition towards a low emissions future, while continuing to grow incomes and wellbeing [10].

But climate change remains a global problem requiring collective global actions and solutions. Those actions and solutions will have an impact on New Zealand, just as climate change will have an impact on us.

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As I said at the start of my talk, in some countries — including in New Zealand — there has undoubtedly been a mood of uncertainty about the value of globalisation and, in fact, the value of free trade. In my view that mood stems primarily for two reasons: 1 the impact of change and 2 the lack of a narrative to help the community understand the change, and the benefits that we expect to be delivered. In some countries around the world, the rapid growth in global trade, the creation of new value chains and the emergence of new markets and huge pools of relatively inexpensive labour have undoubtedly led to large-scale and relatively rapid economic dislocation.

It has led to differentials in wages between high and low-income earners, due to the relative demand for skilled labour. The changes have happened quickly and impacted particular industries and communities significantly. By that number had fallen to 71 million, a drop of around 93 percent in a single generation [11]. But, as Branko Milanovic [13] has shown, lifting millions out of poverty has also been coupled with concerns about the living standards of those affected in other countries.

The truth is the benefits from free trade tend to be diffuse and long-term in nature, but losses are often sharp and very concentrated on particular individuals, firms and regions. Moreover, the people most affected are sometimes those with the least capacity to adjust on their own. Some of these impacts are not a surprise. Eli Heckscher and Bertil Ohlin identified them in the s. And, in turn, among other things, that has led to a significant element of scepticism and distrust.

Opponents of globalisation portray the process as captured by powerful corporations and financial institutions, and beset by insufficient transparency and accountability to citizens. There are, in particular, objections to the special supra-national institutions that are sometimes created by bilateral and plurilateral trade and investment agreements or dispute settlement mechanisms ISDS or investor-state dispute settlement. It is clear that technological change will continue to be a major driving force of greater international connectedness but also of economic growth and development in domestic economies.

Advances in communication and computer technologies have significantly reduced the costs of supply chain management among global suppliers of goods and services. Technological change almost always generates a degree of unease. Before you get too worried that the robots are taking over, these kinds of figures have to be taken with a grain of salt.

As the reports assessing job impacts themselves recognise, they are likely to provide overestimates for a few reasons. The reports are based on what jobs or task it is possible to automate, not what will actually be automated. Cost and other factors will play a role, for example, the take up of new labour saving technology in New Zealand will be influenced by the cost of the technology and the cost of capital and labour. Moreover, the reports do not take job creation into account: new technologies will also generate new jobs.

But back to the increased scepticism over free trade. The political debate in some countries has persuaded some that the world is surely being engulfed by a relentless wave of anti-globalisation and protectionism. I acknowledge the debate, and the need to address the issues that have been raised. Quite the reverse, and with the added impact that expectations will not be realised and trust will be eroded, damaging social cohesion and, in turn, wellbeing. This brings me to my second point, the lack of a narrative to help communities understand the changes happening in the world, why they may be experiencing dislocation and change and why greater international connectedness will, in fact, improve their living standards.

Narratives matter.

Globalisation in the Asia-Pacific Context

Those boycotts led to a minor recession, which led to falling prices, which in turn led to the public assuming there was an economic recession, which led to them spending even less than before, which led to a deeper recession [18]. As I said, narratives matter. Vacuums are quickly filled. We have not been good at creating a narrative of international connectedness.

We have assumed that the benefits are self-evident. Moreover, narratives from elsewhere often make their way to New Zealand through what I describe as the pathology of foreign paradigms.

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It worries me that we sometimes have a propensity to take events from overseas and assume they apply over here. For example, New Zealand is further along the international connectedness path than most countries. We removed most tariff barriers earlier and went through the necessary adjustments at the time. So the pains of disruption that some other countries are feeling now have largely played out already here. The scale of the impacts of technological change and globalisation has also been smaller in New Zealand than many other countries.

From available data — which admittedly is not always very extensive — it seems the New Zealand workforce is not experiencing an increase in displacement rates and does not appear to exhibit any significant increase in the proportion of non-standard working arrangements. In fact, what the data indicates is that our system supports resilience in a number of ways. One area where we do have some concerns — and I hear this from business across the country — is about the availability of skills.

But that is for another day. There is a growing middle class not just in China but in India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. One estimate is for the Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian middle classes to be almost 2 billion people by That is a vast group of markets for New Zealand tourism, for our export education, for our services, for the high quality agricultural commodities that we produce now and the new products and services we will develop in the future.

International connectedness is alive and well in our region and across most of the rest of the world. To add to that, digitalisation offers us the most significant transformational opportunity since the arrival of refrigeration in the s. New Zealand was once the most isolated country in the world given the expanse of ocean surrounding it. But technological innovation has gone a long way towards lowering the barriers of time and distance and integrated us into the global economy.

Wide-bodied jet aircraft, cheap and reliable telephone connections, containerisation and computer networking have all facilitated flows of information, goods, people and capital in and out of New Zealand with great speed and ease. Now with digital technology, we can connect with the world at about , kilometres per second. Distance has, in effect, disappeared. The McKinsey Global Institute has reported that cross-border digital flows already have a larger impact on global economic growth than traditional flows of traded goods [20].

Digitalisation eliminates the challenge of distance. It promotes diversification — of markets and products — by enabling us to join value chains we would have previously found impossible, to deliver services to time zones that would have been unimaginable and to minimise our impact on the environment in ways we would have thought improbable.