Globalization in Education

The concept of ‘globalization’ always seemed intriguingly logical to me. I had some understanding of what anti-globalization comments meant in their respectful context, yet never quite grasped why a state would not deliberately embrace globalization.

In what Ian Bremmer defines as ’Guarded’ globalization I found the answer to most of my questions. Whilst reading, I drew a comparison between the state of industrial globalization and globalization in context of education (both, in resource and quality.)

On it’s industrial side, globalization is a zero-sum equation. For somebody to gain, someone must lose. A low-cost mobile device assembled in China would understandably affect unemployment rates in a metropolitan city half the globe away. But with education things aren’t quite the same. The line between the ‘profit’ of a party, and the ‘loss’ of another blurs significantly owing to the fact that a globalized curriculum and uniform global learning standards positively affect all stakeholders.

However to adopt a broader approach to education we must first work out some kinks. One, to hold the bar for learning systems at a global level, education must become more data-driven. It is also important that the metrics used to analyze and measure academic performance be independent of location. Of the multiple possible ways to achieve this, the use of low-cost technology in classrooms seems to be the most viable one for majority of the world.

Secondly, a global education system has no space for hoarding corporate momentum. This is paradoxical to the concept of globalizing education systems, which would mean equal learning standards, everywhere. It isn’t uncommon to find large institutes use their corporate affiliations, brand name, and enormous funding to alter people’s perception of ‘quality’ education.

In an ideal world, where colleges are still colleges, and are not run like companies, students would still be viewed as assets for their potential to build and develop the future, and not merely as paying customers. The subsequent series of events in such a world would be delightful, for both students and for genuine educators. The distinction between learning and certification would be more visible, and a degree would merely attest to the fact that a student has the required amount of training to work.

All of the above makes sense to me, in theory.

Then why isn’t it happening already, you might ask.

Because in the real world, things don’t quite go as we plan them. For starters, the private sector is partly responsible for (and is essentially afloat due to) the steep divide between the quality of education globally.

On a different level of course, in a “state-controlled democracy” (to be generous) there is often an underlying current flowing against a globalized education system. Members of the state are oblivious to the fact that the next generation is being taught a stream of tailored content, based on the whims (and sadly, ‘requirements’) of the state. In times like these, it is hard to make a judgement call.