Globalisation and Educational challenges

Globalisation is a qualitatively new phenomenon of multi-dimensional nature posing a variety of complex trends in the economic, social and cultural fabrics of all societies. It impacts on all conceivable facets of life, including education. Consequently, education services are naturally commercialised, privatised and capitalised. Education can be seen wearing a new face-‘modernised’ for a knowledge economy based on information technologies. Its values, preferences and tastes have certainly become different due to globalisation.

It is evident that the dawn of the new age in India has been characterised by unimaginable advances in knowledge, triggering major changes in the objectives, contents, and methods of higher education. The globalisation of the economy and its accompanying demands on the workforce requires a different education that enhances the ability of learners to access, assess, adopt, and apply knowledge, to think independently to exercise appropriate judgement and to collaborate with others to make sense of new situations. The objective of education is no longer simply to convey a body of knowledge, but to teach how to learn, problem-solve and synthesise the old with the new.

Some of the challenges for knowledge, education and learning in this period are ability for today’s learners to be more familiar and comfortable with abstract concepts and uncertain situations. Much of the academic environment today, presents students with ready-made problems and then asks them to solve them. The reality of the rapid-fire global economy, based on information and knowledge is that problems are rarely that clearly defined.

Rapid developments in technology and communication are forcing changes within educational systems across the world, as there is an obvious shift in ideas, values and knowledge, vital to education, cross nation states and boundaries. There is a range of new technologies and new techniques created by the Information Revolution that allow for the production of new knowledge and the dissemination of data, information and knowledge. These new technologies allow for academic practitioners to move from being “sages on the stage” into the role of the “guide on the side” and assist students in gaining the skills and abilities required in acquiring and utilising knowledge contained in various forms around the world.

To meet these challenges and to reap the benefits of the opportunities presented by globalisation, active responses should occur within the public and private sectors at national, regional and international levels. At national and regional levels, requirements for knowledge, education and learning should be addressed with policy approaches that allow as many people as possible to engage in productive forms of employment that enhances their quality of life and meet the increasing demands of global enterprises operating within the global economy. Within the private sector, at national level, there are efforts to strengthen the partnership between the private sector and public sector in the delivery of education and learning. The educational establishments alone may not be able to redefine themselves sufficiently to meet the requirements posed by the new global economy.

(This abstract was published in the proceedings of a national seminar on Globalisation, Opportunities and Challenges to Education 10-11th September 2006, organised by the Dr. Zakir Hussain Teachers’ Training College) 

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