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The impact of Globalisation

by Rinku Khumukcham
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IT Desk

Globalisation, governed primarily by a market-oriented philosophy, has a number of implications for modes of governance. In the realm of education, the institutions of higher education face new pressures and demands for accountability, access, quality, introduction of new technologies and curriculum. A number of countries have introduced reforms to meet the challenges arising out of such a situation, though the context and nature of reforms vary from one country to another. First, is the concrete references available for post secondary education gave rise to privatisation of higher education.
The protagonists of privatisation see it as an alternative when the supply and demand do not match or when demands are diversified or when public education is seen as not promoting quality. Second, the Governments are under pressure to attract foreign capital; and this means providing a ready supply of skilled labour. This translates into pressure to increase the average level of education in the labour force. The higher level of education are important in a society wherein the economy is becoming more knowledge-based than product-based. Third, there is the closer relationship between the private sector including multinational corporations and the state agencies concerned with product development and innovation.
Further, globalisation should have a profound impact on the production and transmission of knowledge, some have argued that this has not occurred; they are casting doubts on the capacity of globalisation to permeate knowledge production and transmission as per local needs. In the context of Asia, this seems more relevant. Sometimes, we even find people advocating the replacement of textbooks with the motion pictures or instructional television. At another level, even when there were attempts to use modern technology in higher education, it has remained limited to the use of computers. It appears that the educational practices at the classroom level have changed only a little in most developing countries of Asia.
In terms of labour market reforms, the Governments are under pressure to attract foreign capital and this requires a ready supply of skilled labour. Further the shift from manufacturing to the services sector is an important development in the nineties. Thus, the concerns about attaining quality and curricular relevance in higher education with reference to international standards and demands have become prominent. This has placed increased emphasis on mathematics and science in the curriculum, and techno-scientific areas of knowledge. Thus the discourse today is about the skills ‘relevant for employment, and enterprise’. In the context of globalisation, two major developments have taken place. One is the inclusion of members of the business houses on the boards of the public universities in order to enhance the industry-institution linkages. This is expected to ensure the relevance of the contents of the curriculum and new academic programmes vis-à-vis the needs of the industry.
The advocates of globalisation today argue for internationalisation of curriculum. For them, a truly global university today is characterized by its engagement with the process of globalisation, its international networks, and its internationalised curriculum. The internationalisation of curriculum entails a complex interplay of history, politics, knowledge production, and its use as well as teaching and learning. All these, however, are influenced by international market conditions and professional orientation. If this is so, the internationalised curriculum involves the development of new skills, attitudes and knowledge among students and teachers alike. It requires creation of new learning practices, spaces, ethos and cultures.
However, there is a danger in such internationalisation of curriculum. For instance, it also means the homogenization of curriculum across all the nations and cultures. This obviously undermines the values of uniqueness and diversity in cultures. This may create confl icts at the local level, which can threaten the social harmony as is evident in some of the South Asian countries. In developing countries such as India, globalisation seems to be increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, thereby aggravating the problems of social inequality, which is also inherent in the education system as well.

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