Globalization is a term that is used to refer to the changing political, economic, and cultural trends that began from 1970 to date. Globalization is characterized by; liberalization of world economies, the dominance of western political, economic, and cultural life, the growth of information technology, and lastly global integration of people by continents, regions, and even countries. Globalization has had an impact on every facet of human life including education. Education plays an important role in the globalization process. This paper will review the impacts that globalization has made on education. This review is based on the main elements of globalization as stated above.
Effects of economic liberalization on education
The forces of globalization continue to shape the conditions in which educators operate. This has altered people’s experiences in both formal and informal education. Since the beginning of globalization, there has been increased involvement of corporate bodies in education. This can be explained by the fact that the education sector is considered by many as a lucrative market for investment. Corporate bodies have assumed the responsibility of running educational institutions, unlike in the past when many schools were run by government agencies. In the United Kingdom, for example, some public schools have been contracted to individual companies. For instance, the Lambeth Zone is run by Shell, not the local educational authority, In addition, in Southwark, the education service has been contracted to Haskins (Smith, 2002, Para 2-11).
Another important impact globalization has had on education is the commoditization of education. This is evidenced by the restructuring and development of new educational programs like MBAs to make education more enriching and marketable. The use of part-time and long-distance learning programs has been used to popularize and market these programs. Globalization increased the demand for education as the majority of individuals have realized that they would be disadvantaged in the job market and lag if they remain uneducated. Competition for students among schools has also increased; this is because for schools to keep on receiving donations for funding researches and also for development, they must have an impressive number of students.
There has also been a marked shift in the governance of education. Direct intervention in the governance of educational systems by trans-national and technical assistance agencies such as the IMF and World Bank, USAID, and JICA is increasing. These agencies have involved themselves in reforming educational systems in different countries to achieve efficiency and improve the quality of education. They mainly advocate for privatization and decentralization of education services. However, reforms advocated by these agencies are implemented by policymakers mainly to ensure access to funds (Arnove&Torres, 2007, p. 2).
Effect of information technologies in education
The most notable effect of technological advances on education has been the delocalization of education. The use of the internet and the growth of distance learning have allowed people to study at home or work. In addition, they also allow people from very different parts of the world to engage in the same program. These advances have also enabled close contact among people across great physical distances. However, these forms of learning have been criticized for limiting interaction among people as they usually employ highly individualized forms of learning. The African Virtual University is a good example of how technology can influence tertiary education. Technology has also been instrumental in overcoming linguistic barriers in learning. Similarly, these advances have made learning more flexible. This has enabled teachers to reach out to a greater number of learners through online learning or virtual classes. Similarly, this technology allows teachers to give learners support or tuitions online. This approach is more efficient and affordable since it helps greatly to fight the physical barrier of distance and save traveling expenses, while at the same time enabling the limited teaching staffs to reach a larger number of learners (Somekh&Davis, 1997, p.14-26)
Effects of westernization on global education
The biggest effect of Westernization on global education has been the increasing use of the English language in scholarly production, advanced studies, business, and diplomacy. Knowledge of English is commonly seen as the surest and quickest way to secure a job and enter the global economy. Fast communication has also accelerated the spread of television programs and movies all over the world. This can explain the assimilation aspects of American culture in different parts of the world. The involvement of technical agencies has also altered the way educational agencies plan and implement their activities. (Arnove&Torres, 2007, p.2)
Global integration and education
Globalization has enabled the faster integration of people from many parts of the world. This has been achieved through the existence of facilities like the internet, fast means of transport, and communication technologies that support real-time communication. This has made the communication of ideas a lot easier. Education has provided the means through which people acquire skills to enable them to make use of emerging technologies in their daily life including education. Global integration has made it easier for the multidirectional flow of ideas. This has influenced education in a positive way (Fonte&Ryserson, 1994, p.98-104)
Trade liberalization and integration have led to the delocalization of education in many parts of the world. Education plays an important part in the acquisition of skills that enable people to take advantage of emerging technologies.
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Smith, M. (2002). Globalization and the incorporation of education. Web.
Somekh, B. & Davis, N. (1997). Using information technology effectively in teaching and learning: studies. London: Routledge.