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Globalization is not a new phenomenon. The search for a universal definition of globalization has been relatively elusive. Rather, a review into different literature has shown that a wide breadth of definitions have been applied to define this term. Gangale (2003), refers globalization as "the interrelated and simultaneous developments running in a worldwide scale that are integrating economic activity and blending cultures toward a global system". On the other hand, Bottery (2006) has defined globalization by classifying globalization into six different categories which are 'environmental globalization', 'cultural globalization', 'demographic globalization', 'political globalization', 'American globalization' and 'economic globalization'. Though, from general point of view, globalization may simply be defined as a process that brings the nations together without boundaries. Globalization makes the world become smaller as for example, people from different parts of the world can be connected by using email and the internet. No matter where they are, the personal global communication is possible with the globalization. It has profound impacts in many aspects like politic, economy, environment and culture. However, in this essay I will view the impact of globalization specifically in the education. Before we proceed to the effects of globalization in education, first and foremost, we have to view the impact of globalization in economy. Globalization has a devastating impact on the economy due to free trade. "Global markets offer great opportunity for people to tap into more and larger markets around the world" (IMF Staff, 2008). The trade is not limited of exchange products and services but also extended to human resources which can be divided into two; labor and knowledge. Import and export of products occur to meet the needs of people. This mean, we can have the products and resources from other countries and vice versa. The same thing happens in the hiring of employees outside the country. The companies will find the source of manpower if the citizen in the particular country is lacking of that. Normally, companies from more fortunate countries will open their doors to people from the less fortunate countries. This leads to the migration as people from poor countries will move in order to get a job. Certain companies need their workers to have equivalent qualifications. Therefore, as the result of globalization, education is viewed as a fundamental sources to help people to have a better life.
Here is where education comes in. No country would neglect education as means to be a player in the global community. Education is the important factor in the success of its valuable human resource. It determines their acquisition of skills and knowledge. Education is the path to global competitiveness. What does it take to be globally competitive? It is to be of the same standard with the rest of the world, or more specifically the Western part of the World. This standardization is reflected in educational fields. The policies and directions of schools have changed or at the least have been altered to meet international standards. This is observed to a greater extent on higher education systems or on the university level. Developments in technology have led to a change in the classroom setup and procedures. Instructions have been altered to accommodate modern technology as a means to teach. The internet has revolutionized studying, researching and the gathering of information. Global information is now just within reach. Access to information can be acquired in just a matter of minutes or even less. Learning has now become easier and wider in scope. There are no time and geographical boundaries. This essay will further discuss the impact of globalization in education in terms of: (a) Globalizing differences (special education needs, inclusion and the market- place); (b) English as a global language and its impact on education system; (c) the use of technology in education and (d) lifelong learning.
Globalizing differences (special education needs, inclusion and the market- place)
Special educational needs (SEN) or disabled children and young people are amongst the most marginalized population who are regularly perceived to be less deserving in terms of equality of opportunity in education system. However because of globalization, these people can also attend schools and universities. This is because in the world of globalization, people have invented many technology that can help these people to learn. Besides that the educators also can share their knowledge with the others. For example, there is a program where teachers can learn on how to deal and teach these particular students by going to the other countries and see how teachers from that particular countries teach the children with SEN. From the experience and knowledge they have, they can use the knowledge and apply it when they come back to their country. According to Knowles (2011, p. 142) "The Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and the subsequent Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 have meant that since 2002"; discrimination against this group of people has been prohibited in the provision of any service (Stobbs, 2008 as cited in Knowles, 2011). The legislation in these acts, particularly in terms of the schools' provision requires schools to treat disabled children equally with the able- bodied children and that they have to make reasonable adjustments to help disabled children to attend school, enjoy their school life and help them to success (Stobbs, 2008 as cited in Knowles, 2011). This is the legal duty which is schools have to fulfill.
While many schools responded well to the DDA, however some schools claimed that it was unreasonable to make adjustments to meet the needs of disabled children as it costs a lot for the school. Apart from that, the expertise the school could offer seems inappropriate and it could be difficult for disabled children to move around the school based on the nature of the premises there (Knowles, 2011). From my perspective, this happens because of globalization where some schools and universities do not function as an educational place for everyone. Education becomes as a part of the market and the main purpose is not solely to educate pupils but providing education for money. It has resulted in the selection of pupils where the schools and the universities will be increasingly selective in choosing who they will or will not accept. This is to ensure their schools or universities have a good reputation in the public eyes. As a result, the globalization of difference, as expressed by the pupils who experiencing disability or SEN has been further marginalization in terms of the commodification of need. Garner, Blake and Narayan (2005, p. 166) write, this happens because " the rise of the market has been accompanied by consumer- based appropriations of freedom and choice". They further elaborate, for example in England "choice in education is only readily accessible to those who have the benefit of the social and cultural capital by which preferences are determined". Therefore, SEN pupils encounter difficulty to enroll their studies in a school of their choice as the choices are limited. Similar situations occur on an international scale where Garner, Blake and Narayan (2005, p. 167) state that " when aligned with a further characteristic of globalization in special education- the privatization of need- there are signals of meltdown for marginalized communities and individuals". They further elaborate " the privatization of education in an increasing number of countries has turned education into big business". Similar trend also happen in the marketization of Australian schooling as those with SEN are difficult and quite expensive to be catered (Kenway and Bullen, 2001 as cited in Garner, Blake and Narayan, 2005).
Apart from the equipments that are very expensive and thus difficult to meet the needs for those people, another reason can be that these people are presumed or believed to have low performance in their academic . It is supported by Garner, Blake and Narayan (2005, p. 166) who state that " those who present learning difficulties are viewed negatively because their difference runs contrary to the process of commodification, with its need to standardize products or services in order to secure economies of scale and to deliver profit through measurement in officially sanctioned school league tables" . Researchers show that usually schools at the bottom or towards the bottom of such league table have a large proportion of pupils with SEN. In consequence, such schools have a lower funding level to provide better needs for their students as these schools could only attract fewer pupils based on their reputation (Garner, Blake and Narayan, 2005).
Even though most people believe that these children cannot perform well in academic, I have different thoughts about it. I personally think that children with SEN can also be a successful person like the other children. Because they are different from the others, teachers should give more attention to them. For example, they may need some time to understand and learn a thing. Therefore, the approach that probably can be taken is to extend the learning period for this group. This means that if the normal children have to finish the secondary school at the age of 17th for example, probably the children with SEN can complete their studies at the age of 20th.
English as a global language and its impact on education system
Another aspect that I noticed is globalization has a profound impact on the languages specifically in English. Deeply thought, I agree that the spreading of English throughout the world as a positive development. In order to succeed in the world where English is widely used, we have to make positive changes of our mental perceptions and attitude towards English. As we know languages is varied from one country to another country as well as from one region to another region. In order to understand each other, people need to acquire more than one language. de Swaan (2001, p.1) views of the language perspective like below:
"The human species is divided into more than five thousand groups each of which speaks a different language and does not understand any of the others. With this multitude of languages, humankind has brought upon itself a great confusion of tongues. But nevertheless, the entire human species remains connected: the division is overcome by people who speak more than one language and thus ensure communication between different groups. It is multilingualism that has kept humanity, separated by so many languages, together. The multilingual connections between language groups do not occur haphazardly, but, on the contrary, they constitute a surprisingly strong and efficient network that ties together-directly or indirectly-the six billion inhabitants of earth. It is this ingenious pattern of connections between language groups that constitutes the global language system"
From what have been states by de Swaan, it can be summarized that, in the world of globalization, the language that is used for most people to understand each other is English. The English obtained this position and status due to a variety of historical reasons, namely "large scale migration and settlement of native language speakers, military imposition (colonialism), commercial or political power and prestige derived from scientific, cultural or other achievements" (Leitner, 1992, as cited in Singh and Papa, 2010). Especially in higher education the main language of books, newspapers, academic conferences, and most subject taught in the universities are using English. That is why English has been claimed as a global or universal language.
There are many interpretations of the term 'English as a global language'. However, in this essay, I will view this term based on the aspect of the use and status of English language in a global context. English has become a global language because it has been widely spread as a second and foreign language in most countries and also spoken in many countries. The reason is in the era of globalization, where English language is viewed as the most common language that be used by people around the world for communication, business, to get a job, to further studies in higher education and other purposes. English is required to facilitate everyday life now. Therefore, this is the main reason why English has become the dominant language in the field of education system. For example, from my experience as a student of the Canterbury Christ Church University, my friends and I use one language which is English to understand and communicate with the local and international students. During the discussion in the class we use English to express our ideas, thoughts and feelings. Other students that came from different parts of the world like Cyprus, Romania, Korea, China and others can discuss well together by using one common language which is English.
As the result of the increasing role of the English in this world, the government in most countries emphasizes the importance to properly educate their students with English language. For example, English has been taught since the early age of schooling and it has become the core subject in Malaysian education system. The Malaysian government realizes the importance of the students mastering English language as it will help to improve and ensure the stability of the economic in a country as well as to improve the economic of the individual's life. The reason is, because of globalization, if a country wants to compete and become integral countries in many areas like international business trade, diplomacy and political relationships with others countries, the people should be fluent in English. Furthermore, people who are fluent and can speak good English are always marketable which means they will be prioritized than other people who cannot speak English. With this, they can improve their social life as many job opportunities nowadays prioritize people who are having good knowledge of English.
The use of technology in education compared to traditional education
Obviously, globalization has resulted in the development of technology. For example the invention of radio, telephone, computer, satellite, jet travel , printer and other powerful machines. Technology has a major influence in our life, and education is also not exempted. Many educators have used technology in the educational process. I strongly agree that the technology improves the effectiveness of education systems. The technology in education for example the use of the internet, computers, interactive whiteboard make the process of learning and teaching become easier. Nowadays, technology is preferred by the students as 'their preferred learning tool. It is undeniably true that the development of technology in education can enhance students' learning process. The internet resources help educators find many valuable and useful materials that can be used in the classroom.
In the advancement of technology in education, the long- distance learning is one of the most popular example. "As teachers and students turn to the Internet, distance learning is dismantling classroom walls across America" (Barker, 2000). However, despite of the advantages distance learning could offer, one of the issues raised in this form of learning is students will become more individualistic as it does not lead to the face- face interaction. For example, the growth of distance learning where students can learn at home without having to come to school or university. This will then lead to the problems of the students' social life. Mixing and socializing with the others is very important to help them to develop their social skills. To achieve that, school and other places of educational institutions are viewed as the places for the students to practice and develop more on their social skills. These places are like an opportunity for students as in schools and universities they will learn how to build a relationship, to communicate, tolerate, respect each other, learn the features of a good leadership and, etc. This is because, these skills are very important for them in the future. For example when they have to go to the interview process to get the job.
However, in this modern world, school children are exposed in an environment where information and communication technologies (ICT) turn out to be very important in the lives. For example, "Youtube" videos can be used in teaching. How to use it is dependant on the teacher themselves to create and design creative activities for their students. There are also lot of video in "Youtube" that is suitable for learning purposes. It is an excellent method of teaching to attract the students to participate in the lesson as well as encourage them to communicate especially in the language subject. It is supported by Tomalin (1986) who states, teachers can use the flexibility of video to encourage the learners to interact in response to what they see on the screen. I personally think that in spite of many social networking sites in this century, Facebook has become the most popular networking sites used by students. It is also the main communication tool for them to interact with their friends. In my opinion, with the ability of Facebook itself, it can be used for academic purposes. There are many advantages of using Facebook. First and foremost, it provides direct communication between teachers and students. Teachers can send messages and post class note after each class period with ease. With this, all students can review and get the same information at the same time about the topic they have learned or in case they were absent. Therefore, they were not being left behind.
In addition, the internet is a great resources as it offers a lot of learning materials that can be used in teaching and learning process. Educators can use the internet to find extra activities, articles, news, games and etc for their teaching instead only depending on the textbooks. Moreover, they can use different visual support like pictures to enhance the students' understanding especially in learning vocabulary. According to Wright (1976) visual material is very helpful as it can help students to say something based on the visual materials provided. From the students' perspective, they can use the internet to help them to complete their work especially in writing an essay. Students can use multiple sources on the internet in order to help them to expand their ideas and enhance their writing. Other than that, software developers have created many educative programs for students to help them in their studies. The students find computer games are very interesting, therefore by combining the games with the education probably help students to give attention and concentrate on the subject. For example the 'hot potatoes' software.
Globalization and Lifelong learning
Lifelong learning is defined as "all learning activity undertaken throughout life, with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence, within a personal, civic, social and/ or employment- related perspective" (European society of association executives, no date). However, In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, lifelong learning is defined as a place "after young person has finished formal education and training" (British Council, no date). From both definitions it can be concluded that lifelong learning is a process of learning for all ages. From my perspective, lifelong learning becomes importance due to the incorporation of the globalization.
There are many advantages of lifelong learning. One of the advantages is it creates high skilled worker to meet economic demand. Globalization causes remarkable economic growth. With high emphasis on economy, employer demands more high-skilled worker in this competitive worlds. Therefore, lifelong learning was introduced as one of the purpose to meet this need. Holford, et. al (2008 p.13) mentions that "economic changes have been central to the development of lifelong learning , and while many of these stem from globalization, and the condition of late modernity".
Next, Globalization makes lifelong learning possible by the use of various communication technology. We can learn anywhere at anytime. This is a huge advantage especially to older people to learn at home, and to people who are working to learn at any time they want. The development of knowledge is very important for self- improvement as well as a person professional growth. Globalization has boosted the invention of ICT. Therefore it is important to stay up to date to live in this global world. To ensure we will not be left behind, it is important that we learn something new to prepare ourselves with the skills and knowledge regarding technologies. That is why people view lifelong learning is very important as the result of globalization.
Lastly, the advantage of lifelong learning is it helping older people to remain employed. High Life expectancy reduce mortality rate. Therefore we can use the skill of older generation to contribute to society, economy etc. Holford, et. al (2008, p.15) mentions that 'in Norway, it is believed more workers would work until the official retirement age if they had greater competence in ICT'. Therefore, with various training in skills, older generation could benefit economically both for themselves as well as their country because they were employed for a longer time.
To conclude, the explanation I have given proves that globalization have given both positive and negative effects on education. Students with SEN will benefit greatly through globalization as people are becoming increasingly aware of their needs and provide equal opportunity for education for them as other students. However, regardless of its benefit, some people still refuse to allow students with SEN to be a part of their school because it could affect their school reputations. Globalization on the other hand had lifted the status of English to a global language. This thus, facilitates transference of information and exchange of ideas with people all over the world. In terms of technology, the use of ICT makes the learning environment become more interesting and engaging that could gain learner interest to learn as compared to the learning environment in 10-20 years ago. Finally, lifelong learning promotes learning for everybody regardless of age, gender, location and so on. Therefore, we should make full use of the benefit of globalization and find ways to overcome the negative effects of globalization on education for the sake of our future generations.