Link Between Globalisation And African Education Education Essay

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With the beginning of the twenty-first century, it became apparent that we are living in a globalised and paradoxical world. In one light we are presented with media images of extraordinary economic progress brought on my technological advancements and communication innovations. Whilst in another light we are confronted with damning portrayals of grinding poverty and struggles that are common place for hundreds of millions of citizens in the �third world� and even more so in what is known as sub-Saharan Africa. In regards to the current link between globalisation and African education (as much as it may be problematic to generalise), it is abundantly obvious that since the introduction of globalisation, combined by the enforcement of the World Bank and SAPs (Structural Adjustment Programs) the progress of education has been significantly stunted.

Education has been hit hard by globalisation, this is reflected in massive increase in school fees and other charges and an increase in the number of drop outs...SAP�s, generally and as promulgated by their creators, should aim for fiscal discipline; tax reform; financial liberalization; systematic privatization of major government institutions and direct foreign investment. (Adepoju, 2003; 39).

From inspection of the mentioned SAP policies, what is evident is that whilst they may be suited to the economics of European and similar advancing countries with strong business bases. Applying it to a sub-Saharan Africa does not lend help to a continent that is dependable on the amount of available public funding to run such basic systems as education. Evidence suggesting sub-Saharan Africa�s weak economic position was given by the UNPD (1997) who revealed that the forty eight or so countries in sub-Saharan Africa have transferred more in dept repayment and interest charges than they have spent in developing changes to their health and education areas combined. However Many scholars, including Foster (2005) asserts that without western education, no political independence movement would have evolved in �Third World� countries. This assumption is supported by members of the Gold Coast pressure group who concluded globalisation, in fact, formed an important aspect of independence movements in its various forms of contribution, and one of the central rallying points was universal free education (Buah 1999).

Gender in Zimbabwe

Livingstone (1997) asserts that we are living in a knowledge society in which people invest more time to learning new knowledge and skills than before, but as this aggregate knowledge increases the opportunities to apply it in paid workplaces have not kept pace. The new and higher qualification obtained by individuals may not guarantee them increased earnings or a better job. The government of Zimbabwe�s dream of transforming the country to a �knowledge based economy� has remained and continues to be elusive. There is no apparent and recognisable positive relationship between more years of schooling and opportunities for formal employment among the out-of-school graduates. The assumption that greater learning efforts are closely related to higher earning levels, has become economically irrational. For example, currently some university graduates in engineering are unable to secure jobs they are qualified for and are underemployed as temporary uncertified teachers in schools and earning wages that do not correspond to their years of schooling and qualifications (Ali, A et al, 2006; 193).

Zimbabwe, like many other sub-Saharan states, has found itself in an episode of profound changes, renovations and challenges to socioeconomic structures. The omnipresent western influences of economic structuring embodied in SAPs and globalisation have demonstrated to be retrogressive in Zimbabwe�s development programs. SAPs have detracted Zimbabwe from its image of distributing equal social fairness and equity programs to marginalize disadvantaged social groups. However �SAPs, where properly implemented, have not only created conditions for growth, but growth that benefits the poor. In the urban sector, import liberalization makes local industries more competitive by allowing them to take advantage of imported technology. Therefore, liberalization, together with labour market deregulation will lead to the creation of jobs� (Konadu-Agyemang, 2000; 470). School enrolment signifies the initial steps towards a basic education, attending school and therefore conversion to higher education signifies a countries competence to sustain a high quantitative measure for measuring the success of its policy towards education for all. For Watkins (1999; 16), four years of �good quality� are required for children to obtain literacy and numeracy skills on a sustainable foundation. Increasing education enrolment represents any governments� determination to improve on the attributes of its citizen�s social and economic wellbeing. However, due to SAPs countless children, particularly females, withdraw from education before they have had the chance to conclude their primary schooling. Wherever SAPs have been implemented it has been observed that it is the education of girls that suffers most.

Were countries have embarked on World Bank (and) structural adjustment programs (SAPs), a deterioration in the average female gross enrolment rates is observed between pre-adjustment and adjustment phase. Furthermore, there has been an absolute decline in female enrolment rates in a number of adjusting countries over this period. (Ali, A et al, 2006; 213).

This is evident of the current educational tendency in Zimbabwe where female enrolments decreased throughout all tiers of the education system as a result of economic problems faced by parents. As Gordon (1996; 18) notes, by 1998 girls� enrolment rates in primary education had decreased by 4.7 percent. She further remarks that fewer females were using the transition from primary to secondary education in the era of globalisation, when compared to those who did so before in the 1980�s. In Zimbabwe whether poverty stricken parents have to come to a conclusion as to whose education to forfeit, that of the girls is commonplace, it is the same situation when parents decide upon whom to withdraw from school. The enrolment rates for female�s declines and their transition rates suffer as a consequence, in this vein, Watkins (1999; 51) links how SAPs factored in a 5 percent decline in primary school completion rate during their initial implementation. The program also had a detrimental effect at the secondary stage where the transition rate for females was 30 percent.

Poverty in Ghana

In Ghana, the general consensus is that the current education system is not addressing the priority needs of the poor but that of the financially wealthy. A critical perspective takes the stance that in order to maintain political and economic power, the Ghanaian government creates educational policy that manufactures social disparity and further intensifies current trends of inequality. The political dimension of Ghana�s educational investment decisions have been determined more by political pressure from socially dominant groups than by economic feasibility (Folson, 2006; 138). Elitism throughout the education structure of Ghana becomes more apparent at the second tier of schooling, where access becomes ever more competitive. This phenomenon is most harmful in two phases; firstly the breakdown of markets leads to a decrease of allocating resources. Provision of quality further education is therefore limited by income, excluding potentially able students. In the second instance, Ghana like many other developing countries has become under increasing pressure to meet the ever increasing desire for further education. However the Ghanaian education systems is unable to keep up with these demands and are more than ever heavily reliant on fee-based schooling and private, for-profit providers. In the globalised world the education market is opened to elitist entrepreneurs and international bodies, as a result of these local Ghanaians citizens are dealing with ever increasing costs of education combined with the daily and intensive poverty struggle. This disastrous outcome coincides a public discourse on educational reforms that recognise the significant importance of guaranteeing the provision of basic education to all citizens in Ghana.

Whilst human capital theory may have successfully hardened the general belief in education as a result of globalisation, the results of education planning has fallen severely short of expectations. Folson (2006; 142) observed several damning regularities from the relationship between education and the globalised labour market arguing that �there is a mismatch between the expansion of the education sector and the labour market...this mismatch has produced an environment suitable for brain drain, unemployment and poverty�. Therefore as a result of this mismatch many Ghanaians (Of whom the large percentages are heavily qualified) have left the continent in search of better economic reimbursement for their skills. Folson (2007; 161) argues that this brain drain is as a consequence of the failings of the education system to manufacture the kinds of workers that the Ghanaian labour force requires. Human capital theory is regarded to be of high importance to the development and eventual decline, even eradication of poverty. Thus, any loss of the skilled through migrations may be prejudicial to the achievement of poverty development goals and any discussion of the movement of the skilled is inextricably bound up with what is generally referred to as �brain drain�.

Structuralist theory has contested human capital theory as ignoring external influences beyond the individual that effect educational outcomes (Simmons, 1980). The general supposition is that educational investment does not inevitably inhibit unemployment or warrant employment commensurate with education, which make up important components of development (Ali, A et al, 2001; 136). Whether negatively or positively globalising influences are apparent and the most efficient way towards overseeing the flow of the highly skilled is not constraint or control but training that promotes the increase of positive movement that will bring skilled nationals back and also influences others to have an input. This increased interaction, demographic as well as commercial, is more likely to enhance development and reduce poverty than any attempt to restrict or slow population movement.

Conflict in Sierra Leone

Weeks (1993) in his examination of Sierra Leone puts forward the argument that external influences and subsequent burdens experienced by the Sierra Leone economy were the root reasons of the rising debts and repayment problems that caused the eventual collapse of the country�s economy. �The misdiagnosis by the World Bank and IMF was the cause of Sierra Leone�s economic problems...IMF austerity measures tended to aggravate rather than alleviate the country�s economic problems� (Weeks, 1993; 16). Too many developing countries such as Sierra Leone the impact of globalisation is viewed as an oppressive concept due to its damaging rules and regulations that are placed on them which are deemed necessary by external forces if they are to fit into the global economy (Wolf, 2001; 180). For most citizens this has resulted in the deprivation of social systems such as education and security. Although there is an increasing body of evidence that suggests internal influences for civil war conflict, others have recommended a connection between the conflict and the globalised environment. For example; Clapham (2003) states that, while much criticism has been heaped on Sierra Leone�s rulers, this is not a case where state collapse can easily be ascribed to a simple failure of leadership.

In 2007, the spending allowance for education in Sierra Leone was cut by 50% by the World Bank, without the subsidies that would of came with a full allocation it became difficult for the deprived to gain access to education. This resulted in teachers and staff leaving the profession at an exceptional rate as a consequence of low school enrolment and poor wages. Therefore the number of children not affiliated with education in any way increased all over Sierra Leone. Whilst in the urban regions, non-enrolment in the education system and loss of jobs was intensely connected to violent demonstration. (Mpoyo, 2002; ILO Magazine, 2000) have argued that the loss of employment opportunities in urban areas was strongly linked to the civil war between 1991 and 2000. According to Mpoyo (2002), many Sierra Leoneans believe that unemployment caused many hardships that later produced rebellion. For example, a chief in Koinadugu district, interviewed by Fouke Mpoyo (2002) commented that �There was massive unemployment; even the educated had no jobs. Their best job was to go into armed robbery; they were easily conscripted into armed movements�.

Through social exclusion, violence and indoctrination, schools can serve as powerful weapons to produce rather than reduce violence. An example of this connection was contributed by the UNDP (2005; 147) who showed how educational segregation as a consequence of the initial protests contributed in young people joining the armies of the rebel forces. Education provides another example of how violent conflict creates a cycle that is hard to break. One survey of ex-combatants in Sierra Leone found an overwhelming majority of those who had joined the brutal rebellions were youths who had been living in difficult conditions prior to the onset of the war. Based on interviews with 1,000 ex-combatants, the survey found that half had left school because they could not afford the fees put in place by the World Bank, or because the school had shut down (UNDP, 2005; 154). However Salmi (2000) concludes how each series of educational violence-direct, indirect, and repressive will have its educational correspondent education for peace, education for all, and �education for democracy and education for cultural diversity�. This form of investigation indicate the necessity to address the issue of entry in low income countries and also concerns over quality, and also to appreciate the complicated and double edge nature of education as a method of knowledge production