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This research proposal concerns the investigation and analysis of the impact of globalisation on education in the developing world.
Globalisation, the defining phenomenon of contemporary times, is casting its shadow on various areas of human life. Education, along with other areas of activity, is changing significantly in response to the influence of globalisation (Baktiari & Shajar, 2006, p 3). Rapid developments in various areas of technology and communication are catalysing change within learning systems across countries, as transfer of ideas, values, and knowledge alter the roles of teachers and students and catalyse shifts from industrialised to information based societies (Baktiari & Shajar, 2006, p 3).
A number of developing countries are experiencing significant growth in their available educational facilities because of greater educational exchange with nations with more developed educational systems (Chinnammai, 2005, p 2). Such exchange is occurring on account of various reasons like greater movement of students between countries in different areas of education and learning, exchange of academic and teaching staff between educational organisations of different countries, incorporation of modern developments in the course matter of educational institutions, and finally of course to the development of huge amounts of academic matter and content in the online space that is now available across the world (Chinnammai, 2005, p 2). Whilst education is now becoming more freely available to the developing countries because of various such facilitating factors, globalisation is also leading to bringing with it a number of negative developments (Chinnammai, 2005, p 2).
Such negative results of globalisation essentially concern the growing inequality between rich and poor countries in various areas of human life and activity (Orr, 1999, p 166). With the advanced nations transforming from industrialised states knowledge based economies, their growing stress on learning and education, especially in areas of science, technology and medicine, is growing by the day, thereby increasing the gap in education and learning between them and the developing nations (Orr, 1999, p 166).
1.2. Definition of Problem
As evident from the preceding discussion, globalisation is progressively increasing opportunities to developing nations to increase and enhance their educational infrastructure through various ways like exchange of students and teachers, entry of advanced educational institutes into developing countries and far greater availability of knowledge and information in the accessible public domain.
Whilst developing nations have far greater opportunities for increasing the educational levels of their citizens, they also face the enormous risk of being left behind in a knowledge dominated world (Chinnammai, 2005, p 2-3). Such risks and challenges are arising not only because of the huge advances being made by the advanced nations in areas of science, technology, medicine and other areas of learning, but also because of the inadequacy of infrastructure, resources, and funds in developing countries to create broad based learning cultures and to absorb the benefits of the enormous advances that are occurring in these areas in the developed countries (Chinnammai, 2005, p 2-3).
1.3. Aims and Objectives
The purpose of the research project is to examine and analyse the impact of globalisation on education in the developing nations. The purpose of the research project, read with the definition of the problem, has facilitated the determination of specific aims and objectives.
These are detailed below.
To determine the ways in which globalisation has provided opportunities to developing nations to increase their educational capacities and abilities
To localise and assess the challenges being faced by developing nations in making optimal use of these opportunities
To determine the ways in which utilisation of these new educational opportunities can help in the growth and development of developing countries and their people
To determine the measures needed to be taken by the governments of developing countries and other important actors like international organisations, governments of advanced countries and advanced educational institutions in order to ensure that developing countries can access the opportunities provided by globalisation in areas of education.
2. Literature Review
Education is an important area of concern for all contemporary societies. As the base and fundamental driving force of human development, education resides at the core of the change that is radically changing the world in various areas, including those of science, technology, economics, business and culture (Baktiari & Shajar, 2006, p 3-4). It is the driving force behind scientific progress and social change. The developing countries are disadvantaged in comparison with the developed nations because of their poor educational capacities and abilities. It is thus essential for developing countries to ensure that their people not only keep and make use of their traditional knowledge but also acquire new contemporary knowledge and skills in order to integrate into the global economy and enhance their economic and developmental abilities (Baktiari & Shajar, 2006, p 3-4).
The modern world is rapidly changing from being an industrialised society to a global interrelated and cross engaged community that functions on the basis of information and knowledge (Chinnammai, 2005, p 2-3). The economic and social welfare of countries is expected to depend upon their ability to compete in global market places where industry based economies are transforming to knowledge based societies (Chinnammai, 2005, p 2-3). Education as a lifelong learning and training activity is expected to be integral to the basic functioning of all societies that wish to compete and progress in coming times (Chinnammai, 2005, p 2-3).
Globalisation has created huge new opportunities for learning at various levels of education (Brown & Lauder, 1996, p 6). The introduction of technology in classrooms is altering the ways in which education is delivered to students, as books and course material give way to matter in electronic form that can be delivered across continents with the use of online and digital technology (Brown & Lauder, 1996, p 6). Children as well as adults are now able to learn in various ways and do not require being physically present in educational institutions to increase their learning (Brown & Lauder, 1996, p 6).
Developing nations need to use globalisation forces and facilities to benefit their educational capabilities and skills in order to (a) share in the global knowledge and intellectual pool, (b) use such knowledge for the economic and social development of their countries, (c) create values and enhance efficiencies through such global sharing of education to support and serve local needs, (d) promote international understanding, harmony, collaboration and cultural diversity across countries, and (e) facilitate communication and interaction between countries (Brown & Lauder, 1996, p 7).
Whilst developing countries need to rapidly increase their educational capacities and abilities in order to catch up with and keep pace with a rapidly transforming global society, such enhancement of educational process is an extremely challenging task (Baktiari & Shajar, 2006, p 5). Most developing countries suffer from deficits in areas of health, literacy and poverty. Whilst the governments of these nations in most cases realise the urgency and importance of increasing their educational abilities, they are often constrained by scarce resources that need to be allocated to various areas of national priority (Baktiari & Shajar, 2006, p 5).
Many of the developing nations also suffer from political instability, which makes it difficult for their governments to plan and implement long term programmes for improvement of education (Cheng, et al, 2002, p 21). Such constraints in turn result in increase in the technological and educational gap between such nations and the developed countries. It is widely accepted that inequalities in areas of knowledge continue to be one of the biggest challenges of modern day societies (Cheng, et al, 2002, p 21). The differences in educational abilities between countries are one of the most important factors behind the continued inequality among nations and peoples. Accessing of new opportunities, by developing countries in areas of education, whilst an area of national priority, is an extremely challenging task (Cheng, et al, 2002, p 21).
3. Research Methods
3.1. Research Questions
The purpose, aims and objectives of the dissertation, considered along with the information obtained from the literature review, are operationalised into the following research questions.
Research Question 1
What are the ways in which globalisation has provided opportunities to developing nations to increase their educational capacities and abilities?
Research Question 2
What are the challenges faced by developing nations in making optimal use of these opportunities?
Research Question 3
What are the ways in which utilisation of these new educational opportunities can help in the growth and development of developing countries and their people?
Research Question 4
What are the measures needed to be taken by the governments of developing countries and other important actors like international organisations, governments of advanced countries and advanced educational institutions in order to ensure that developing countries can access the opportunities provided by globalisation in areas of education?
3.2. Determination of Research Method
The determination of appropriate research methods constitutes one of the most important elements of research projects (Gomm, 2008, p 14). The choice of appropriate research methods depends upon the nature of the subject, as well as the resources available with the researcher. Social research is conducted with the use of specific methods for obtaining and analysing data that are felt to be most suitable for the subject under investigation and study (Gomm, 2008, p 14). It is essentially shaped by positivist and interpretivist epistemologies, and the first step in the design of the research procedure concerns the choice of appropriate epistemology for the conduct of the research project (Gomm, 2008, p 14). Whilst positivist epistemology is considered to be appropriate for research subjects that can be examined, quantified and analysed with scientific tools in quantitative terms, other subjects that are not essentially amenable to scientific analysis because of their multidimensional and subjective nature, are best suited for interpretive epistemology that uses qualitative methods for procurement and analysis of data (Gomm, 2008, p 14). Whilst quantitative methods require the use of samples, surveys and numerical analysis, qualitative methods make use of interpretative analysis of research questions that are multi-layered and subjective in nature and can be examined and answered in different ways (Gomm, 2008, p 14).
Apart from involving choices between quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, the choice of research methods also involves the determination of appropriate sources of information (Bryman, 2004, p 6). Information for purposes of research can essentially be categorised into two specific types, namely primary and secondary information sources. Primary information sources comprise of types of information that are directly obtained from the subjects of study by way of information obtained during interviews or from organisational or individual documents and websites (Bryman, 2004, p 6). Secondary information, on the other hand, comprises of the publicly available information on the subject under study that is prepared by people who are otherwise not involved in the subject under investigation (Bryman, 2004, p 6).
The research subject proposed for investigation is essentially subjective in nature. Globalisation, as well as its influence in different areas of human life, is an intensely debated and discussed subject, with there being many advocates as well as critics of the phenomenon. Whilst the advocates of globalisation constantly stress on its various benefits in terms of economic growth and development and scientific and technological progress, critics of globalisation emphasise on the increasing inequalities that are occurring on account of its spread and growth.
The use of interpretive epistemology and qualitative methods of obtaining and analysing information is thus felt to be appropriate for the project. It is proposed that the research project will take up the study of the influence of globalisation with the use of qualitative methods. Research will be conducted on the educational development caused by globalisation of specifically chosen developing countries from across the world. The countries chosen for the study are China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia. The choice is broad in nature, covers a significant proportion of the population of developing nations, and investigates countries from different cultures and continents.
4. Procurement and Analysis of Data
It is proposed to use publicly available information from secondary sources as well as official documents from these countries in order to conduct the proposed research project. Substantial information is available in the electronic public domain on the educational development of these countries over the last two decades. It is felt that use of such information will not only serve the purposes of research but will also be within the resources of the researcher.
Care will be taken to ensure adherence to all ethical norms required for the conduct of social research projects. The plan to use publicly available information for research reduces the ethical responsibilities of the researcher towards primary respondents in areas of (a) informed consent, (b) absence of coercion and (c) freedom to respond to questions (Bryman, 2004, p 9).
The researcher will take care to ensure originality of research and appropriate acknowledgement of all information sources.
The research study is proposed to be conducted without the use of primary information and with the use of the information in the public domain. The quality of research will thus depend to a great extent on the amount and quality of accessed information. Whilst efforts will be made to ensure good quality sources and detailed search of information, inadequacies in this area could affect the quality of research and validity of findings.