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Globalisation is a trending word in this century and it is often claimed as a natural process by many views especially from popular media. In the rapid growth of technology, globalisation is inevitable to a nation. Different nation may have different response and effect of globalisation. It is impossible to think of any sector which is not affected by globalisation, as it plays main role in business, education, culture, and politic, to name a few. The benefits of globalisation include greater invention of technology, higher average incomes, improving standard living as well as serving better education. Education is a vital part in ensuring the development of a nation, hence it has undergone through series of revolution in order for a nation-state to provide the best education system to its people.
Globalisation can be defined in many ways, depending from which views it is seen. In my point of view, globalisation is a process where the world is shrinking, becoming borderless and viewed as a sense of global wholeness and unity. Globalisation made everything becomes easier and it has led to great changes in many sectors since hundred years ago. However, it has speeded up over the last century due to the presence of advance technology in communication and transportation. The usage of emails and internet are the example of globalisation where global communication takes place almost instantaneous. According to Bottery (2006), the definition of globalisation is the planet is viewed as a whole and the speed of communication had ‘shrunk’ it over the last few centuries. Many theorists and authors generally explain globalisation as a process comprising the movement of the world’s people, images, technologies, finance and ideas, such as practices concerning states and other institutional policies. (Al-Albri, 2011). Globalisation too is said to be marked by speedy, free movement of people, services, capital, goods, ideas and knowledge across borders.
Some people believed globalisation is a negative phenomenon which affects the world in many ways. An example of destructive globalisation impact; cultural globalisation is seen as the cause of losing one’s culture and language since everyone is adapting and practising the dominant culture, for example ‘McDonaldlisation’. Despite the negative effect of globalisation, another group of people agree that globalisation give advantages to the world, where people get more connected and informed than ever before. Bottery (2006) draws the attention of cultural globalisation; it provides cultural variety in one location to eat virtually any national dish, attend any religious ceremony, and listen to any kind of music. These varieties, as highlighted by Bottery, offers education with different windows through which new perspectives are gained, besides offers access to different beliefs and approaches to life, and be a real strength for spiritual growth. Globalisation is not solely emphases on the advance of technology, globalisation includes environmental globalisation, cultural, demographic, political, American and economic globalisation and it is a continuous process whether human being recognised or not. The process of globalisation affects countries, generate policy mediations and have direct impact on educational institutes (Bottery, 2006). In a clinch, different types of globalisation put different tensions to the world. However, the different types of globalisation is linked to another and causing a more complicated world for people to survive.
Globalisation and education
Education is another sector which is affected by globalisation. The continuous change of education policy in many nation-states is one of the effects in regards to the demand of this globalised world. Education nowadays is ranked among the main concern of nation-states as it plays a remarkable role in shaping and preparing children for the future. In fact, much money is spent on education as a public service due to its importance. In past years, in order to achieve the aims of education, nation-states developed their education policy in regards to what they saw as important to their nation. However, in recent context, education policy is seen in a different perspective, where it is become internationalised to the dominance of the global economy over the national politics. Within the wider context of globalization, education is now regarded as an international service, playing a remarkable mission in the global economy with investment in people, skills and knowledge (Al-Abri, 2011). Improving global competitiveness has been targeted by nation-states’ education policy, which is believed that changing education policy alongside with the global context will help the nation-state to be more economically competitive with other nations.
According to Mundy (2005, cite in Al-Abri, 2011), many countries have become more competitive by working hard to enhance the productivity of the domestic labour force which can be accomplished by introducing new educational policies, programs and reforms that prepare children to compete in the global labour force. Despite benefitting the education, the competiveness among these countries enhancing the production of new education polices with full of value. In fact, Al-Abri also states in his article that many studies have confirmed that there have been new education policies that introduce transformations in curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation, seeking to enhance competitiveness among nation-states. Examples of these reforms are engagement in international comparisons of test performance, national curriculum and productive pedagogies.
Effect of globalisation on education policy in Malaysia
The process of globalization has deeply shifted and changed the ways in which education policies are developed, implemented and evaluated. It is certain that globalisation leads to a better education policy as they realised the importance of giving proper education to produce skilled worker which will help to increase the economic state of a nation and to compete with other countries. For example, recent finding in India states that Indian Education System has increased fourteen-fold in terms of the number of universities and thirty three-fold in terms of the number of colleges, in comparison to the number at the time of Independence (Kumar Singh, 2010).
As a developing country, Malaysia too undergoes changes in education policy to meet the need of this globalised world. The education policy in Malaysia has experiences various series of transformation, started from the colonisation era up until today. The reason for changes is mainly to fit in the global context and to higher the standard of the land. Traditionally, education in Malaysia, formerly known as Tanah Melayu started as a private initiative which is mainly concerned in producing man with means of knowledge and skills for his well-being and for his salvation in the hereafter. The education system in Tanah Melayu then changed after the British colonisation, as the British needs skilled people to work for them in order to exploit the economy in Tanah Melayu. They set up different schools for different ethnic lines, using different languages. They instituted an education system in all of the colonies with the purpose of helping the natives to maintain traditional life and to prevent social unrest through restricted education (Hooker, 2003, cited in Tableman, 2007). In fact, according to Hashim (1996, cited in Tableman, 2007), the British limited education to “creating better fishermen and farmers, because the British worried that an ‘over-educated’ population might rebel against colonial rule. This is the starting point of revolution in education policy in Malaysia, where economic sector is the biggest influence to the changes. Few years after gaining independence from British, the government decided to change the policy, where the New Education policy has converted English Schools to national schools. Malaysian national language, Malay has become the first language in school, instead of English or other languages after the implementation of the national language policy, in linear to the New Education Policy. Government sees that education is really important to the strength of a nation-state, hence the changes. This is true to Tableman, (2007), education is an important aspect in supporting the infrastructure of a country, hence having a dependable education system is crucial to the success of developing countries in a global economy
Globalization is said to promote the opening of national borders to the international flow of goods, services, raw materials and resources, information and technology, and human resource (Chin, 2009). According to World Bank (1994, as cite in Green, 2002), in the last three decades, East Asia has been reported to experience a period of economic development which has been described as ‘unprecedented’ and ‘miraculous’. Economic growth and educational expansion is closely related, and these two aspects are also linked to state formation and developmental state. It is supported by Green (2002); the coincidence in East Asia countries of economic advance with educational expansion clearly suggests a close relationship between the two. For example, it has been reported that in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, the economic development grew eight per cent a year, which is way faster than other region on the world (Green, 2002). Generally, the enrolment rates in secondary school were below 50 per cent in each country in the early 60’s, however, these four countries have undergone enormous expansion in education, where each of the countries had quite high levels of basic education. In fact, Taiwan and South Korea now have among the highest rates of upper secondary completion in the world, and a large proportion of those who complete go on to higher education (Green, 2002).
According to David and Govindasamy, (2005, cite in Canagarajah, 2009), due to economic recession in 1997 in Malaysia, the Malaysian government took a few drastic actions to reform the economy states. The needs for more graduates and k-workers who could speak English well and who are able to work in multinational companies were listed as important strategies. Realising English is a dominant language, the government decided to increase the competency of using English among the students by implementing the usage of English language to teach Mathematics and Science. The policy started in the beginning of 2003. Adding to that, the higher education institution requires the students to have at least a credit in English in the national school examination, before they are accepted to study at public universities. In fact, the Malaysian Prime Minister at that time revealed that 94% of unemployed graduated in the country are Malays and they are unable to procure jobs because industrial jobs called for a high English language competency (David and Govindasamy, 2005, cite in Canagarajah, 2009). Indeed, with the advancement of technology used in the classrooms, the way students learn English in Malaysia may be different as it was before (Hussin, 2008). The influential wave of globalisation and information and communication technology is one good reason for a revamp of the national language policy. However, there is complicated issue regarding the usage of English language to teach Math and Science, and the policy is reverted to using both Malay and English to teach the subjects. Despite the issue, it is remarkable that English language is an important language for people to master, as English is the dominant language in trading commodity throughout the world.
As a developing country, Malaysia needs to emphasis on the aspect of lifelong learning, which is crucial to meet the deviations in the demand for more knowledge workers, especially in producing skilled workers. In the area of higher education, universities have become factors of the competitive advantage of nations (Porter, 1998, as cite in Chin, 2009). Higher education plays a vital role in obtaining and sustaining competitive advantage in various industries where it is the main locus that pushes economies forward, besides the role of educating and generating the talent of the people. Besides that, due to the same fact to boost world economies, universities have become more aware concerning global competitive, especially universities of developed nations. The universities particularly looking for students from different parts of the world, with different cultures and values to allow new assimilation and at the same time, local students are sent abroad in exchange programme to prepare them for global careers in the future. Some of the universities also offering courses of study that address the challenges of an interconnected world and collaborative research programs to advance science for the benefit of all mankind (Chin, 2009). For example, many branches of overseas universities are open in Malaysia, such as Monash University and University of Nottingham. The exchange programme also being held with the overseas universities, which offers the opportunity of new information and technology transfer. As a consequence, the forces of shaping higher education cause the movement of people across the border where students travel from one developed state to another and from developing or less-developed to the developed countries in order to have a good education.
The preamble to the Malaysian Education Act 1996 states that education plays a vital role in achieving the country’s vision, which is achieving the status of developed nation instead of developing nation, in terms of economic development, ethical strength and social justice (McGurnie and Ziguras, 2001). In order to achieve the status, Malaysia has worked hard to boost economy, especially in transforming the education level to a better standard. The economic globalisation has affected Malaysian higher education policy where the Malaysian government started to encourage the growth of private universities and private sector investment in higher education. However, the private sector is still strictly regulated by the government; this is including the investment from foreign providers. However, private higher education sector in Malaysia is maintained under the governmental control, in order to meet the government requirement, for instance in cultural and economic needs of the nation (National Economic Advisory Council, 2009). Economic globalisation causes education to be a commodity to neo-liberal economics. According to Ward and Eden (2009), neo-liberal economics suggests to introducing the kind of competition which makes private business successful in education sector. They want a free-market in education, where education is bought and sold; schools are the providers and parents and children the consumers or customers.
In the 90s, not only private universities and colleges are liberalised, many private schools and international schools are also built as a result to globalisation. The policy of private of having regulated private providers in education has changed and foreign investors are now allowed to hold up to 49% of the shares in any private educational company (See Hoon, 2011). Branch campuses of foreign universities are permitted, in fact attracted many of those private universities to set up in Malaysia. It is reported by 2000, there were 11 public higher educational institutions, 7 private universities, 3 foreign university branch campuses, and more than 400 private colleges approved by the Malaysian government to be open in Malaysia (Challenger Concept, 2000). Private institution offers wider choice of programmes to the students, for example offering their own diplomas, foreign-linked degree programs and some of the programmes require the students to complete one or two years of their studies either in overseas or completed entirely in Malaysia. Some of these private colleges such as Monash College, are foreign-owned.
Liberalization, globalization and privatization of education good for Malaysians is questioned on its positive impact to the people, especially the poor. In common situation, it is clear that the poor cannot afford to go to private school which requires high fees. For example, one of the private secondary schools in Malaysia, known as Saad Foundation College, required almost RM 41 000 (equivalent to 8200 GBP) per year for non-refundable fees. It is said that private school serves better place to educate the students, for example providing less number of students in classes, better interaction between teacher and students, and excellent extra-curricular activities. Although private school is good for students’ lifelong learning, it is a disadvantage to the poor, where they have no chance to have the same kind of education and is always lacking. Tooley (no date, cite in See Hoon, 2011) claims in his report ‘Could Globalization of Education Benefit the Poor?’; that there are private schools available to and supported by the poor in developing countries, which offering poor parents and children a better deal, than the national schools. The reasons why people opt to private school regardless the rich or the poor, is because private school is said to give a better education to the children. The perception of society towards private schools is that the teachers in the private schools show a much greater commitment to teaching than in the government schools. These considerations advocate that private education is really beneficial for all students, including the poor and nevertheless, private education is turning into business where investors competing to recruit students. In particular situations, institutions are spending significant portion of budget on marketing and enrolling students rather than educating them. The education sector is swept up in global marketization and is an advantage to a nation-state, promoting money flows and develops the economy of the country (Margison and Wende, 2007).
Globalization also gives impact on educational delivery and support, where it is integrated with the usage of technology and electronic learning support. Instead of electronic devices use in the classroom, distance education across borders is easy to access nowadays. For example, online courses, virtual classrooms and Web-based tutorials are available for anyone. In fact, using ICT in education is a current ‘trend’ as ICT has changed the way businesses and industries are conducted, it is also influenced the way people work, interact and function in society (UNESCO, 2002). ICT can be found everywhere, and it is common at home, at work, and in educational institutions and the use of it increased exponentially (McGorry, 2002). Explosion of knowledge and information in the era of information technology has somehow helped the globalization of education. The introduction of computers and internet and other technology-mediated learning through the use of VCD, CD-Rom, Email, database, webpage, and digital library have helped in the dissemination of information and knowledge to millions around the world. Due to this fact, Malaysia is integrating the use of ICT in education, besides trying to follow the global trend as other countries have long developed the policy of ICT in education. The development of the ‘Policy on ICT in Education’ in Malaysia is underlying of four major pillars; human capital, budget, digital learning resources and infrastructure (Policy on ICT in Education, 2010).
Globalisation has invented more advance technology which greatly benefits the education sector, from the ministry to the students. One of the examples the implementation of ICT in Malaysian Education policy is the launching of Smart school. The objective of the launching smart school is to have a learning institution that has been reinvented in terms of teaching and learning methods and school administration system in order to prepare the students for the Information-Based Society (Policy on ICT in Education, 2010). The implementation of the use of technology, creativity and better management of information prepared the teachers, administrators and parents as well as the students for the challenges of the ‘information age. In fact, these also allow the students to get familiar with the ICT world at earlier stage in life by using ‘physical technology’ in their learning, for example computer, printer or scanner. Besides making the students becoming more technology savvy, smart school offers more interesting and enriching learning environment and they get to appreciate the power of technology in their education and life.
The launching of Smart School is not just about ‘physical technology’ or ICT intermediation in teaching and learning, it is also reforming the education policy into a better one. Many aspects are rearranged, for example the national curriculum and pedagogy are given the highest importance, with the role of teachers, administrators, parents and the community enhanced. As for students individually, creativity and initiative are prioritised. Integrating the usage of ICT in education, for example, the availability of ICT equipment including computer sets and computer technicians is indeed helps the teaching and learning processes easier, more fun and effective, as well as making communication more efficient. As a developing country, using technology in education is still lacking and within the trial period, these facilities are utilized in the process of teaching and learning specifically for Malay Language, English Language, Science and Mathematics at the initial introductory stages of Smart Schools and from there on implemented in stages for other subjects (Shaharuddin and Abidin, 2009).
Despites the advantages, the problem with the smart school implementation in Malaysia is with the budget. To transform all the schools in Malaysia to smart school clearly requires much expenditures and a large budget. Government need to spend a lot of money to for electronic facilities and new book, besides regular maintenance of the facilities. The investment of the government on this policy is risky, as there is always a gap between the desired and actual level of effectiveness of integrating ICT in education. In fact, there is still misinterpretation of smart schools, where it only focuses on having computer lab and broadband connection, without developing the curriculum to equip the students towards k-economy competency. As elaborated in the Smart Schools blueprint, smart school involves creating an enriching curriculum which will enhance critical thinking skills; a pedagogy that seeks to make learning more interesting, motivating, stimulating, and meaningful; a holistic assessment system and teaching-learning materials which will accommodate students’ differing needs and abilities.
Globalisation makes education easier to access and learners can learn through online and getting information from all over the world. The traditional way of teaching where teacher and books are the main resource, is deviated nowadays. The invention of scientific and innovative way of learning has modern man to get access to knowledge and information fast and efficient. The advance of technology promotes autonomous learner and it gives more opportunities for students to explore their own interest despite restricted to the syllabus provided. However, the downside of using technology in education is it reducing the interaction with the community or other people. People tend to focus more or the material gains. As cited by Mohd Abbas (2002), modern man is alienated from himself and society, as well as the nature and has been transformed into a commodity. In fact, the experiences of his life forces turn into investment which must earn the maximum profit under existing market conditions. Nevertheless, in this globalisation era, such situation is inevitable.
Throughout the essay, it can be concluded that globalisation does give great impact on education sector. The demands of k-worker, to compete the economical state within the nations, and the advance of technology are the examples of solid reasons to the shift of educational policy, not only in Malaysia, but throughout the world. Globalisation have various impact on education policy, however, this essay only cover certain effects. For example, the usage of technology in classroom and the increasing growth of private education.
In analysing the effect of globalisation, researches agree that it has both good and bad effects on education policy, especially in developing country like Malaysia. Globalisation should not be isolated from education, as it helps the nation in producing good skilled workers and boost nation’s economy. Government plays the biggest role in educating the people and it is important for the government to monitor and invest on education, ensuring that education is available for all people. With the advance of technology, people are having a better learning experience, with the easy access on additional information, despite of what they have learnt in conventional classroom. Although some people thinks globalisation is endangering a nation, one should believe that it is a healthy trend in serving a better place for mankind, where we can imitate and followed the good things, and take the negative effects of globalisation as challenges.
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