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Globalization and Education – Economic, Political and Cultural Dimensions


Globalization is a network of various factors including political, economic, cultural and many others. Concentrating and explaining globalization based on one or two factors won’t give a complete picture of its aspects and present trends. Understanding globalization can be done from various angles and the conclusion made from each angle can be correlated to each other. This helps in understanding the major factors that are involved in shaping the face of globalization.

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Assessing the Correlation between Different Dimensions

“Cultural insights into globalization might be useful in the study of its economic relationships, and theorizations of its economic dynamics provide one way into its political and cultural potentials. In discussing the politics of education, in the context of globalization, the master discipline is the political analysis and power relations.” (Simon 1999, pp.19-31). Countries remain in a friendly association when the economy is considered and the strength of this relation between countries will depend upon the political setup of the country. The cultural background of people in a country will have a large effect on the political scenario which in turn will have an impact on the economy. The surge in Information technology usage, increasing interest in the Internet for communication across the globe, and other modes of global communication have melted the country’s borders in terms of availability of education and knowledge globally. The future can visualize the combination of media with educational systems. In the late 1900s, industrialized countries saw an internal battle to bring out education beyond the social class setup of the people. The new dimensions in the education system were propelled by the political interest which gave more facilities, funds and also extended education to every section of the population. As globalization took its full swing “the old politics of equality of opportunity is fading. In the global era, the politics of difference in education become more important than before- though, as noted, this does not in itself imply the disappearance of a class-based political dynamics.” (Simon 1999, pp.19-31). Educational programs and strategies are to be designed keeping in mind the currently available technologies and information so that education will be valuable in confronting economic competitiveness. “Indeed, all the talk about an emerging knowledge edge economy renders educational practices even more important in political symbolism, than in the manufacturing and construction-centered 1960s. In the Globalization era, education programs are becoming the site of new kinds of political contention.” (Simon 1999, pp.19-31). “Relations between industrialized and developing countries have seldom been fair and this is recognized from historical accounts. Globalization has brought new forms of economic and political articulation between center and periphery, noting that the penetration of peripheral states occurs through the transnational corporation (TNCs) and the transnational elites directly by means of commercial and political-diplomatic ties.” (Stromquist 2002, pp. 19-35).

Education is believed to influence culture. Taking into consideration terms like intercultural or multicultural, it explains a connection between two or more groups of culturally different populations through acculturation. For example, exchange of knowledge through education between two cultures. This also may involve a political connotation that redefines boundaries of culture and thus join nations and different populations together. In the colonial scenario; education was used to produce citizens who very much had the character of colonial masters. Structural domination by colonial education can be described as the method by which the dominant country gets into the soul of another country and restructures the second country from inside. This causes fragmentation within a country between the colonial elite and peripheral population. “Structural domination is still in place wherever the Western model of technical-economic development is accepted and periphery depends on the center to supply. Although the direct colonial relationship has been altered since political interdependence of many countries, this form of domination continues.” (Masemann, 1999). Life in the centers of education is changing due to the influence of globalization. “Entrepreneurial cultures now permeate university life in the prevailing surveillance/appraisal practices in British Higher education and an emergent fashion, in the united states. In the United Kingdom, there is now a Research assessment exercise and a Teaching Quality assessment program that not only conducts frequent appraisal of faculty performance but also reduce such performance to few indicators.” (Stromquist & Monkman 2000, pp.3-26).

The late 1900s saw the global economy taking up mammoth changes that affected the global partners of the economy. Education was important for all the countries to obtain resources for increasing growth and so educational policies were required to correlate with the growing demands of the economy. The change in economy favored certain countries which understood the factors of change before other nations. These successful countries accepted the new change as their cultural, educational, and political setup benefited to fully exploit the new changes in the economy. The nations that lost were caught up in the differences in economic, cultural, and political setup and non-relative educational strategies did not help. The need for well-educated employees in high technology sectors and the requirement of research for new developments became the important factors for the success of companies and the economy. The high technology sector jobs also required actions that demanded the knowledge of the recent information. These new changes in the job sector lead to a hike in investment in education. “High-quality schooling plays a crucial role in development with social participation and it represents people’s connection to and involvement with potential economic improvement and social change. Market economies with more equal income distribution have an easier path to mobilizing saving for development (educational programs) and political support for long-term developmental programs (educational)” (Carnoy 1995, pp.211-217).

The competitive edge for nations in the global economy depended on the possession of the latest technological expertise, access to international markets, the political atmosphere of the country-based institutions, and international institutions which helped in understanding the key factors that helped to sustain the global economic scenario. These above factors evidently projected that attainment of the latest knowledge is the key factor that gave the competitive edge to nations. The requirement of competitiveness in the international economy brought vast changes in the pattern, form, and content of education. Education was started to be regarded as the basic requirement that will lead to technological advancement and capability. Education in the age of globalization is not merely the attainment of theoretical knowledge, but it prepares the student for practicality at the workplace. Thus, education is related to coeval cultural production that defines the transnational aspect. “Much is being made of the need for individuals to have the knowledge and particularly technical knowledge, to move their countries into higher levels of economic competitiveness. Transnational corporations (TNCs) have been making broad demands on universities for engagement in research and development, but it must be remembered that some of these companies are moving into their own direct involvement in technological development in Research and development, portending a consequent reduction of the role of universities in technological development.(Stromquist & Monkman 2000, pp.3-26). In certain countries, the universities are moving into fulfilling the demands, interests of clients, and donors to attain a position in the global market. This change has vastly affected non-productive subjects like ethics and gender studies. In Latin America the universities are no more in control of higher education and the flow of students into private educational institutions is increasing. Private universities help in being a factor to face and sustain the demands of a competitive national economy, as it offers education in the field that is market-related and thus helps in depoliticization of educational centers, which are career-oriented. “The concept of neoliberalism has transformed the principle of equity and in the field of education, it resulted in ending the justice of social promotion. Within the framework of neoliberalism, education and especially formal schooling are given a key role for the attainment of social mobility under the assumption that the market does not discriminate and the merit of individuals will naturally come to the surface, enabling the best and brightest to be recognized.” (Stromquist 2002, pp. 19-35).


Globalization offered a common economic atmosphere globally through trade between nations, global reach of production, and commodity culture with the help of international communication using new advanced technologies and information. The handling and production of knowledge were important to cope with the changes in the global economy. So, globalization revolutionized the very concept of education. The change in the education system due to globalization had its influence on the cultural and political setup of nation and people were the most recipient of changes which helped them to grab new opportunities that are available with the changes that seemed to carry a global reputation.

Reference List

  1. Carnoy, M., 1995. Education and the new international division of labor: International encyclopedia of economics of education Pergamon, pp.211-217.
  2. Masemann, V. L., 1999. Comparative education: The dialectic of the global and the local. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
  3. Simon, M., 1999. After globalization: Emerging politics of education. Journal of Education Policy, 14(1), pp.19-31.
  4. Stromquist, N. P., 2002. Education in a globalized world: The connectivity of economic power, technology and knowledge. Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 19-35.
  5. Stromquist, N. P. & Monkman, K., 2000. Globalization and education: Integration and contestation across cultures. Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 3-26.

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