The current model of Higher Education is inherently local.
Indeed, the credentialing system, the degrees, are conferred under authority from national or regional authorities, and are primarily set in context of the local schooling system. The sensibilities are rooted in the local connections, interests and priorities of the faculty.
The growth of Global Higher Education, both of mobile students and virtual instruction, is a narrative of exporting one country's, or region's, knowledge, values and ideas to another. This indeed is problematic if the nature of work for the learner is local. This is the cautionary tale of the Foreign Educated who works in the inside economies of the countries, FMCG, Retail, Insurance, Logistics, Banking sectors etc., but are dismissive or contemptuous of the norms and practices and live in a futile pursuit of doing things in a 'better' way. But it is equally problematic for those whose work is global, in the trades and practices of service industries, be it developing an app or taking a global brand to inside markets, because the rooted sensibilities of a certain better way may come to prevent the understanding of the moving contexts that must accompany such work.
Indeed, one can take the view that global culture is an illusion, and even CNN or MTV are really export mechanisms of a certain dominant culture, but this will be to deny the hybrid cultures emerging across the world. The local refuses to die, and even solidify with prosperity and contact with outside, but the emergent local sensibilities, both in desires and values, consumption as well as production, are not the same as the 'traditional local', the way things used to be. And, indeed, this understanding - that there is no 'global culture' but 'global cultures' - is the key not just to global work but the success formula even in local work and contexts.
Emergence of such cultures present not one but two challenges for education. First, to be successful in the work contexts, which would, in one way or the other, but almost invariably be rooted in this hybridity, one needs an understanding quite different from the imperious assumptions rooted in most of the export-brand education systems of the world. The hybrid, 'global' cultures of work is not just about dominant cultures changing a traditional one, but in this age of ascendant individual creativity and expression, it is a dynamic that works both ways. At a very generalised level, this means shifting our focus from the mechanics of transmission - how one culture affects the other - to the underlying architecture of participation - how individuals pragmatically drawing on the contexts and cultures to create, enable and advance their own lives. This, however, remains a foreign context in education, which is still rooted in knowing than participating. In fact, rather paradoxically, the suggested cure, the other fashionable view that knowledge does no longer matter in education, overlooks and undermines the participation, and promotes instead the hegemony of practice, obscuring, rather inadvertently, the power and the possibilities of individual creation of knowledge and ability to shape the practices through participation.
Second, indeed, is the challenge in terms of values and the great temptation of indulging in relativism at the time of emergent hybridity. But this is not necessary: That even deep values stand on certain assumptions about life can be an useful starting point for any good education, and the process of education may, at its core, involve challenging and reaffirming these values (not all, but some that may indeed be reaffirmed). Indeed, one may call the process of coming to terms with oneself the core of education, the sense of being/becoming that educators root their practices on. This is both different from teaching 'better' cultures, and the unashamed fetish with change, that nothing must hold at the time of progress. For the learner, this is about developing 'global dexterity', as some commentators call it, a system of rooted, examined values, which may then inform practice and participation in hybrid and morphing contexts. Again, the current attempts to change education practices through technology often run counter with this aim, because most such endeavours work as handmaidens of education transmission, and not a purveyor of examining beliefs.
So, here is the challenge: We are at a vantage point of experiencing rapid transformation of cultures and emergent hybridity. This makes local work globally sensitive, and global work locally influenced. The education system we have, which is essentially locally grounded even when transmitted across borders, fails to meet the twin challenges of such a world: Its transmission ethic come in the way of understanding pragmatic participation, and at the same time, the approaches to globalism become either patronising or relativistic. The current attempts to change the education system for the global age, the emergent global cultures, often reinforce the tendencies that may be most antithetical to global participation: The commitment to a given practice undermine the possibility of participation, and the notions of progress often indulge in rootlessness. In conclusion, 'global' education today represent the culture of global capital, transmitted from the centre to periphery and a celebration of relativism.
However, this does not have to be. The underlying architecture of participation, facilitated by the same technologies, possibilities and connections that the above-mentioned brand of global education rely on, creates the possibility of a new global education, which could be constructed to be locally responsive and participative. It can be based on a new epistemology, one where rules of the game are set by participation rather than transmission, a global wiki-education of sorts responsive to generative hybridity. At the same time, this may also represent the educators' finest moment, a chance to bring about reaffirmation of values and restoring it to its centrality again in the great scheme of education. This global education may be less global in performance but responsive to the possibilities of change, empowering for individuals and located in the deep values that make us human.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
Introduction Erna Petri née Kürbs, a farmer’s daughter from Herressen in Thuringia, arrived in Ukraine with her three year old son to join her husband Horst in June 1942. Horst, an SS leader inspired by Nazi ideologue Dr Richard Walter Darré, settled in the plantation of Grzenda, just outside today’s Lviv, to become a German Gentleman-Farmer. Erna saw Horst beating and abusing the workers in the plantation within two days of arriving there, which was, as Horst explained, necessary for establishing authority. Erna joined in enthusiastically, settling into a combination of roles of ‘plantation mistress, prairie Madonna in apron-covered dress lording over slave labourers, infant-carrying, gun-wielding Hausfrau.’  However, there were clear rules in the plantation, and Erna was very much expected to play the woman’s role of being a Cake-and-Coffee hostess. When four Jews were caught in the estate while trying to escape from a transport to a death camp, Horst told Erna and her female
A week into lockdown and things are beginning to change. Mornings are late, afternoons are lazier and evenings never end; meditations are filling out the time for Yoga routines and Netflix profiles are strewn with half-finished movies. This state-mandated, state-funded period of idleness is being likened to being called up to serve, but is nothing like that: Such a comparison is really an affront to the idea of service. Instead, this is just one long streak of panic; of the centre not holding and life not going on as usual. With the usual patterns and rules in suspended animation and business talk - and business - being rendered meaningless, space is opening up for unusual questions: Is Capitalism about to end? Is this the death of globalisation? Does it get uglier from here? My grandfather's generation would have scoffed at us. They saw through wars and pandemics. But, in fairness, we haven't had a life-ending crisis of our own. Notwithstanding the experiences of th
I wrote a note on Kolkata, the city I come from and would always belong to, in July 2010. Since then, the post attracted many visitors and comments, mostly critical, as most people, including those from Kolkata, couldn't see any future for the city. My current effort, some 18 months down the line, is also prompted by a recent article in The Economist, The City That Got Left Behind , which echo the pessimism somewhat. I, at least emotionally, disagree to all the pessimism: After all Kolkata is home and I live in the hope of an eventual return. Indeed, some change has happened since I wrote my earlier post: The geriatric Leftist government that ruled the state for more than 30 years was summarily dispatched, and was replaced by a lumpen-capitalist populist government. Kolkata looked without a future with the clueless leftists at the helm; it now looks without hope. However, apart from bad governance, there is no reason why Kolkata had to be poor and hopeless. It sits right
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
The ‘Why’ Question? Adolf Hitler was appointed the German Chancellor by President Von Hindenburg on 30th January 1933. This was an extraordinary turn of events. Previously, President Von Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint Hitler the Chancellor, despite the impressive electoral performance of NSDAP in July 1932, Hitler’s uncompromising demand of the Chancellor’s post and a repeat election in November 1932 which failed to break the deadlock. Explaining his refusal, Hindenburg wrote in a letter on 24th November, “a presidential cabinet led by you would develop necessarily into a party dictatorship with all its consequences for an extraordinary accentuation of the conflicts in the German people.” The question ‘why’ Hitler was appointed Chancellor, despite the President being acutely aware of what might follow, is therefore a significant one. The NSDAP had election successes throughout 1932, and was already the biggest single party in the Reichstag and various Landtags acros
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.