Studying Global Education
My interests are, however, exactly that - what impact does 'global' education have on the host societies? This is closer to the discourse on globalisation itself, indeed, and if we stay within the same paradigm, this will mean some of the host societies becoming overwhelmed by those metropolitan centres of the world who have 'comparative advantages' in knowledge production, save for the regulatory barriers. And, would that be desirable? Or, is the empirical case really the opposite, that the regulatory barriers impoverish, rather than protect, a country's educational system, as the globalisers claim?
Overlapping this discussion around the impact of globalisation, there is the question of the nature of knowledge. We have come to accept, at least for now, that knowledge grows through connecting rather than protecting, and therefore, those barriers should hamper knowledge creation in host societies. However, the empirical case may point to the opposite: That the fetish about the knowledge coming from the developed world hampers, not helps, the independent inquiry in many societies. In fact, this seems to happen more in the societies which has embraced English language, the language of global expansion of education, than those which stayed outside it, but that is perhaps further proof of impoverishment of knowledge activities through connecting.
Further, the final element in my thinking is about the human agency, or the human subversiveness as one may call this, that the students create their own path to knowledge anyway regardless of what the institutional climate may be. That opening up to global education will or will not improve the knowledge climate in a society is somewhat limited discussion because this is informed by a view of the world that ignores any role that the student may play, with or without the aid of information technology. In a society where global education may be prohibited, the student may access global information sources through the Internet; on the other hand, the students' local experience may be intensive enough to keep him interested in local lives and cultures. One is tempted to think that this may even open up along the disciplinary boundaries - scientific and technical disciplines being of the footloose variety and the humanities more connected - but that too is perhaps too prescriptive a view and undermines the students' agency.
So, in summary, I study the culture of global education. My work puts me in the middle of the discussion about global education. However, my questions about the nature of knowledge - is it really a commodity produced at great cost only to be afforded by the developed countries - and a sense of violation - that such assumptions still relegate all other cultures, to one of which I belong, to an inferior status just as in Macaulay's ignorant quip about the Sanskrit and Arabic literature - make me continue to study global education from an independent standpoint from what I do.