A new paradigm for Global Education is needed.
The current model of Global Education, where elite students from developing countries go to developed countries, predominantly UK, US and Australia, to seek out either a new life abroad or prestige and premium at home. This model has worked for more than hundred years. However, the changes in the economy, jobs and careers have challenged this model now.
For a start, more people are seeking global education now than ever before. The model that the elite followed to get to the best universities in the world does not apply to the masses: They are often condemned to lesser institutions studying things not relevant to their job markets in the false hope of attaining the life and dreams of the bright eyed boys and girls adorning the prospectuses of various institutions.
The life abroad that this global education implicitly promises often fails to materialise, as countries are tightening their immigration regulations trying to keep these workers away. And, salary premiums for global education has also proved to be illusive: A recent study by Parthenon, a consultancy, shows that while global degrees may create a preference for a candidate in the job market, in most trades (with some exceptions such as hospitality, digital media etc) the salary premium for an overseas degree is at best 10% to 15%. This slim salary premium does not indeed justify the amount of debt a student will incur pursuing a degree abroad, usually 10 to 20 times of what s/he will spend if s/he stayed home.
Besides, better jobs and opportunities for these students may actually exist in the developing markets than the developed ones. What's the point of doing an MBA for a poor university in the UK and be condemned, primarily because of one's nationality, religion and visa status, to driving taxis in London, when one can build a successful life back home in South Asia? The developed countries may appear to present opportunities of social mobility, but often these are constrained by role expectations for immigrants. On the other hand, exciting entrepreneurial opportunities wait in these developing countries for those who can invest £50,000 (that's the minimal cost of getting an Undergraduate degree from UK, over three years; that's 5 million Indian rupees, and considering purchasing power parity, is roughly equivalent to what £300,000 would be in Britain) and put in the hard work. Except for the illusive quest to follow the elite, it is hard to understand why anyone would ever want to do this.
Except a very sound reason, though it is hardly ever considered in making the decisions for overseas education: A global perspective is needed even for jobs and opportunities in small town emerging markets. The son of a grocer in small town India needs to understand how Tesco operates to understand the challenges of keeping his family business alive; the daughter of the Government employee in Islamabad will need global savvy to land her dream job in the new software company. The same changes in the global economy that is making it hard to immigrate and diminishing the premium for global degrees, is making global education an imperative and global savvy an essential career survival skill.
This means a new paradigm for global education is needed. One that's affordable: Not one which is selling the dreams of luxury to an unsuspecting teenager at an inflated cost, but one which comes to him/her at a meaningful cost, something that s/he can afford paying back with a job in the local town. One that's relevant: Not one which teaches them how to go walking on Yorkshire moors (however enjoyable it may be) but how to sell Refrigerators in small town Malaysia. A global education is needed to enable innovation, connected thinking and global trade and negotiation, but to acquire colonial pretension and a supersize ego for speaking Queen's English.
This is not to undermine global education: It is needed. It is needed even if one's not going into business: 'To be wise, read 10,000 books and walk 10,000 miles', said Gu Yanwu, the famous seventeenth century Chinese scholar. There is no alternative to meeting people, seeing places and experiencing different things (including walking in Yorkshire moors). But all this must be meaningful, if you are a middle class boy desperate to find a better life than your parents. Your global education must come at an affordable cost, with a clear relevance factor and must work for you.
This means building an alternative ecosystem for global education, perhaps parallel to the existing networks of universities. This means connecting educators, students, employees, financing organisations and technologies, creating the possibility of travel, exchange, work and enterprise in global context. And, to create this not for the elite, who do this anyway, but for those aspirational individuals who seek to change their lives is the magical, disruptive, possibility. Once that's done, that will break the back of the current Global Education system, which runs, basically, on the colonial legacy, now almost quarter of a century old.
Global Education, so far, has been about power and privileges; time has come to make this about the possibilities.
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
Nations are ideas. We try to fashion them as territories. But how can a river, a mountain ridge or sometimes an imaginary line in the middle of a field can explain the wide division in the lives, thoughts and futures of the people who live on different sides? Nations are not the people too. Indeed, people build nations and become its body. But the soul of the nation is an idea: People come together on an idea to build a nation. While that's what a modern nation is - an idea - and that way exceptionalism is not an American exception, very few nations are as completely defined by an idea as Pakistan. There was hardly any political, geographic or military rationale of Pakistan other than the idea of an Islamic homeland in South Asia. [In that way, the ideological brother of Pakistan in the family of nations is Israel] This, abated by the short term political calculations of some backroom colonialists, created a modern state which must be solely sustained on that singular idea. Religi
This post is a reaction to Aatish Taseer's evocative obituary of secular India in the Atlantic ( read here ). While I agree with it mostly - and share the reservations about the direction and the future of India - I differ with the author on one key aspect: I do not agree with his portrayal of a resurgent Bharat eating up a secular India. In fact, I believe while Mr Taseer regrets the Indian elite's loss of connection with the realities of day to day life of the country, his very presentation of Bharat and India as oppositional entities stems from that incomprehension. While I understand that he is only using these categories as RSS uses them - to effectively other the English-speaking elites and non-Hindus - I believe it is a mistake to describe the profound changes in contemporary India as the ascendance of Bharat. I grew up in Bharat. I never learnt English until late in life, when I started working. My growing-up world was one of small-town India, vernacu
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
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 was gui
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, as
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
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
A lot of conversations about Kolkata is about its past; I want to talk about its future. Most conversations about Kolkata is about its decline - its golden moments and how times changed; I want to talk about its rise, how its best may lie ahead and how we can change the times. In place of pessimism, I seek optimism; instead of inertia, I am looking for imagination. It is not about catching up, I am arguing; it is about making a new path altogether. It had, indeed it had, a glorious past: One of the first Asian cities to reach a million population, the Capital of British India, the cradle of an Enlightened Age and a new politics of Cosmopolitanism. And, it had stumbled - losing the hinterland that supplied its Jute factories, overwhelmed by the refugees that came after the partition, devoid of its professional class who chose to emigrate - the City's commercial and professional culture evaporated in a generation, and it transformed into a corrupt and inefficien
The story of British influence on Indian Education, to which Macaulay's Minutes of 1835 belong, has been told in six distinct phases. Syed Nurullah and J P Naik's very popular and influential History of Indian Education calls these 'six acts' of the drama: From the beginning of Eighteenth Century to 1813 The British East India Company received its charter in 1600 but its activities did not include any Educational engagement till the Charter Act of 1698, which required the Company to maintain priests and schools, for its own staff and their children. And, so it was until the renewal of its charter in 1813, when the evangelical influence led to insistence of expansion of educational activities and allowing priests back into company territory. From 1813 to Wood's Education Despatch of 1854 The renewal of Charter in 1813 re-opened the debate, which seemed to have been settled in the early years of the company administration, between the Orientalis
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.