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Education in the Global Context

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September 21, 2018

Education in the Global Context

In recent years, the global context of education has brought a new focus to education policy and practice. This ‘global-character’ of contemporary education has become evident in educational policy and discourse, as well as in the practice of teaching development education, and education for sustainable development.

The reform processes within education and public spending demand increased transparency regarding accountability, efficiency and measurement. The Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations advocate that all learners will have the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. Development education, education for sustainable development and global citizenship education are deliberate educational interventions, which address global justice and sustainability issues. Increased interest in global citizenship and development education has come about as a result of a number of factors, such as the increasing multicultural nature of societies and the work of international development organizations. Greater importance has been placed on highlighting the inequalities that exist in the world and the role we the educationists and the students play in preventing such inequalities.

The character of education is changing rapidly. The demand for education has substantially increased because of the successful expansion of education across the world. The whole world is inter connected with a very thin but strong line of education. But if we flip the pages of our history we will trace the beginning of globalization of education in the travel of students abroad since the twentieth century. Some scholars have also opined that early travellers like FaHien who came to India and stayed for nearly six years, during the rule of Chandra Gupta II and the visit of Hsuan Tsang during the rule of Harshvardhan to research and write on the life and preaching of Gautama the Buddha as the earliest instances of globalization of education. The great Indian civilization had already initiated the process of globalization of education much before the concept got currency in the rest of the world.

Ever since the world came into being, a lot of developments have taken place in the educational sector. This is very evident in the way people gain access and spread information, their work habits, methods of socializing, and many more. The transformation of the devices that we use from gigantic supercomputers to tablets are tangible signs of change. This is brought about by the evolution of how people think towards the globalization of education. Learners of today’s world are educated with the intention of becoming productive citizens in a democratic society in terms of what is required in the global context. As a result, these learners possess certain characteristics that are part of the new millennium.

Education for Global Development and Citizenship

There is imminent need to acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, which can be achieved when everyone has in depth knowledge of human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of cultural contribution to sustainable development. The inclusion of global development topics in education is formally termed development education. It aims to highlight the inequalities and injustices present across our globe, and to advocate action for global social justice. Development education is an educational process that increases awareness and understanding of a rapidly changing, interdependent and unequal world. Learners are motivated to assume responsibility for creating and enjoying a sustainable future. The main purpose of education is to build learners’ knowledge and awareness of global issues; critical thinking and analytical skills; and action for positive social and political change. In recent years there has been a move towards the term global as it seems to be a more relevant and accessible terminology.

Innings of the Educators and the Students

It is only apt that as educators, our methods of shaping the minds of the future generation should also be able to adapt to these changes. Global students have a broad, deep and a vast understanding of the world. Students these days know that they live in a world where there is diversity and a lot of issues to address such as health concerns, environment protection, economic growth and many more. They play an important role in taking care of the environment and help lessen its destruction. They also tend to be financially literate and can make economically sound decisions. The vast canvas of world education has provided a chance to the students to think critically and creatively. They do not limit themselves to becoming one-trick ponies only. They often think outside the box, not just adhering to a single approach to solve a dilemma. Two heads are better than one. Students of today realize the power of a unified group and learn how to deal with different personalities in an effective and courteous manner. Technology has made globalization of education possible for us to gain access to a diverse and abundant amount of information. Students can harness this, evaluate that which is accurate and has significance, and use it to address certain issues. It is now a two-way process where both the students and the teachers across the world learn from each other side by side. A lot of resources are available to help achieve this goal. We have multicultural awareness and appreciation. As we can see that the present generation is more aware of a variety of cultures, countries and ways of life than any generation before them. They are open to change. Today’s learners download their own songs and apps from iTunes… and then they create their own stuff and upload it to share with others, increasingly aware of the world around them.

The connectivity across the world has an exuberant effect on the students’ innovation skills because these students do not repeat other people’s ideas; instead they use their own common sense and introduce new and interesting perspectives to the world. Global students have civic literacy (are informed about government organisations), global awareness, financial literacy, health literacy, environmental literacy, visual literacy, cooperative association, critical thinking and problem solving skills and show creativity and innovation. It is already determined that self-directed learning is a characteristic of this modern world. The inter-continental communication has allowed collaboration between teachers and students of different countries. Creating digital resources, presentations, and projects together with other educators and students make classroom activities resemble the real world. Collaboration should go beyond sharing documents via e-mail or creating PowerPoint presentations. Many great ideas never go beyond a conversation or paper copy, which is a great loss! Collaboration globally can change our entire experience! We can grow professionally and expand our knowledge as there is a great conversation happening every day on a larger platform of this world.

The strings of connections have taught us how to appropriately use our wits to harmonize the pathetic conditions prevailing in the world, how to produce and publish valuable content, and how to create shareable resources. Finally, it is clear that the present students are woven out of different culture, country and background that together connect to a larger order of the world. At the end it is felt that the future of education cannot be predicted but influential educators can play a big role in inspiring change. This ongoing dialogue inspires all of us to go beyond the ordinary and look at exciting innovations that will shape the future of learning.

Shimmi SharmaShimmi Sharma has Master’s degrees in English, Psychology and Education, plus a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Post Graduate Diploma In Higher Education, a

Certificate in English Teaching as a Second Language, a Certificate in Functional English and a Certificate In Guidance. She has been teaching English at Sunbeam School, Lahartara, Varanasi for the last seven years.

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