The Relationship Between Comparative Education and the Concept of Globalization
The relationship between the comparative educational studies and the concept of globalization can be analogically expressed as the relationship between a parent and a child, for one is a product of the other. Just as a child comes from his parents, likewise the concept of globalization is an offspring of comparative educational studies. Within the field of comparative education, globalization has itself become an important topic for study and has affected the nature of discourse. This work will take the following format: it will look at the concept of comparative education, the purposes of comparative education; it will also look at the concept of globalization and the five dimensions it is used; finally, it will look at the relationship that exists between comparative education studies and the concept of globalization.
The Concept of Comparative Education
Comparative education is a field of study dealing with the comparison of educational theory and practice in difference countries. As a concept, it is closely related to terms such as: cross cultural studies, educational anthropology, international education, etc. Comparative education is also a field of study that focuses on the provision of organized learning activities across international and intercultural boundaries and utilizes comparative methods of study.
Noah and Eckstein (1969), cited by Emmy H. Mbozi (No Date), defined comparative education as an intersection of the social sciences, education and cross-national study. According to Good (1962), cited by B.O. Lawal, it is a field of study dealing with the comparison of current educational theory and practice in different countries for the purpose of broadening and deepening understanding of educational problems beyond the boundaries of one's own country. From the above definitions, the study of Comparative education allows the person involved to have a better understanding of the system of education outside his own country.
Purposes of Comparative Education
According to Emmy H. Mbozi (No Date), one of the purposes of comparative education is to stimulate critical reflection about our educational system, its success and failures, strengths and weaknesses. The implication is that, a reflection of an educational system helps to facilitate a self evaluation of the system and it is also the basis for determining appropriate courses of action. Other purposes of comparative are: to satisfy an interest in how other human beings live and learn, to better understand oneself, and to reveal how one's own cultural biases and personal attributes affect one's judgment about possible ways of carrying on learning transactions (Kidd, 1975).
The Concept of Globalization
Globalization is a concept that pertains to the growing integration of economies and societies around the world. Globalization in a literal sense is international integration. It can be described as a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and functioning together. This process is a combination of economic, technological, socio-cultural and political forces. Globalization, as a term, is very often used to refer to economic globalization; that is, integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, and spread of technology.
Globalization is composed of five dimensions: economic, political, cultural, ecological, and ideological.
Economic globalization refers to the intensification and stretching of economic interrelations around the globe. It encompasses such things as the internationalization of trade and finance, the changing power of transnational corporations, etc.
Political globalization refers to the intensification and expansion of political interrelations around the globe.
Cultural globalization refers to the intensification and expansion of cultural flows across the globe.
Ecological globalization refers to the global environmental issues. Topics of ecological globalization include population growth, access to food, worldwide reduction in biodiversity, the gap between rich and poor etc.
Globalization operates on “an ideological dimension filled with a range of norms, claims, beliefs, and narratives about the phenomenon itself.
The Relationship between Comparative Education Studies and the Concept of Globalization
The field of comparative education is arguably more closely related to globalization than most other fields of academic enquiry. One major factor to buttress this point is that comparative education is naturally concerned with cross-national analyses, and by its very nature encourages its participants to be outward looking. In other words, the field of comparative education is shaped by globalization. Cross-national forces of change are reflected in dominant paradigms, methodological approaches, and foci of study. Globalization, often thought of as the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life, has also helped tremendously in making comparative educational analysis.
Another important relationship between the concept of globalization and comparative education studies has to do with the diminishing importance of geographical constraints, which have plagued the field of comparative studies in the past. Delanty (2000) cited by Bray (2003) refers to globalization as the deteritorialization of space. The implication of this conception of globalization is that, whereas early scholars had to rely on the printed word and on slow communications through the postal system and other mechanisms, their contemporary counterparts can access the internet and liaise inexpensively by electronic mail (e-mail). Moreover, the reductions in the cost of air travel have facilitated face-to-face contact with colleagues and cultures in a way that was unimaginable in former decades. Time-space compression and improved access to people, places and societies have assisted the field of comparative education to develop in important ways.
Among the institutions which promote globalization, according to Bray (2003), are the various national, regional and language-based comparative education societies and the global body which brings them together, the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES). Most of the national, regional and language-based societies hold annual and biennial conferences which attract participants from outside the countries, regions and language groups which the societies mainly serve; these events increase the interflow and promote internationalization.
Within the field of comparative education, globalization has itself become an important topic for study and has affected the nature of discourse. For many scholars the nation-state remains a favoured unit for analysis, but an increasing number of studies draw instructively on multi-level analysis. Multi-level studies can show how global forces do or do not shape patterns within particular countries, provinces, districts, institutions and even classrooms. The field of comparative of comparative education contains some hyperglobalists who, like their counterparts in other fields, argue that the world is becoming borderless and that national governments are relegated to little more than transmission belts for global capital (Bray, 2003).
In addition to the above, the field of comparative education can contribute immensely to the analysis of the extent to which globalization is associated with new patterns of stratification in which some states, societies and communities are increasingly enmeshed in the global order while others are increasingly marginalised. This theme again underlines the value of multilevel analysis which identifies the impact of supra-national, national and sub-national forces on education systems. Within the context of globalization, issues of marginalization have been specifically highlighted by specialists in comparative education.
From the discussion above, there is no doubt that there is indeed a great relationship between comparative education studies and the concept of globalization.
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