Group Details Private
Forum wide moderators
Fri Nov 27, 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM GMT +8
Track 6: Lessons Learnt From the Past
Breakout Session 6: International and higher education has come under pressure in the past from barriers such as pandemics, government policy and changing student behaviours. What has happened previously can provide a path for the future and become a roadmap for other barriers. How did higher education providers, organizations and countries overcome past problems? What can be learnt from those experiences and be applied today? Are there key differences that should be noted?
Mr. Alex Chisholm
Head of Analytics
QS Quacquarelli Symonds
Dr. Sajjad Pouromid
IIGE, Kansai University
Dr. Sintho Wahyuning Ardie
Deputy Director for International Program Services
Prof. Makoto Nagasawa
Thu Nov 26, 1:45 PM - 2:45 PM GMT +8
Track 4 – Conscious Campus
Breakout Session 4: Higher education is making a significant contribution to climate change through areas such as carbon emissions. What should a university do to mitigate its impact on the climate? What is the best practice in creating a zero-emissions campus? How do universities engage external partners to execute initiatives such as repurposing buildings increasing energy efficiency? Should student mobility be restricted or changed in a way to reduce its environmental footprint (eg increasing internationalization at home, reducing travel distance)?
Prof. Keiko Ikeda
Professor, Division of International Affairs
Dr. Tosh Yamamoto
Prof. Mohd Azraai Kassim
UiTM SHAH ALAM
Prof. Hsiao-Wei Yuan
Vice President for International Affairs
National Taiwan University
Prof. Yong Zubairi
Director, International Relations Office
University of Malaya
Global Learning: Is It About Unity or Diversity?
May 17, 2020
When you think of global learning, which word comes to mind: unity or diversity?
I recently posed this question to faculty during the introductory session of a global learning course design workshop. It was a synchronous online session, so I used Zoom’s polling function, and then each of the 12 participants explained the reasons behind their answers.
Some faculty talked about global learning as a means of understanding diverse cultures, interpretations, and beliefs. Others spoke of exploring common problems or looking for common qualities binding people to each other and their environment. One professor was attracted to global learning as a way to increase diversity—she wanted to get each student individually to think about our common world in multiple ways. Another wanted students to identify diversity within groups of people or places they previously perceived as unified or homogeneous.
As the discussion progressed, I could see facial expressions changing—the cogs were turning in people’s minds as they listened to each other. Soon responses sounded like this: “Well, at first I was going to say that global learning was more about X, but now I’m thinking it’s more about Y…” Although 2/3 of the participants initially thought global learning was more about diversity, you could see the tide shift toward the concept of unity, and then back and forth multiple times.
By the end of the discussion, one thing was clear to everyone present: there is no clear answer to the question of whether global learning is more about unity or diversity.
The concepts of diversity and unity, difference and sameness, the many and the one, all underlie the process of global learning. Global learning is about analyzing and addressing complex problems that cannot be understood, much less solved, by any single person, group, country, approach, perspective, discipline or sector alone. It involves connecting different perspectives on the causes and effects of these problems (Landorf, Doscher, & Hardrick, 2018)
The concepts of unity and diversity can serve as an organizing principle for your global learning course if you set them in dialogue with one another.
Let’s take a look at a concrete example. The TED Talks below demonstrate what it’s like to view the world through the prisms of unity or diversity. You might use these talks to help students distinguish between these two perspectives, compare and contrast their underlying values and applied merits, and hold them both in mind simultaneously.
First, diversity. In her TED Talk, “The Dangers of a Single Story,” Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie cautions against the stereotypes and misunderstandings that result from only hearing one narrative about another person or country. After recounting a series of anecdotes in which others questioned her authenticity as an African, Adichie concludes that, “Stories matter. Many stories matter…when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”
Next, unity. Rachel Yoder and Michael Herman are theater professionals who, after hearing one woman’s story, helped build a maternity clinic in Tanzania that transformed the life of a community. They conclude “There is Not Humanity Without Unity.”
The musician Ani DiFranco says, “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” I would love to hear how you use help students discover strength in diversity and comfort in unity in the courses you teach. Reach out to me. Feel free to share this post with colleagues you think might find it useful.
The case for more international cooperation in education
WHY IS INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION NEEDED IN EDUCATION?
The SDGs call on countries to “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.” There are four reasons why greater collaboration is important for the education goal, SDG 4.
Demographics have shifted.
In 1950, 60 percent of the world’s children lived in high- or upper-middle-income countries and 40 percent lived in low- or lower-middle-income countries. Today that ratio is reversed: 37 percent are in well-off countries and 63 percent in poor countries. The majority of the world’s children are growing up in the most resource-constrained countries, where school systems are often stretched beyond capacity. In an increasingly globalized and interdependent world, their education needs to be everyone’s concern.
Financing is not aligned with needs.
Poorer countries have a more difficult time raising revenue. On average, well-off countries collect revenue equivalent to 33 percent of their GDP, whereas poor countries collect 24 percent. Education budgets are most stressed precisely in countries with the largest and fastest growing proportion of children.
It is not that poorer countries are not making an effort. Low-income countries dedicate 17 percent of government budgets to education, compared to 13 percent in high-income countries. It is often the case that the tax and revenue base is too small and unstable relative to needs. Governments in many poor countries spend less than $200 on education per school-age child, compared to over $12,000 in wealthier countries. The differences are astounding if one considers that inputs typically associated with quality education are increasingly priced in a global marketplace—buildings, well-trained professionals, books, supplies, and technology. Greater international cooperation can help close this gap by building the capacity of governments to collect and manage revenue, and by scaling up targeted assistance for education.
- There is a massive shortage of teachers.
The Education Commission estimates that 69 million teachers need to be recruited by 2030 to meet SDG 4. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia need more than 52 million teachers. Much of the existing teaching force also needs professional development: In sub-Saharan Africa, only 62 percent of primary school teachers and 45 percent of secondary school teachers are trained to teach. In some countries, the need for teachers represents half of the entire projected number of graduates from university.
A challenge of this scale—including expanding teacher training programs, supporting public policies to build a skilled and motivated teaching force, and equipping educators with technologies to improve teaching and reach more students—is ripe for greater international cooperation.
- Secondary and higher education needs to grow.
The SDGs call for expansion of secondary and higher education because it builds skills, civic attitudes, and technological capacities for development.
Indeed, the countries that educated their populations a generation ago are realizing the benefits now. Countries that moved up in the World Bank’s income group classification during the last 30 years educated a much higher proportion of their populations at the secondary and higher levels by 1990 than countries which remained “trapped” in their income group. They prepared more people to take on higher-skilled, higher-wage employment. They had a larger stock of professionals across many fields needed to build a well-functioning economy and society. And their transition to more educated and more prosperous societies has been accompanied by a transition to more sustainable population growth, greater peace and security, and more progressive social and environmental attitudes.
International cooperation helped many countries universalize basic education during the 1990s and 2000s. More cooperation today could boost secondary and higher education and help build a world that is more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous.