Education forms an integral part of global economic integration and internationalization process. As Mundy, Green, Lingard, & Verger, (2016), it is widely acknowledged that educational success is a prerequisite for economic competitiveness. As such, many governments take a keen interest in developing policies aimed at improving the quality of education. Establishment of UNESCO and Universal Declaration of Human Rights gave rise to global policymaking. Governments are engaging in global policy-making and education exchange through membership of diverse institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Group of 8 (G8), the European Union and World Bank.
National education systems were first instituted as part of the modern governments in the West. There were public education systems put in place during the early 19th century in Western Europe and North America. Governments encouraged education as it provided an avenue for citizens to socialize and allocate values that are deemed to be authoritative. Internationalization of education policymaking was realized after the breakdown of colonialism and the rise of independent states after the end of World War II.
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Globalization accelerated economic integration. Advancement of technology and technological tools gave rise to transnational corporations and the development of integrated production chains that increased the flow of capital and goods across borders. As such, globalization changed government strategic interest to contain and control both economic and social trajectories giving rise to new global education policies. Globalization shaped education policy through reforms geared towards reducing the cost of education, new forms of user payments and creation of private finance sources. On the same note, policymakers improved the education system by developing new performance standards, assessments, diversification as well as accountability of education providers so as to improve the education system.
Scholars who study education policy scholars have come up with new terms, methodological approaches and theoretical frames to study current complex, plurilateral education policies that have emanated from the globalization process. Among the top concerns in understanding global education policy is irregular and contested portrayal of global discourse when it comes to education systems and organizations. Many scholars reject the use of a linear comprehension of policy processes in education. For instance, Ball (1994), proposed the education policy-making can be understood as ‘policy circle’ having a non-linear and multi-directional relationship across the setting of agenda, producing policy text, and enactment of the policy. Education policy researchers are putting more emphasis on the influence within global policy discourses and dynamics of policy refinement by focusing on their irregular and discerned outcomes.
National institutions and domestic policies are central to understanding the uniform level of penetration as well as diffusion of global education policy ideologies in different parts of the world (. Mundy et al. (2016). They also help inform on erudition and adoption of such universal ideologies within local institutions, practices, and education networks. The result is converging of both education policy and practice at a global level.
The World Bank and OECD form the institutional basis of the current global policy framework in education. Mundy et al. (2016) noted that the key issue debated when it comes to universal education policy is the development of education. The World Bank, OECD, and other key players such as the United Nations agencies and intergovernmental actors continue to inform global education policy (Sellar &Lingard, 2013). On the same note, non-state actors such as advocacy networks that deal with development reforms, human rights, and debt relive have been advocating for universal rights to education. Basic education is seen by many as a global public good giving rise to the expansion of the demand for education such as higher education as well as technical training.
Ball, S.J. 1994. Education Reform: A Critical and Post‐Structural Approach. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Mundy, K., Green, A., Lingard, B., & Verger, A. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of global education policy. John Wiley & Sons.
Sellar, S. and B. Lingard. 2013. “The OECD and Global Governance in Education.” Journal of Education Policy, 28(5): 710–725.
Zajda, J. (2015). Globalisation and its impact on education and policy. In Second international handbook on globalisation, education and policy research (pp. 105-125). Springer, Dordrecht.