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Tertiary Education in Global Marketplace: University Today

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University today faces drastic changes in terms of research, education and social impact. Relatively, the end of the Cold War decreases significance of national borders and increases that of regional culture embedded within. Questions such as “who governs university?” or ” who is university responsible for?” have become more relevant to the changing nature of university in recent decades.

In the wake of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provided mainly by American universities, Asian top-tier universities seem to launch cross-national joint degree programs to keep up with the global trend. For instance, National University of Singapore (NUS) has started to provide double master’s degree program named Yale-NUS College on environmental studies in collaboration with Yale University, New Haven. They also raise an ambitious aim to provide “new liberal arts blended between the West and the East” for their students.

On the one hand, this exemplifies challenge from real education against virtual platform derived from technological development. Indeed, some scholars criticize that technology will disrupt tertiary education, and that the MOOCs could be a one to one replacement to real teachers but no more than a provision of entry level courses. Rather, cross-national joint program may lead global business practice and scholarship if they succeed in realizing their concept.

On the other hand, emergence of such joint program may reveal concerns over brain drain from Asia-Pacific region. Recent discussion points out that globalization is thought to bring about cultural homogenization, but the program tries to prove that is not the case through their educational practice. Obviously, this trend is active in multi-cultural nation states such as Singapore or Hong Kong, what calls semi English-speaking countries.

Difference in views over educational language can be seen within the West.
Paradoxically, countries other than Anglo-America have been a driving force toward “English imperialism” as is reported [jp][fr] on Le Monde Diplomatique, a French newspaper. Milano Institute of Technology, Italy, even prohibits the opening of courses in English on their graduate curriculum, as is reported on Wired [jp][it]. Opponents claim they would try to preserve epistemic depth and diversity in tertiary education.

Under today’s scholarly communication, English should serve as a practical hub to get regional text and context translated into simple and solid comprehension. Needless to mention the Alliance Française, Latin region has shown antagonism toward Anglo-German culture from its history. Even if this is not a mere emotional revival of cultural conflict, excessive antagonism promotes confrontation but nothing else from inside.

English should also work to get talented international student into their education. Practically, strong refusal is also doubtful since it might prevent themselves from enrollment of potential student from other regions and decreases cultural diversity instead.

University education in global marketplace takes a variety of forms mentioned above. communicational collaboration should be expected, not to end up in a unproductive mess.

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  1. […] ブログを開始して以後、(1)・(2)にわたって「大学とは何か」をじっくり考えてきましたが,そろそろ一区切りにしたいと思います。連載の最後として、第三の役割、社会への発信・還元という切り口から考えてみたいと思います。お話しのエッセンスは先週の記事に英語でも公開しています。 […]

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