The introduction of personal computer, creation of social networks and cheap communications made the world closer. Nowadays no one is restricted by physical borders of the country and even the oceans do not separate us any more. Together with it, the economy, politics and culture do not belong to the country as they become common for the region or even for the globe. My first blog gives an account on three decades of educational reform in Japan (reported in Yonezawa’s “The Impact of Globalisation on Higher Education Governance in Japan” (2003)) and reveals how interconnection between economy, politics and culture influences education.
In 1980s Japan’s heavily manufacture-based economy reached a limit of its growth. looking for the solution of a period of stagnation, the enterprises moved their manufactures outside the country. Previously unclaimed English language started to appear on business and corporate meetings. However, the majority of job offers in Japan did not require employee to speak English. Nonetheless, in 1984 the Nakasone prime minister’s cabinet directly established the “Educational reform council”, which was apart from the Ministry of Education and consisted of “laymen” – people not directly linked to education. It is important to highlight that in citizens’ opinion the educational system of that time was strong and reliable; from their point of view nothing presaged changes. That is where the politics considered the economic background of the issue and took course on internationalization of education. The special attention of the government to educational domain (“Educational reform council”) was dictated by the need to create world-level competitive human resources and forward them to the national market. As a result of the initiative, Japan attracted 52 405 (by 1993) international students and the international environment at universities was created.
Another good example of right political decision can be made based on “the identity crisis” in Japan and proposed solution to overcome the problem. During 1990s Japan as many other countries faced the problem of identity crisis coupled with stressed economic conditions of the country. People lost the sense of purpose as their national culture started to rapidly concede to the global values and priorities. The beginning of 2000s in Japan can be characterised as the absence of public trust in national education. For the first time many Japanese took a look abroad in attempt to find better education. In the light of such plight, on April 2001 the Koizumi cabinet approached a new direction in educational policy. Now, the education became closely connected to economic and industrial policies. Koizumi’s initiative launched a process of education’s privatization and decentralization. The new policy directed education to enter the global competitive sphere and gave an incentive to develop national universities. Yonezawa (2003) reports that education reform in Japan is now regarded as an instrument, which allowed to return national validity. It appears that politics influenced cultural issue in a close cooperation with economic component and let the education to internationalize successfully.
Summarizing, the experience of Japan is very instructive. The country was able to solve the problems of globalization and successfully adapt to realities of the time. In the case of Kazakhstan, we can surely find some similarities to Japan internationalization practices. However, it seems that more attention should be paid to educational modernization from the highest level – parliament and government. The close participation of media and governmental structures may drastically promote the internationalization of Kazakhstani education.
For more information on globalization watch video bellow.
Yonezawa, A. (2003). The impact of globalisation on higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 22(2), 145-154.