Review essay: Globalization and education: Comparative perspectives
The authors of Education, Equality and Social Cohesion: A Comparative Analysis, of Culture in Education and Development: Principles, Practice and Policy, and those anthologized in Languages and Education in Africa: A Comparative and Transdisciplinary Analysis, all approach the pressing educational issues that animate the debates among educationists, researchers and policy-makers in developed nation-states as well as in geopolitical areas of Africa and Asia, through a comparative perspective. Such a perspective allows researchers and scholars to point out and interpret the differences related to specific social contexts and histories, to political ideologies and educational philosophies and practices, but also to stress all the aspects that are common to educational institutions and projects. Globalization, with its emphasis on education as a viable economic investment that promises high returns, represents the general dimension with which these three books deal: it may translate into the real or perceived sociocultural fragmentation of developed societies that makes the concept of social cohesion and its relation to schooling once more relevant, as in Education, Equality and Social Cohesion; or it may be felt as the pressure of neocolonialism that silences endogenous knowledge and people’s ability for multilingualism in the African states which is examined in Languages and Education in Africa; or it may be the persistent disregard for local cultures and competences expressed by development programmes and donors as argued in Culture in Education and Development. The theoretical and policy recommendations that all these authors suggest, on the basis of their research practice and findings, centre around a recognition of the relevance of culture for quality education and quality life, of culture as a complex and dynamic dimension that needs to be understood in relation to the wider historical, political and economic frameworks.