Thursday, June 11, 2009

Globalisation and management education

GLOBALISATION IS characterised by the most common, yet unique feature – ‘change’ – whose dimensions range from cultural and social, to political and economic restructuring. The wave of change washes all boundaries of geography to a new and unfamiliar shore, thus defining a new identity for every single entity on the globe. India, the topmost player of the new era, too, opens up its arms for a fair welcome.

The impact is prominent in all areas, right from economy and politics to culture, but the impact on education and its concretised structure is far-reaching, irrespective of nationalities.

Knowledge is the driving force behind the rapidly changing globalised economy and society which results in both, challenges, and opportunities, for countries. The importance of ‘management culture’ is felt in every corner of the world. The Indian government and Indian business sector too, consider the necessity of following suit of the developed countries, and, though late, recognise the importance of management education in the changing global scenario.

The problem with these institutes, however, is that they flourish on the principles of commercialism, focus primarily on professional courses, and are highly practical. Their driving forces are business-oriented trained jobs, which also form a part of the curriculum. However, it does not stop there; they also place their students in well-paying jobs, depicting the strong linkage between industry and institution. Keeping the greater view of institutes’ commercial interest, the courses and training are narrowly focused, as well as micro-specifically designed. They personify perfectly the demand and supply criteria of economics as the significance of these institutes starts losing its worth when demand for that specific nature of course falls.

Everybody is aware of the fact that globalisation leads to challenges accompanied by threats. The major concern for the education sector is to deliver world class teaching and learning with updated curriculum and practical relevance. However, this is possible only by magnetising talented and experienced professionals into the academic periphery. But there is a problem for India as we do not have that much of quality and technically sound human recourses who could cater to the ever-growing and never ending upcoming graduates. If globalisation comes with a new hope for the developed countries with highly skilled human capital, it comes with a curse for developing countries. The reason is that the education system in developing countries (those who are in the transitional phase) is not adequately developed for the creation and use of knowledge, and converting the challenges into opportunities is totally dependent on the promptness with which they adapt to the changing environment.

However, at present, it is difficult to judge the nature and scope of globalisation, and also what it means to the field of education.

A few attempts have been initiated by our educational researchers to make connections between the several dimensions of globalisation and the policies of education. With the help of these researchers, India is now entering into a new era in the field of management education. Corporate clusters like Nirma, TATA, Reliance, Sterlite, etc. have started sponsoring management institutes. Some reputed foreign universities are also approaching India.

But here comes the problem for India, as it still needs some strategic guidelines issued from the government regarding the fee structure, so that it remains accessible for majority of the people. Its not that our educational system is not strong enough to compete with other foreign countries, but the central and state governments should intervene and make necessary changes in their roles within the educational system, re-creating themselves as facilitating and supervisory organisations. Teacher training, infrastructure, and curriculum, need to be urgently upgraded, and more importantly, industries should be allowed to come forward to share experience with students and to offer more opportunities for live projects.

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