Is the globalization of education a potential zone of social tension?

Is the globalization of education a potential zone of social tension?

A new study conducted by RUDN scientists is devoted to the problem of the aggressive impact of globalization on national education systems. In recent decades, there has been an intensive unification of national education systems in form, methods, and content. Specific and unique features determined by the historical evolution, economy and politics of different countries are being erased. What is the cause of social tension among professors and teachers? Are publications in international databases threatening national security? Read more in our article.

The monograph “System of Interaction Between Global Education and the National System of Education: A Social Tension Zone” was written by an international team of researchers Svetlana Sharonova and Natalia Erohova of the RUDN Institute of Foreign Languages, and foreign co-authors María A. Oliva (Chile) and Márcia L. Reis (Brazil).

Globalization and Nationalization. How do they affect education? The authors of the study aimed to identify areas of social tension. Usually, it arises from the clash of two streams of efforts: on the one hand, the globalization of higher education, and on the other, the tendency to preserve national identities.

  • Is the process of globalization really causing a clear social tension?
  • What factors are responsible for the conflict between the globalization of higher education and the preservation of national features of higher education systems in Russia?
  • What are the reasons for the contradictory reaction of Russian society to the Bologna Process and the Project 5-100?

The Old New Globalization

The process of globalization has always taken place. And it can be divided into several stages.

The first step of globalization. The division of education into academic subjects, it affected all countries. The second stage is the formation of a unified structure in terms of institutionalization of educational institutions. The third, modern period, is characterized by bringing all national education systems to a single form. The two previous phases allowed national education systems to retain their cultural specificities, but the third phase does not leave the possibility of going beyond the clearly delineated boundaries of globalization. Ultimately, national interests recede into the background.

Процесс глобализации происходил всегда. И в нем можно выделить несколько этапов.

Undoubtedly, globalization has its pluses: the creation of market conditions for the most effective interaction of national education systems. The framework of globalization in education is built on the common points of national education systems. It is the similarities that function as channels of communication. A social problem arises when the framework of globalization becomes strictly standardized and inflexible. In such a case, unification causes a certain pressure on the national system of higher education, and the emergence of Social Tension Zone becomes inevitable.

Upgrade of higher education in Russia?

Contemporary higher education in Russia has undergone several major transformations since the beginning of reforms in the 1990s and the subsequent modernization process. Significant events in this sphere include the adoption of the principles of the Bologna System in 2003 and the Project 5-100, which was launched in 2013.

Over the past 5 years, against the background of the rapid globalization of Russian higher education, social tension among professors and teachers are becomes more and more pronounced.

What is it about? The authors identify several reasons: (1) concerns about the low quality of education, (2) the tendency to create more intellectual products at the expense of their quality, (3) social insecurity, (4) disproportionate pay in comparison with foreign specialists, (5) excessive westernization, (6) violation of Russian academic traditions.

Social tension arises in the economic sphere as well: a huge number of Russian scientific innovations are implemented abroad but not in the national or regional economy.

Future challenges for universities

Many participants of the Project 5-100 have achieved impressive results and have risen in the QS World University Ranking. Nevertheless, Russian scientists have expressed concerns about national security issues related to the need to publish their articles in international journals indexed in the Web of Science and Scopus databases. On the one hand, in some cases this may be interpreted as state secrets, and on the other hand, it may stimulate a human capital outflow.

The impact of globalization on Russian higher education affects the functioning and structure of the university. The positive aspects of this process, such as the development of international relations, the borrowing of foreign experience, etc., collide with social tensions within universities.

Svetlana Sharonova, one of the authors of the study, comments:

“The strategic program for the development of Russian education, formulated in the 1990s, fully adopted the goals of the European Union. In all the documents of the Ministry of Education there were formulations that were completely identical to the goals of the Bologna process. They were aimed at ensuring the competitiveness of the EU countries in the global economic market. But Russia was not and is not a member of this community. Thirty years have passed and only now the government realized that it is necessary to defend its own state interests, so in the new Strategic Academic Leadership Program the accent is made on the contribution of the higher education system to the national and regional economy of the state.”

General information:

The Intercultural Studies in Education” is a series of books devoted to a cultural understanding of higher education in countries around the world. The use of unified methods of collection and analysis allows the construction of the concept of “culture” at different levels and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the problems and challenges of higher education within countries, between countries, and within different groups of countries, taking into account cultural traditions and other distinctive features.

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RUDN University scientists publish results of their scientific researches in highly-recognized in whole world and indexed in international databases journals (Web of Science, Scopus ect.). That, of course, corresponds to the high status of the University and its international recognition. Publications of June-September 2017 ( In Journals of categories Q1-Q3)
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