«Published Annually Vol. 6, No. 1 ISBN 978-0-979-7593-3-8 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS Sawyer School of Business, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts ...»
it. In this process, many universities across the world are also gradually moving online both on and off campus to varying extents. However, simply putting a university online is no guarantee for success, because the network of personal relationship and rapport between students their teachers/mentors may equally matter as much as study materials. Today, the focus of higher education system has been placed on some critical issues like- easy access, affordability, preparing techno-savvy and independent learners, interdisciplinary research, economic development, international competitiveness, intellectual capital, socio- political reforms etc. A remarkable observation is that in today’s world spreading connectivity, allied with the massive creation of open source of educational resources through Internet, Google, You-tube, Wikipedia etc. could create the radical reduction in costs necessary for higher education to serve the four billion people at the bottom of world’s economic pyramid, which would again generate over a hundred million more students across the world (Daniel, 2007). Thus, many countries are visualizing the rapid expansion of higher education as the key to their transition of status from developing to developed nations. As a result of the dramatic rise in aspiration and participation in higher education, increased pressure has been created on funding of higher education institutions, especially from state sources.
In India presently significant educational reforms are taking place with a perspective to expand both the primary as well as higher education (with the opening of new IITs, IIMs, Central Universities, NITs, NISER, etc.) for life-long continuing education and easy access to quality education through ICT. But the real challenge lies in acquisition of land, building the institution, infrastructure, recruitment of faculty, setting up laboratories etc., which are complex and time consuming processes. As such we have severe shortage of qualified/talented faculty, and gaps in the quality and marketability of degrees in top brand educational institutions and other degree colleges in our country. Moreover, the so called new millennial generation of higher education students is having diverse and different expectations from that of the older generation students. Sally Nimon (2007) has identified some distinguishing characteristics of this new generation learners, such as i) they are hesitant to engage in longterm planning and tend to focus on the more immediate benefits of their education; ii) do not give much importance to the notion of standards of achievement and expect a pass for anything they submit, irrespective of its quality; iii) they are likely to have different attitude to web-based plagiarism and knowledge; iv) expect everything to be readily available and not as selfreliant as the previous generations; v) use the peer group reference for making any academic decision like where to enroll,and which subject to take, etc. Here, the question is, how to cater the needs of this present generation of techno-savvy learners and equip them for the job market. With the dramatic increase in participation rate, and privatization of educational ventures through entrepreneurship, and the government assigning the status of deemed university/autonomous college, doubts arise regarding the standard/quality of education as well as the uniformity of curricula/pedagogy across the country. Moreover, different types of institutions are having different objectives with interdisciplinary research, teaching, service and financial gain.
For example, college and universities often centrally invest in new interdisciplinary programs, rather than supporting the existing/established interdisciplinary efforts to innovate and flourish. Some of the programs like ethic studies, language /culture
Conference papers © Knowledge Globalization Institute, Pune, India, 2012
/ women’s studies have already been in existence in some universities, but are no longer considered as prime area of growth and investment. Currently, as there are new interdisciplinary fields with greater funding potential (e.g., science/technology related fields), institutions often determine that they should promote these new research programs which can bring them substantial financial gain to the institutions. This kind of negligence in institutional investment in diversity-oriented established programs leads to the symbolic and material devaluing of research and scholars associated with equity efforts among diverse people. In addition to this, it is difficult to find or even motivate the faculty members to teach or guide the interdisciplinary academic programs. Because of the recession market there are very few takers of interdisciplinary Ph.D. holders for jobs/placements. As a result, students rush to study the core branches in technical /science education, and are not attracted for interdisciplinary programs. These complexities pose obstruction in promoting diversity programs in many educational institutions. Thus, diverse economic and academic situations in the institutions as well as among the student and teaching community may further lead towards a sense of inequality and deprivation. As such in our country we don’t have uniform curricula, pedagogy, or standardized evaluation pattern for different degrees/levels of education (from K.G. to P.G). Scholars across the world have agreed that knowledge related to globalization involves both people and things. As consumers, we tend to pay more attention to things, whether they are products or services, instead of analyzing how these things are organized and by whom. Hence, it is important to develop knowledge about these supportive systems, especially when we are continuously leading the preparation of individuals to become global citizens. For this kind of preparation, researchers and academicians have identified three major areas to be considered in the pedagogical approach of enhancing students’ understanding of international contexts, competition and the meaning of globalization: a) linguistics, b) curriculum, c) leadership (Gee, 2004;
Lakoff, 2004, 2006; Apple, 2004, 2009; Giroux, 2005; Banks, 2008; Anderson, 2009). Educational leaders can support critical pedagogies that prepare students to discuss world issues. Apple (2009) and Anderson (2009) have promoted the new concept of ‘advocacy leadership’. Advocacy leaders in the institution should prepare themselves and their teachers to critically analyze local, national and international landscape of socio-political and economic implications and encourage both teachers and students to create space for dialogue about civic participation in society. Teachers can empower students only through critical pedagogy. In preparing to become informed citizens in society teachers, and students benefit from courageous conversations infused with discussion of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, social justice, etc. (Bank, 2008; Singleton & Linton, 2005).
Observation and Conclusion:
Empowering teachers and students to become global citizens is a challenging process that begins with the critical examination of established blueprints of institutional practices. Hence, our colleges, universities and other educational institutions should revisit and redefine their missions, visions and public purpose in the light of these changing forces/contexts. They must clearly specify how the issue of diversity has been addressed by their institute. As a panacea, some discuss multicultural education as a shift in curriculum, perhaps as simple as adding new and diverse materials and perspectives to be more inclusive of traditionally underrepresented groups. Others talk about institutional environment, classroom climate, teachers’ competencies or teaching styles. Still others focus on issues like standardized testing, funding discrepancies or trend in the job market. Despite this differing conceptualization of multicultural education the basic understanding of multiculturalism is a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of all diverse groups in a society/organization, acknowledges their sociocultural differences, encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context which empowers all within the society/organization. Thus, a number of factors matter for the financial gains as well as the personal, moral and societal benefits of higher education. Retention of students and completion of their degrees in higher education definitely matters, as with the increasing percentage of higher education in the population, the greater the nations’ productivity and innovation also rise to a great extent. The new challenge for higher education in not simply to gain students in different courses/ disciplines but to retain them till completion, satisfy and cater to their needs and ensure their placements in the job market. At the moment, there is a mad rush for technical education, especially engineering among the Indian youth irrespective of quality, reputation of the institutes, or substantial job opportunities. As a result, only a handful of engineering students get absorbed in the jobs during the campus placement interviews. The school education in India is also not in a better position, although reforms are still going on. In the recent “Hindustan Leadership Summit”, our planning commission deputy chairman Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that “Inequality in education is the root cause of economic inequality”. Addressing the session-“The Education Prism-Global perspectives”, he announced that improving the quality of school education is in the th agenda of preparing the blueprint of 12 five years plan for the socio-economic development of the country. In the next five years plan, education would receive more funds and focus would be on expansion, equality and excellence. Another speaker in the summit Gregory W. Cappelli the CO-CEO of Apollo group said that the challenges India is facing in human resource sector are similar to those faced by USA in the emergence of its service sector. He further stated that the emphasis should be on skill development. India as an emerging super economy would need more IITs. For quite some time the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India is engaged in expanding its higher education, especially in science and technical education and interdisciplinary research.
But at the same time we have to enhance the quality of school education and teachers at all levels. National Programme of Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) is such an effort through which large numbers of technical/science courses taught by IIT faculty members are being recorded and offered as video/web based study materials to all the institutes across the country in a Conference papers © Knowledge Globalization Institute, Pune, India, 2012 very nominal rate. Some of these courses are also available on You-tube, so that others across the globe can go through these top quality lectures.