Just Sociology

The Complexities of Globalising Education: Impact on Policy and Practice

The globalisation of education has become a topic of immense interest among educators, policymakers, and experts in the field of education. It refers to the growing interconnectedness of education systems, institutions, and individuals across the world.

The concept of globalisation of education is a complex one that involves a wide range of factors such as standardised tests, international companies, and digital education among others. This article examines the different aspects of globalisation of education, highlighting the main principles and ideas that shape this phenomenon.

PISA International Tests

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a standardised test that evaluates the performance of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and science. The test is administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and has been used since its inception in 2000 to rank countries on a league table based on their students performance.

The PISA test has become controversial due to the competition it creates among countries, with the aim of improving their rankings. This has resulted in national policies that focus on test-taking and teaching to a test rather than on education for the purpose of overall learning.

Comparative education research addressing the concerns of the implications of measuring student performance in narrow subjects has underscored the challenges of using standardised tests to shape educational policies.

International Companies and the Globalisation of Education

International companies that provide educational services such as Apple and Microsoft are major players in the globalisation of education. These companies do not only provide software and hardware solutions but also private schools that follow the ideology of neoliberalism.

Neoliberalists view the market as the sole institution that can create and organise wealth in society with the ultimate goal of maximising profits. Marxism critiques this approach, as it ignores the human and social cost of this ideology.

The privatisation of education by international companies raises questions about power and control of the education system by businesses, political entities or both. These companies are not only advocating for private education but also shaping the curriculum globally, which calls for global stakeholders to ensure social justice and accountability for educational policies.

Private Schools and Universities setting up abroad

Private schools and universities have expanded globally, creating inequality that is perilous globally. They aim to increase profits and provide education to elites, with the consequence of creating an uneven playing field where access to quality education is restricted to the wealthy.

This practice results in the polarisation of society, with a small group of educated elites dominating the global economy. The Marxist critique would argue that this class of individuals is concerned only with cultivating their self-interest, rather than helping the masses improve their quality of life.

The global impact of private institutions raises the question of how stakeholders can reduce the inequality of opportunities for access to education at the global level.

Digital Education and Globalisation

Digital education, including online learning and educational videos from institutions such as Udemy and TED, has become increasingly popular, owing to technological advancements in recent years. While this benefits students who do not have access to traditional education systems, it also raises questions about its effectiveness in changing the traditional education systems in Western market ideologies.

The global pessimists argue that digital education is a form of neocolonialism, as it undermines nation-states education systems and national curriculums. However, global optimists argue that digital education can enhance a collective co-created knowledge society where learners worldwide contribute to a social progress agenda.


Globalisation of education involves numerous complex factors that impact national and international policies about educational institutions, curriculums, and student learning. The four subtopics discussed in this article are only a few examples of how globalisation is transforming the educational landscape globally.

The discussion of the core principles and ideas discussed in this article highlights the profound impact that the globalisation of education has on the quality of education opportunities for all students. In conclusion, the globalisation of education is a complex phenomenon that is transforming the educational landscape worldwide.

The various subtopics highlighted in this article are merely a few examples of the intricate factors behind globalisation in education. This article revealed the significant implications of standardised tests, international companies, private schools and universities, and digital education in reshaping education policies and practices.

As we move forward in a globalised world, the level of collaboration among stakeholders must increase to create a more equitable and accessible educational system for all learners. FAQs:

Q: What is the PISA test?

A: The PISA test is a standardised test that evaluates the performance of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and science. Q: What is the impact of international companies on global education?

A: International companies providing education services such as Apple and Microsoft can have a significant impact on global education policies and reshaping the curriculum. Q: How do private schools and universities contribute to global inequality in education?

A: Private schools and universities aim to increase profits and provide elite education, creating an uneven playing field where access to quality education is restricted to the wealthy. Q: What is digital education, and does it impact education systems globally?

A: Digital education includes online learning and educational videos from institutions such as Udemy and TED, which can bring a democratized approach to education, but also raise questions about effectiveness and impact on traditional education systems.

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