Education and Development in Asia

This module will examine the relationship between education (primarily at the level of schooling), state formation and patterns of economic growth in selected Asian countries and regions. It will be informed by a critique of various concepts of `development`, and will focus in particular on controversies relating to the significance of trends such as ‘globalisation’, cultural identity and autonomy in the developing world. While it will feature discussion of the relationship between education and economic development, the conceptualisation of ‘development’ adopted here will extend beyond a concern with GDP and poverty reduction, to broader considerations of the role of education in the search for Asian models of ‘modernity’. Key themes will include the role of skills formation strategies in the East Asian ‘Economic Miracle’, the contribution of education to nation-building and identity formation, and the implications of globalisation (both cultural and economic) for education policy in Asia. A particular focus will be the tension in education policies in China, India and elsewhere between an elitist pursuit of high skills seen as crucial to competitiveness in the ‘global knowledge economy’, and the promotion of basic education for the masses with a view to fostering greater equality of opportunity and ‘social cohesion’. The dangers inherent in the relationship between education (particularly schooling) and nationalism in East and South Asia are another major theme of this module.

This module is available as a stand-alone course and can be studied entirely online in the Spring term.

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