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Article

Catherine Doherty and Megan Pozzi

While meritocratic ideals assume a level playing field for educational competition, those who can may seek to tilt the field in their children’s favor to ensure better educational opportunities and the associated life rewards. A growing body of literature is researching “up” to better understand how advantage for some through the choice of elite or private schooling contributes to the relative disadvantage of others. Institutional claims to offering an “elite” education can rest on different logics such as social selectivity by dint of high fees or academic selectivity by dint of enrollments conditional on academic excellence. Private education provided by a non-government entity serves as an alternative to public sector provision for those who can afford it. The global spread of neoliberal metapolicy has fanned a general trend towards privatization. Such logics of social restriction can distinguish the whole school, niche programs of distinction within a school, or tracking practices that pool advantage in particular classes or subjects. While education policy debates wrestle with how to articulate competing ethics of excellence, inclusivity, and equity, elite branding unapologetically resolves these tensions by conflating excellence and exclusivity. To achieve and sustain elite status, however, relies on the extra work of carefully curating reputations and protecting the brand. Recent research has started to ask more difficult questions of educational privilege. Such research helps to understand: the curricular processes and nature of privilege achieved through elite and private educational choices; how such education harnesses the semblance of meritocratic competition to legitimate its forms of distinction; and the broader impact of these processes.

Article

Most Anglophone curriculum scholars who participated in the reconceptualization of their field during and since the late 1960s are likely to acknowledge the generativity of Joseph Schwab’s landmark essay, “The practical: a language for curriculum,” in which he argues that effective curriculum decision-making requires the anticipatory generation of alternatives, reasoning that such decision-making neccesitates that there be available to practical deliberation the greatest possible number and fresh diversity of alternative solutions to problems. For this reason, the literature and media known generically as SF (an initialization that encompasses not only science fiction but also many other “sf” terms) are generative resources for the anticipatory generation of global curriculum visions. From its 19th-century archetypes in the works of Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and H. G. Wells, to its 20th- and 21st-century manifestations in multimedia franchises focused on space travel and exploration (Star Trek, Star Wars), genetic modification and mutation (X-Men, Spider Man) and artificial intelligence (AI, Ghost in the Shell), SF consistently demonstrates that imagined and material worlds are always already so entwined that they cannot be understood in isolation. In their exemplifications of the arts of anticipation, SF texts across a wide variety of media exercise the speculative imagination and exemplify conceptual tools for understanding and negotiating the global milieux of contemporary curriculum theorizing and decision-making.

Article

The business of international students in the higher education sector is a crucial part of many countries’ economic development and intercultural richness. In fact, in Australia participation of international students in university study accounts for the third highest export industry behind iron ore and coal with similar trends seen in other countries. Given that such a large proportion of students across the globe are international, it is important that higher educators are able to support them appropriately through their study. Research literature has identified a number of issues international students face including homesickness, being away from family and friends, financial hardship, accommodation concerns, and cultural difference including language. Further concerns may arise when international students undertake a professional experience in an authentic workplace such as in a work integrated learning (WIL) experience or practicum or internship. For international students studying teacher education students are expected to complete a number of professional experiences within the schooling sector. Research about teacher education international students’ experience in schools has often focused on negative aspects related to this component of study rather than the success that many students enjoy. In fact, supervisors or the work colleagues who are responsible for assessing international students often report mutual benefits through hosting. International students in teacher education face several difficult issues as well as success, and this includes international students in Australia and domestic students undertaking professional experience overseas. A model of effective practice for all stakeholders in teacher education professional experience can be useful.

Article

Historically, foreign language education in Japan has been influenced by local and global conditions. Of the two major purposes of learning a language—to gain new knowledge from overseas and to develop practical communication skills—the latter pragmatic orientation became dominant toward the end the 19th century, when access to foreign language learning increased and English became a dominant language to learn. The trend of learning English as an international language for pragmatic purposes has been further strengthened since the 1980s under the discourses of internationalization and neoliberal globalization. An overview of the current status of foreign language education reveals that there are both formal and non-formal learning opportunities for people of all ages; English predominates as a target language although fewer opportunities to learn other languages exist; English is taught at primary and secondary schools and universities with an emphasis on acquiring communicative skills, although the exam-oriented instructional practices contradict the official goal; and adults learn foreign languages, mainly English, for various reasons, including career advancement and hobbyist enjoyment. Such observations include contestations and contradictions. For instance, there have been debates on whether the major aim of learning English should be pragmatic or intellectual. These debates have taken place against the backdrop of the fact that the learning of a foreign language—de facto English—is much more prevalent in society in the early 21st century compared with previous periods in history, when access to learning opportunities was limited to elites. Another contradiction is between the multilingual reality in local and global communities and the exclusive emphasis on teaching English. This gap can be critically analyzed through a critical realist lens, through which multilayers of ideology in discourses and realities in the material world are examined. The predominance of English is driven by a neoliberal ideology that conceptualizes English as a global language with economic benefit, while testing and shadow education enterprises perpetuate the emphasis on English language teaching. The political economy of foreign language education also explains the longstanding socioeconomic disparity in English ability.

Article

Transnational curriculum studies (TCS) examines the fluid dynamics of knowledge creation, knowledge circulation, and knowledge representation across nation-state borders. It challenges the rigid architectures of state power and brings local concerns to the global context such as antiracist pedagogy and climate change issues. At the same time, TCS opens spaces for collaborative study of the same curriculum issues across nation-states from multiple perspectives. Curriculum scholars have extended scholarship to respond to various sociopolitical, cultural movements. Issues studied include human rights, recognition, and epistemicide through a framework that emphasizes hybrid identities and power operations across nation-states. Feminist postcolonial scholars within this field also highlight unequal power operations among nation-states, particularly for “marginalized” communities. They interrogate discourse on equity, power, and exploitation as a consequence of transnationalism. TCS scholars critically examine important questions on recolonization of knowledge through Eurocentric, patriarchal ideologies and the social reproduction of knowledge through curriculum. They also incorporate Indigenous approaches to knowledge learning and dissemination with the support of transnational curriculum inquiry. Key issues in TCS include global inequity and postcolonial discourse in transnationalism, transnational subjectivity and identity discourse, and epistemicide in curriculum and integration of Indigenous knowledge. Future directions for TCS arise from ontological, pedagogical, and methodological issues, which include collaborating with those in the field of border studies as physical and metaphorical spaces in research, linguistic issues in academic communities, and transnational curriculum studies for social actions and transformation. TCS contributes to opening space in curriculum theorizing to draw from multiple ways of knowing, including Indigenous epistemologies.

Article

A theoretical model of positioned, positioning, and repositioning is used to conceptualize the evolving process of the internationalization of Chinese higher education and answer the following three questions: (a) How have the quantitative trends of Chinese students studying abroad and international students studying in China changed over the past 30 years? (b) What are the differences between Chinese students studying abroad and international students studying in China in recent years, in terms of the host and sending countries, the level of study, and the fields of study, and what do the differences mean when compared to those in other countries? (c) What are the challenges, opportunities, and strategies in the years to come? To answer the first question, a compilation of descriptive quantitative data is used from numerous large national and international data sources, which reports a long-term upward trend (with some fluctuations) of inbound international students in China and outbound Chinese international students around the world over the past 30 years. To answer the second question, using general international mobile student profiles for context, data were compared of inbound international students in China and the United States in terms of both level of study and field of study. These revealed imbalanced patterns: Chinese outbound students are more likely to be in certain fields (e.g., STEM, business) and at graduate levels, but international students in China are more likely to be undergraduate students and non-degreed students in the humanities and language studies. Based on the data for the first two questions, the issues are synthesized in order to present the opportunities and challenges regarding the continuation of China’s internationalization of its higher education, especially with respect to inbound international students. In terms of issues and opportunities, economic and other impacts (such as political, financial, and pandemic related) are highlighted and call China’s attention to maintaining and expanding the strengths of its higher education system while considering competition from neighboring countries. Six major challenges are identified in this area, and suggestions are provided.

Article

Satoshi P. Watanabe, Machi Sato, and Masataka Murasawa

The aim of internationalization for Japan during the early postwar period, still emerging from being an ODA (Official Development Assistance) recipient nation, was to promote student exchanges and mutual understanding across nations. Japan then successfully shifted its role to that of an ODA provider in the 1970s, engaging as a responsible citizen in the international community. However, the nation’s competitive edge has slipped with a long-stagnating economy from the mid-1990s onward, the national target has shifted from the ODA provider role towards desperate attempts to regain the lost edge through public investment in research and development as well as promoting internationalization of the nation. As the notions of world-class universities and global university rankings have prevailed worldwide over the last decade or so, the recent policies established by the Japanese government in response to an increasingly competitive and globalizing environment of higher education have transformed to leveraging domestic universities to compete for placement in the global university rankings. Balancing the reputation demonstrated in the global university rankings and generated inequalities in the service and quality of education provided among these institutions seems to be critically lacking in the current debate and hasty movement toward internationalization by the Japanese government. These hastily made policies do have some strong potential to build Japan’s universities into stronger institutions for learning, research, and producing globally competitive graduates. However, thorough long-range planning, keen insight into the overall impact of the policies, and clear long-term goals will be critical in attaining success.

Article

Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría

Neoliberalism—the prevailing model of capitalist thinking based on the Washington Consensus—has conveyed the idea that a new educational and university model must emerge in order to meet the demands of a global productive system that is radically different from that of just a few decades ago. The overall argument put forward is that the requirements, particularly the managerial and labor force needs of a new economy—already developing within the parameters of globalization and the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs)—cannot be adequately satisfied under the approaches and methods used by a traditional university. Neoliberalism affects the telos of higher education by redefining the very meaning of higher education. It dislocates education by commodifying its intrinsic value and emphasizing directly transferable skills and competencies. Nonmonetary values are marginalized and, with them, the nonmonetary ethos that is essential in sustaining a healthy democratic society.

Article

Sukanya Chaemchoy, Thunwita Sirivorapat Puthpongsiriporn, and Gerald W. Fry

Thai higher education has a long history dating back to the 19th century. Its great modernizer, King Chulalongkorn the Great, was visionary in realizing the importance of expanding education to modernize his kingdom and avoid Western colonization. Thailand was the only country in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized. The country’s first formal institution of higher education, Chulalongkorn University, was established in 1917, named in honor of this visionary king. Since that time, Thai higher education has evolved in diverse ways. Key trends have been (a) massification, (b) privatization, (c) diversification, and (d) internationalization. Massification began in the 1960s with the opening of universities in each of Thailand’s major regions. In the 1970s, two open universities with huge enrollments were established. One of those, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU), was a university without walls, serving students throughout the Kingdom. Then Thailand’s teacher training colleges became a large system of comprehensive Rajabhat Universities (38 universities, across every region of the nation). In 1969, authority was granted for private universities to be established, and over the past decades there has been a proliferation of such institutions (now totaling 71). Thailand’s system of higher education is highly diverse, with many different genres of institutions under 12 different ministries and agencies. Another important trend is internationalization, with a dramatic growth in the number of international programs and students during the period 2000-2020. Major reforms of higher education have been primarily structural in nature. In 2003, the Ministry of University Affairs merged with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to become one of its five major commissions, the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC). Then in 2019, OHEC was moved out of the MOE to become part of a new Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI). As the nation moves into the decade of the 2020s, Thai higher education faces major challenges. The most critical is declining enrollments, primarily the result of Thailand’s great success in reducing its fertility rate. With the dramatic growth in higher education institutions, there are simply inadequate numbers of Thai students to fill available spots. A second related issue is the problem of the quality of Thai higher education. Reflective of this problem is the failure of any Thai higher education institutions to be highly ranked in international systems. Many of Thailand’s best students choose to study overseas. Another major issue is funding, with problems related to the ways funds are spent and the low pay of university professors. Also related to the funding issue is Thailand’s low ranking on how much it spends on research and development. This important area receives inadequate priority, though there were significant improvements in 2018 and 2019. There are also curricular issues in terms of what students should be taught and how, as well as concerns that Thai students are not being adequately prepared for the new digital 4.0 knowledge economy. In 2021, Thailand is mired in a “middle-income trap,” and to move beyond that, it is imperative that Thailand improve the quality, equity, and efficiency of its higher education system.

Article

Hongyu Wang and Jo Flory

Curriculum in a third space has become an important theory in the field of curriculum studies in the postcolonial and postmodern context, in which new approaches to social and cultural differences in education have been developed. Curriculum and education in the early 21st century face the challenging tasks of responding in a time of uncertainty, complexity, paradoxes, and crisis: How do educators navigate the central relationship between the knower and the known while both are destabilized in a postmodern condition? What are curricular responses to the issue of identity, difference, and power relationships at schools in order to carve out alternative pathways beyond dualistic either/or thinking? How can differences and tensions be transformed into productive sites for curriculum and pedagogical creativity? The notion of the third space characterized by the alterity of psychical and social difference, the necessity for cultural translation, and the creativity of dynamic hybridity, addresses such critical questions. Curriculum in a third space embraces creative tensionality, decentering and estrangement, and making passages in the midst of hybridity. Translating between the planned curriculum and experienced curriculum mobilizes the highly contested site of identity, difference, and community into an ongoing process of attending to the language of the (maternal) other, building connections between the human subject and the academic subject, and nurturing a curriculum community that welcomes the stranger. As the notion of a third space is often formulated in intercultural, transnational, and global situations, internationalizing curriculum studies becomes a movement of differentiating and passaging within, between, and among the individual, the local, the national, and the global in a third space. Aligned with such a vision of curriculum, a pedagogy of a third space is also set in motion by hybrid resistance, openness to displacement, and fluid interdisciplinary collaboration. Pedagogies in specific subject areas open up third possibilities through building dynamic relationships between school knowledge and home experiences, transforming pedagogical relationships, and navigating blended classrooms of face-to-face and digital interactions.