Globalization of science education: Comment and a commentary§

Authors

  • Peter J. Fensham

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia
    • School of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia.
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  • Peter Fensham is an Emeritus Professor of Monash University and Adjunct Professor at QUT. He is best known for his paper Science for All in 1985 and his subsequent efforts to make that vision a reality.

  • NARST gave him its Distinguished Researcher Award in 1998.

  • §

    His work overseas in developed and developing countries was recognized by ICASE through its Distinguished Service Award. He was an adviser for the OECD's PISA project from 1998 to 2008, In 2008 he prepared for UNESCO a report involving the policy implications of eleven developments in science education.

Abstract

The globalized nature of modern society has generated a number of pressures that impact internationally on countries' policies and practices of science education. Among these pressures are key issues of health and environment confronting global science, global economic control through multi-national capitalism, comparative and competitive international testing of student science achievement, and the desire for more humane and secure international society. These are not all one-way pressures and there is evidence of both more conformity in the intentions and practices of science education and of a greater appreciation of how cultural differences, and the needs of students as future citizens can be met. Hence while a case for economic and competitive subservience of science education can be made, the evidence for such narrowing is countered by new initiatives that seek to broaden its vision and practices. The research community of science education has certainly widened internationally and this generates many healthy exchanges, although cultural styles of education other than Western ones are still insufficiently recognized. The dominance of English language within these research exchanges is, however, causing as many problems as it solves. Science education, like education as a whole, is a strongly cultural phenomenon, and this provides a healthy and robust buffer to the more negative effects of globalization. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Inc. J Res Sci Teach 48: 698–709, 2011

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