23 SES 03 B, Globalization, Europeanization and Education (Part 1)
Paper Session: to be continued in 23 SES 04 B, 23 SES 05 B
As Marginson (2011: 395) points out, “many global subjects – whether individuals, higher education systems or whole national systems – are now mobile within the circuits of knowledge; and all travel in the virtual sense. This continually multiplies visions, strategies, global connections and activities”. This applies perfectly to the situation in Kazakhstan, where a youthful cadre of globally educated individuals, headed by a 39-year old Minister of Education and Science, is taking the lead in reforming education in a way that is anything but incremental. The multiplying of visions, strategies, global connections and activities occurs at the national and individual levels with breathtaking dynamism, pushing the higher education system forward as a global subject, willing or unwilling, for better or worse.
In the same chapter, Marginson (2011: 394-395) poses three questions which form the basis of this paper:
- How do global subjects conceive [the strategic] setting and position themselves within it?
- What creates the scope for and limits of action?
- How do changing and self-changing global subjects navigate the global setting?
In terms of territorial strategic setting, Kazakhstan has found itself in many different settings over the past century, emerging as an independent, multi-ethnic, multilingual country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, post-Soviet and Muslim. Landlocked between Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistanand Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan is home to a population of 16 million in the 9th largest country in the world. In terms of global self-positioning in recent years, the two most significant initiatives may be the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia in 2010, which is intended to be a precursor to a Eurasian Economic Union, and accession as a full member to the Bologna Process in 2010. The latter currently has a much greater impact on higher education than the former, leading to a strong emphasis on the Europeanization of higher education institutions, but both are significant politically. Within the higher education system, large-scale reforms are underway to accord greater autonomy to universities, and there is also a strong emphasis on internationalization. These are two of the issues that were recommended as areas for improvement in an OECD/World Bank report published in 2007 (OECD and The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank 2007: 203)
Within this context, it is interesting to address the questions posed above by Marginson, in order to investigate how the global strategic setting of higher education is interpreted and negotiated by those who are leading the process of national positioning, what the competing agendas are and why, how different priorities are navigated, and how this impacts higher education policy in Kazakhstan. In order to explore these issues, this paper combines policy analysis with a series of interviews with senior policy makers and advisors, exploring their interpretations, views and strategies in relation to the Europeanization of higher education within the politics of globalization.
This paper is presented within the context of a larger research project on internationalization of higher education funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan.
Bardach, E. (2012). A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis (4th edition). Los Angeles: SAGE. Kvale, S. & Brinkmann, S. (2009). Interviews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Newby, P. (2010). Research Methods for Education. Harlow: Pearson. Marginson, S. (2011). Strategizing and ordering the global. In R. King, S. Marginson. R. Naidoo (Eds) Handbook on Globalization and Higher Education. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, pp.394-414. OECD and The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank (2007). Reviews of National Policies for Education: Higher Education in Kazakhstan. Paris: OECD Publishing.
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