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Unit information: Globalisation and Education in 2020/21

Unit name Globalisation and Education
Unit code EDUC30032
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Sands
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will explore how nation states are being challenged as the primary site for organising education by complex global dynamics that are changing how education is governed. Students will consider how different global actors variously conceptualise education as a means of nation-building, as a human right, as contributing to economic and social development, as an area for trade, and as a means of international security. Using examples from across different educational levels, including basic education, adult literacy, vocational education and higher education, they will analyse the mechanisms through which international, regional organisations, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, commercial firms and counterhegemonic movements, attempt to mediate education at the global level. Through analysis of specific cases, students will appreciate how globalising ideas, discourses and instruments may be interpreted and implemented differently in specific contexts and over time.

The aims of the unit are to enable students to:

  • develop knowledge and critical understanding of the changing nature of global processes in education and the main global ideas influencing education in different contexts;
  • identify the main actors in the global governance of education including the role that nations themselves play in promoting global governance of education systems;
  • appreciate different approaches to global studies of education and synthesise findings from across research studies that identify the influence of global ideas and instruments, and contextual differences in their interpretation and implementation;
  • apply key theoretical ideas to contemporary debates on education and globalisation, and consider the implications they have for social justice across national borders.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. discuss key ideas and actors in the global governance of education and the mechanisms through which they influence education systems, through writing and presentation;
  2. source studies of globalisation and education research, differentiating between research approaches, to analyse influences and their local interpretations and impacts;
  3. apply insights from research and academic debate to contemporary issues in education globally.

Teaching details

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including seminars, lectures, reading and discussions.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment:ILO 1-3 :group slide presentation which introduces a selected global actor and explains the key ideas and methods underpinning their approach to influencing education at the global level.

Summative assessment:
ILO 1-3: 3,000 word essay, based on the presentation and additional research (100%)'

Reading and References

Ball, S. (2012) Global Education Inc. London and New York: Routledge.

Brown, P., Lauder, H. and Ashton, D. (2011) The Global Auction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Global Governance, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Dale, R. and Robertson, S. (2014) Global education policy, in N. Yeates (ed) Global Social Policy, Bristol: Policy Press. pp. 201-228.

Jones, P. and Coleman, D., (2005) The United Nations and Education: Multilateralism, Development and Education, London and New York: Routledge.

Mundy, K. (1998) Educational Multilateralism in a Changing World (dis)order, Comparative Education Review, 42 (2), 448-78.

Robertson, S., Mundy, K., Verger, A., and Meneshy, F. (2013) Public Private Partnerships: New Modes of Global Governance