Globalisation and Education – Part Four

Russell Haggar

Site Owner

Part One

·        Introduction: The Nature of Globalisation: Summary

·        Globalisation and Education Policies: General

·        Globalisation Political Parties and Ideologies

Part Two

·        Globalisation, Education Policy and Quasi-Marketisation

·        Quasi-Marketisation, Endogenous Privatisation and Exogenous Privatisation

·        Vocational Education

Part Three

·        Globalisation and International Comparisons of Educational Effectiveness: Tests: PISA, TIMMS and PIRLS

Part Four

·        Globalisation, Immigration and Education

·        Education and the Prevent Strategy

·        Coronavirus, The State and Globalisation

Part Five

·       Globalisation and Education Policies: Some Summary Criticisms



·         Globalisation, Immigration and Education

Globalisation has resulted in increased international migration which has had important implications for the UK education system. Economic migrants come to the UK in search of improved living standards; the UK has accepted fairly limited numbers of refugees and asylum seekers; and there has been a large influx of foreign students to study at UK universities.

 The Schools

Increasing numbers of foreign nationals have migrated to the UK and consequently there are many second and third generation children of immigrants who have been born in the UK. Schools must cater both for newly arriving immigrant children who may have limited English Language skills and little understanding of UK culture as well as for the UK- born children of immigrants who are well versed in English language and culture.

Schools do cater for newly arriving immigrant children via the provision of ESOL English classes, and it is to be hoped that they help the children to settle comfortably in the UK and to achieve educational success and that they can also help to foster mutual respect and understanding for different cultures among all pupils. It may be fair to say that schools have had some success in this respect but there have also been powerful criticisms that other cultures receive insufficient respect and that multicultural education in British schools may fail to address adequately the existence of ethnic inequalities in British society.

There are disputes about the extent of racial prejudice and discrimination in the UK. Reports from IPSOS MORI and British Future suggest that the extent of racial prejudice and discrimination has declined over time, but it nevertheless remains substantial in the UK in general and also in UK schools.

It has also been claimed that although recent UK Governments have emphasised their desire to inculcate a  sense of greater social solidarity and although the UK Government’s statement on  “Fundamental British Values” [see below] emphasises the importance of mutual tolerance and respect, in reality   ethnic minority  groups members are being pressurised to integrate into  a traditional British [and White} way of life with insufficient respect for cultural difference and insufficient recognition  of the levels of prejudice and discrimination  that ethnic minority groups might face. Also. some aspects of the Prevent Strategy [ see below] have attracted criticism from spokespersons for the Muslim community and others on the grounds that it is targeted excessively on the Muslim Community and as such encourages Islamophobia.

 Click here and  here for data from IPSOS MORI and British Future respectively for data illustrating long term decline in the extent of racial prejudice and discrimination in the UK.

However, this Guardian article from July 2020  suggests that there has been little improvement in UK race relations in recent years

Also click here for Guardian Podcast on The Shocking Truth of Racism in British Schools

Click here for a Guardian article by Afua Hirsch entitled “We have to avoid “integration becoming another form of racism”.

 Students might also like to refer to the Sewell Report and its supporters and critics but I shall not pursue this debate here.  However perhaps a picture paints a thousand words

Critical comments are sometimes heard that the existence of large numbers of pupils who whom English is an additional language is holding back the progress of other students, but official data do not support this belief.

Firstly, the statistics do show that pupils with English as an additional language have slightly lower attainment levels than First Language English pupils at age 7 years but that this difference no longer exists at age 16. Secondly there is no evidence of a relationship between the proportion of pupils with EAL in a local area and the overall level of pupil attainment in that area.  [ Click the following link for a very detailed statistical analysis of these issues. From International Migration and the Education Sector ONS 2019]

 Also there have occasionally been difficult cultural conflicts as for example over the so-called Trojan Horse Affair, issue of sex education in Birmingham schools. the use of a caricature of Prophet Muhammad in a school in Batley Yorkshire and curriculum and uniform issues at Pimlico Academy.

Students will obviously not be able to refer to the details of these issues under examination conditions but if required further background information can be found via the following links.



Some additional details on the above issues

  • The Trojan Horse Affair involved claims that a group of conservative Muslims were attempting to take over several Birmingham schools. These claims were investigated and found to be inaccurate but there did appear to be a limited amount of evidence that teaching in some of these schools was in some respects inappropriate. This issue attracted enormous discussion as illustrated by the following list of links. Click here for a BBC time line and here  for  a detailed Guardian analysis. You may use the subsequent links if you are interested to study the issue in more detail.   
  • For further information on the Trojan Horse Affair Click here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here .
  • Click here and here for BBC coverage of the issue of sex education in Birmingham schools.
  •  Click here and here  for the Batley school issue
  • Click here for the Pimlico Academy protests
  • Click here for schools and the Israel- Palestine situation.



 Higher Education

According to data [January 2022]  from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency 605,130 international students were  enrolled on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK in 2020/21  and this represented 22%  of all higher education enrolments in that  year.

 Although foreign students pay fees which are 2-3 times greater than the fees paid by domestic UK students, they obviously recognise the potential economic value of qualifications gained especially from high status UK universities. Meanwhile UK universities themselves operate under considerable financial constraints: they now receive significant proportions of their revenue from the tuition fees paid by UK students. but the higher fees paid by foreign students can be used to cross-subsidise the tuition costs of domestic students. Furthermore, the universities are also keen to attract the most talented foreign student and claim that the increasingly multicultural university environment so created will have benefits for all students irrespective of nationality. Some universities have also introduced "Pre-U" courses to attract even more foreign students and established campuses abroad to further increases revenues from abroad. 

Click here for recent data on foreign students in the UK.

However, it has also been argued that this large influx of foreign university students can create social tensions. It is claimed that domestic students are not always welcoming and that foreign students themselves may find that the transition to a different culture can be difficult meaning that they choose to socialise mainly with each other rather than with domestic students whose cultural pursuits do not necessarily appeal.

 It has been claimed too that in some cases when universities are heavily financially dependent upon the tuition fees paid by foreign students there may be dangers that the universities 'academic autonomy and commitment to freedom of speech may be jeopardised. For example, it has recently been argued that for these reasons universities have sometimes been apprehensive of voicing criticisms of the Chinese Government and may have failed to safeguard adequately Hong Kong students who have come into conflict with students for mainland China.

Click here for international migration and the education sector 

 Click here for Branwen Jeffries’ Chinese students in the UK and here for information on the Uighurs

Click here for Is University racist?

Click here for more on Internet course for Chinese students

The emergence of the Coronavirus has presented very serious problems for UK universities. Face to face teaching has been discontinued in many subjects and students are unhappy [see  here ] with paying high tuition fees for online tuition however hard lecturers try to provide top class resources. It has seemed likely that in the immediate future fewer domestic and foreign students would apply to UK universities leading to possible discontinuation of some courses, teacher redundancies and in extreme cases, possible closure of universities. The quasi-marketisation of Higher Education has made UK universities highly dependent on student numbers and in particular dependent on foreign students paying higher tuition fees. The process of globalisation has helped to finance Higher Education. but the Coronavirus has introduced considerable instability into the financing of Higher Education.

  Click here for  a BBC item on Universities and Coronavirus , here for an article from the Times Higher Education Supplement and here for  BBC radio 4 programme on this issue.

However, in the event student enrolments for HE from UK 18 year olds increased in September 2021 and total HE student enrolments from UK and Foreign students combined declined only slightly. Click here for BBC information from September 2021, Thus, although the Coronavirus has generated significant problems for the HE sector, student enrolments have been more stable, for the time being, than was initially feared. You may also click here for a Parliament Research Briefing [December 2021] which provides more detailed data on HE applications and enrolments in 2020 and 2021

The rebalancing in government policy on relation to Further and Higher Education.

Following the General Election of 2017 as a result of which the Conservatives were returned as a Minority Government supported by the D.U.P. Prime Minister Theresa May announced the setting up of the Post 18 Education and Funding Higher Education under the chairmanship of Philip Augur and in its Report published in May 2019 the Committee recommended the reduction of university tuition fees to £7500 p.a.  but also emphasised the need for significant reforms and increased funding of Further Education which, the Report suggested, could contribute significantly to the reduction in the UK’s skills gap.

The reduction in university tuition fees was not implemented [although they were frozen at £9250 p.a. in January 2021] but as she left office Theresa May did emphasise the importance of the reform of Further Education as did Boris Johnson on taking up the role of Prime Minister. Damien Hinds was soon   replaced as Education Secretary by Gavin Williamson who announced in July 2020 that the 50% target for the entrance of young people to Higher Education [ first announced by Tony Blair in1999] was to be abolished because in Williamson’s view too many graduates had been educated for jobs which were unavailable while non-entrants to university were being denied the opportunity to train for the technology- based occupations where more jobs were becoming available. Britain, he said, should seek to learn from the German education system which was far more effective in training technologically skilled workers. Click here and here for the scrapping of the 50% HE target.  This was followed by a Whitepaper published in January 2021 and entitled   Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth.

Now the Globalisation process was not generating as many graduate jobs as had been hoped and comparison with the German Education system led the Secretary of State for Education to believe that a major expansion of Further Education rather than continued expansion of Higher Education was necessary. However perhaps it is likely that any restriction of Higher Education is likely to fall upon Arts and Humanities subjects rather than on STEM subjects and also less likely to fall on the more prestigious universities.

 The White Paper is long and complex and has attracted equally detailed analysis. I shall not pursue these technicalities here  but interested students may click here and here for further information. We must also wait and see whether there will be any change of emphasis under the new Secretary of State Nadhim Zahawi.


  Education and the Prevent Strategy

It is a prime responsibility of governments to safeguard national security against internal and external threats. However. it is claimed that in some cases the policies which governments have adopted to maintain national security have excessively infringed individual liberty although governments themselves have claimed that such infringements, although unfortunate, are entirely necessary to protect national security.

The UK Counter-Terrorism Strategy, entitled Contest, was initially developed in 2003 and revised subsequently in 2009, 2011 and 2018. It contains four elements: Prevent, Pursue. Protect and Prepare. This involved preventing radicalisation, pursuing suspects, protecting the public through security measures and preparing to mitigate the impact of actual attacks.

 Schools, colleges, and universities are heavily involved in the Prevent aspect of the overall Contest strategy. It is specified under the terms of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act of 2015 that all schools, childcare providers, colleges, and universities have a Prevent Duty to “have due regard to the need to protect the population from being drawn into terrorism.” This is known as the Prevent Duty. It is hoped that education institutions will help to achieve this objective partly by the inculcation of “Fundamental; British Values” and partly by their involvement in the Channel programme.

Fundamental British Values were defined by the Coalition Government in 2011 as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Schools initially were required to “respect” these values Act but following further controversies arising out of the so-called Trojan Horse Affair the DFE published   further guidance in 2014 which now charged schools with a duty to “actively promote” these values. Guidance from the DFE stated that these issues could be discussed via existing subject curricula, in PSHE and Citizenship classes and in assemblies and that the setting up of students’ Schools Councils could foster students’ interest in democratic principles. It was specified also that OFSTED inspections would consider schools’ effectiveness in meeting this criterion. Click here for further information.

Also, under the terms of the 2015 Act schools and childcare providers "must be able to identify children at risk of radicalisation and understand "when it is appropriate to write a referral to the Channel Programme" which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

We may conclude that globalisation has served to increase the threat of global terrorism and that this has affected the education system via the development of the Prevent Strategy. The Prevent Strategy and the related notion of “Fundamental British Values” have provoked some controversy but it may well be that you do not have time to discuss these controversies in your examinations. However, some additional information is provided below.

Fundamental British Values and the Prevent Duty: Some Further Information

Regarding Fundamental British Values, it has been agreed that such values are indeed desirable values to be upheld but argued that these might better be described as Universal values and that the categorisation of these values as British may mean that in practice they are associated most clearly with whiteness and that this could serve to marginalise and alienate non-white students. It has also been argued that in practice teachers may have found it difficult to address some of the controversies surrounding these values and have often engaged with them in a superficial way which has side-lined more searching arguments around the nature of democracy, freedom and tolerance. Click here for Thinking Allowed on Citizenship. The second part of the programme covers Fundamental British Values

Click here and Here and here   and here  for more information on Fundamental British Values

It has also been argued that fears of referral to the Channel Programme may have led some mainly Muslim students to be unwilling to speak freely in schools, colleges and universities. Consequently, some critics of Prevent argue that the strategy may actually discourage full discussion of controversial issues in educational settings and make it more rather than less likely that students will be easier targets for extremist propaganda.

There have also been concerns that there has been a far greater emphasis on the dangers of Islamic extremism that Far Right extremism, and it has been noted that in recent years Extinction Rebellion was temporarily flagged up within the Prevent Programme as an “extreme ideology”. potential terrorist organisation.

However, supporters of the Prevent Strategy have argued that it has reduced threats of deradicalization and that in recent years there has been a greater emphasis on the dangers of Far Right Extremism. This was certainly the case in 2019

Click here for a brief explanation of Prevent [BBC 2017] and Click here for Home Office fact sheet [2019]

Click here for a BBC News Night discussion of the Prevent Programme [2019]. *** Most useful

This item provides a brief explanation of the nature and scope of the Channel Programme in 2017 coupled with some discussion of arguments critical and in support of the Prevent Programme. At the time the Conservative Government had announced a review of the Prevent Strategy and Lord Carlile had been appointed to chair the review but, in the event, he was obliged to resign from this position.

In an article for the Financial Times  Helen Warrell points out that critics including some teachers, human rights lawyers and representatives of the Muslim Community argue that well- meaning public officials are encouraged to "look for a threat where none exists"; that such state- wide surveillance is not only discriminatory but counterproductive" ; that "Prevent's deradicalization programmes simply do not work"; that mismanagement of the case of Ahmed Hasan  the 18 year old Iraqi  who planned the unexploded bomb on the Parson's Green Tube points to the inadequacies of the Prevent Programme and that the Programme has given insufficient emphasis to the growth of Far Right extremism."  Further criticism of the management of potential terrorist threats arose as a result of the London Bridge Terror attack in 2019.  See also  here .

There were ongoing arguments in favour and in support of the Prevent Strategy and in 2021 the Government appointed Sir William Shawcross as Chairman of a Review Panel but once again his appointment was heavily criticised by various Civil Rights groups who have criticised the Prevent Strategy and boycotted the Review which has nevertheless been but defended by Government Police spokespersons

 Click Here and here for boycotts of the reviews of Prevent

Click here  for view of the UK’s anti-terror chief

Click here for the referral to Prevent a of 4 year- old boy

Click here for another example of an inappropriate referral

  Click here Guardian Prevent Strategy page which has reported several significant issues in the last few months


  • Coronavirus, The State and Globalisation

The globalisation process has accelerated the transmission of the Coronavirus which has had major effects on the UK education system.

Schools, colleges, and universities have been closed temporarily and students have also had to self-isolate if they have contracted the virus or come in contact with others who have contracted the virus. In each case a range of teaching resources have been provided via the internet.  It should of course be remembered that although schools were “closed” they did remain open, even during school holidays for vulnerable children and children of key workers. Click here for a BBC item on the education situation at the time of lock down in January 2021. Further problems arose in June and July when   very large numbers of pupils were obliged to self-isolate due to contacts with infected people. Click here for information.

 It has been suggested that the compensatory education resources provided have been of variable quality and that for a variety of reasons socially disadvantaged students have found it more difficult than more affluent students to make progress with their education while in social isolated. For example, their access to the internet may be more limited and/or expensive and their overall home environment less conducive to further study. Click here for covid and educational inequality

GCSE and GCE Advanced Level examinations were cancelled in 2020 and 2021. In 2020   the original awards of grades via a combination on teacher assessments and modifications based on an OFQUAL algorithm were cancelled amid great controversy and replaced by grades based entirely on teacher assessments. 2021 grades are to be awarded based on complex process of teacher assessment. Click here and  Click here and here for information on the process of grade determination 2021

You may also click here for an excellent article by Professor Lee Elliot Major in which he outlines the ways in which the pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities of educational opportunity which have always existed within the UK education system. This article could provide a very useful basis for class discussion. Professor Major’s concerns are reiterated in a recent Sutton Trust Report as reported in this item from the BBC. Click here for latest Sutton trust report

It has been abundantly clear that new government policies would be necessary to help pupils to catch up for the loss of time in school due to the pandemic and the Government dis appoint Sir Kevan Collins to act as  education recovery commissioner for England but it was not long before he resigned due to his dissatisfaction with the Government’s current plans for education recovery.

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