I have just returned from a tour of Ireland and Spain and have felt first hand the global economic crisis which we are all faced with. The people in these countries are in despair over their future and they can only surmise that their country’s monetary stability in time will improve. The ABC’s Four Corner’s ‘Dicing with Debt’ episode outlines the issues faced, particularly by Ireland.
I had a chance to meet up with a former colleague in Dublin last week. She works for the Department of Education for the Republic of Ireland. She spoke to me about the cut-backs in Ireland relating to education, which included; increased numbers of pupils per teacher, reduction of special education services, amalgamation of school campuses and the closing of smaller rural schools, as well as the reduction in spending on teacher training and pupil resources. Understandably, the government has had to take action to cut expenditure. However, the long-term repercussions on Ireland’s growth as a nation and overall impact on the global business front will be felt hard in the years to come. The same can only be said about Spain and presumably Greece.
Though the unification of these countries into the European Union and the taking on of the Euro as a currency, as well as the deeply seeded corruption within Greece (in particular) have added to the turbulence, it is not necessarily the case in education around the world. Governments understand the need for a paradigm shift in their education practises to better meet the needs of their incumbent economies and to drive them long-term. The following clip encapsulates the need for the ‘shift’.
With the coming of age of China and India as super-nations, the shift political, industrially, militarily and monetarily is beginning to swing their way. China is investing huge sums of money into its education. Their cultural belief has always been that the success of their nation is directly related to the success of their children’s education, and it is now that they are investing heavily into education practises and policies which will set fast their economy for years to come. The enticing wages and packages for experienced teachers, particularly English-speaking teachers, is very attractive to the international educator at present, shifting away from the once profitable Dubai and Singapore markets.
America has been hit hard by the recession and they too have felt the squeeze on their education systems throughout the states. The New York Times, in an article titled ‘Panel Says Schools’ Failings could threaten Economy and National Security’, stated that;
“The dominant power of the 21st century will depend on human capital…The failure to produce that capital will undermine American security.”
In the self titled New York Times article last week; ‘More young Americans are out of high school are also out of work’ the reporter says that;
For this generation of young people, the future looks bleak. Only one in six is working full-time. Three out of five live with their parents or other relatives. A large majority — 73 percent — think they need more education to find a successful career… But among those who graduated after the financial crisis, the numbers are far worse: only 16 percent of the classes of 2009-11 had full-time jobs. An additional 22 percent were working part-time, and most of them wanted full-time work.
The included video in the article goes into more detail over the nations growing youth crisis. America, one of the world’s richest nations is receding economically and if the trend continues, particularly with their educational cut-backs, they will lose their dominance as a super-power in the blink of an eye.
The currency of education in the world today is priceless. The uncertainty of our current climate with the GEC and EU issues has led many educated, right from the college student through to the Generation X and Baby Boomer, to re-evaluate what they want in a career. Financial security is ranking more highly than having a prestigious job, being wealthy, or being a leader in within their community. The dreams to push boundaries and become risk-takers is being squashed by the need for long-term security.
China is securing their long-term future economically and it wont be long before they can become risk-takers on the world stage and begin to dominate monetarily, politically, industrially and eventually militarily.