Globalization of Cooperative
Education: Adoption of Borderless Systems
The great advances in science and technology
during the last decades of the 20th century especially in the fields of
transportation technology, telecommunication and information technology
and computation, have shrunk the Earth and blurred political and geographical
boundaries between nations. The Earth has become one global community.
Globalization has evolved as a very strong force of change that allowed
a freer flow of capital, resources, labor, products, and services as well
as information and knowledge. Globalization has impacted on every aspect
of human life and environment on even developing countries.
Globalization has fostered a very fast rate
of change to which humans must adapt and develop strategies for adoption
of changes in order to survive and prosper in this new global society.
In this new learning and knowledge-based society, citizens must have global
skills and competencies as well as universal ethos and value systems that
would be required to meet the challenges of the globalized 21st century.
To acquire such flexibility in adopting to change, the education must
be a continuing one and must be available anywhere and anytime and on
any subject needed by the individual. Hence, the new system of education
must be lifelong and borderless.
Universities and other traditional institutions
of education must therefore also change and adopt to new conditions and
societal needs. They will no longer have the monopoly of producing and
transmitting information and knowledge. Some industries can also become
providers and source of information and knowledge. Students can access
information independently through Internet anytime and anywhere. Thus,
to be able to be competitive, universities must be able to take advantage
of all modern technologies in providing new learning systems and environment.
Learning must be both "real" and "virtual" and hence
More than ever, the learners must be
exposed to the actual world of work both locally and internationally.
Cooperative education or work integrated education is therefore
most relevant and needed in the new schemes of education for the
21st century. Cooperative education must also be globalized so that
experiences from different countries can be available to students
either by real experience or virtually. New and stronger paradigms
of collaboration between the three pillars of cooperative education–the
education institutions, the industries and private sectors as well
as the government–must therefore be promoted to further enhance
cooperative education in the globalized society.
Before the 1997 Asian economic crisis,
there were great hopes and predictions of the Asia-Pacific region
being the center for economic growth and development in the 21st
Century. The economic crisis has taught the Asian countries among
others, of the need for trained manpower who can handle the socio-economic
and political uncertainties as well as the scientific and technological
advances. Thus, more than ever, high quality on the job training
in industries and private sectors in all fields is much needed of
students. Close linkages between universities, industries/private
sectors and governments in training the needed manpower for the
development of the Asia-Pacific region is one possible strategy
for still attaining the dream of a prosperous Asia-Pacific region.
Unfortunately, there is still great
inequality in the availability of and accessibility to new technologies
between the North and South and within the population among countries
of the South. It is therefore through stronger and broader networking
and cooperation between the three pillars of cooperative education–the
universities, industries and governments–that this goal could be
achieved. The network must develop appropriate systems of governance,
sharing of knowledge and resources as well as stable means of financing
the cooperative educational activities. This should narrow the gap
between the North and South and promote global sustainable development
to better global environment.
Thus, with globalization of cooperative
education, WACE leadership, more than ever, must be strengthened.
Equally important is a more integrated activity of the various national
and regional cooperative education associations. With the leadership
of WACE, new paradigms of cooperation using information and communication
technologies could be developed for a more integrated and sustainable
way of collaboration rather than just the annual or biennial meetings.
Common innovative projects answering societal needs must be initiated
under a restructured or reengineered organization and system of
governance and financial scheme.
It is hoped that this 12th WACE Conference
could address most of the above mentioned issues and challenges
and that concrete actions could be taken by WACE and its members
to achieve a more efficient and effective global cooperative education.