Globalisation has radically transformed the world in every aspect. But it has especially transformed the world economy which has become increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent. But it also made the world economy increasingly competitive and more knowledge based, especially in the developed western countries including the UK. While blue collar jobs have been decreasing, white collar jobs have been increasing, especially in the service sector. At the moment of writing, almost 80 percent of Britain’s GDP comes from the service sector. As a result, there is an increased demand for highly-educated and highly-skilled labour force. In contrast, work performed by unskilled workers has either been taken over by robots or unskilled workers in the developing countries.
In order to meet the needs of the fundamentally changed economy at both global and local levels, education system needs to adapt to new realities. But besides equipping the students with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the employers’ needs, the students should also be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to recognise and ‘capitalise’ the many opportunities offered by an increasingly global world.
Over the last few decades, the developing countries have started catching up with the developed ones when it comes to education, which is seen as critical to boost economic growth, reduce poverty and other social ills, and increase quality of their people’s life. Encouraged by the United Nations, many countries have pledged to made primary education accessible to all their citizens.
There is still a long way to go when it comes to ensuring universal primary education, however, there has been a major progress in the last couple of decades. And as the population of the developing countries is getting more educated, the developed countries feel compelled to promote higher education not only to prevent high paying white collar jobs from moving overseas but also to stay competitive in the rapidly changing world which is experiencing a major shift to the east.
The UK is one of the best examples of how education, especially high education, can literally generate economic growth. Britain’s higher education institutions add nearly £60 billion to the country’s economy, with approximately 10 percent being generated by foreign students enrolled in British colleges and universities. What is more, earnings of the UK’s higher education institutions are projected to continue to grow in the future, making education an important part of the country’s economy.