||As Pike and Selby state in "The Global Classroom", the "scars of the pursuit of wealth are now evident in barren landscapes of cleared forests and the shanty towns that encircle the world's largest cities" (2000, p.165). Whether it is rising levels of global inequality, imbalances of consumption, the foreign debt crisis, failures to resolve unfair trade or the exploitation of people and the environment, it has become increasingly difficult to deny that the world remains distant from achieving minimum levels of social justice and peace.
The need for global education, to analyze the historical context of our present reality, has never been more pressing as the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen despite the efforts and energies of governments and international development agencies. How is it possible that following decades of development we still have more then 2.6 billion people living without proper sanitation and 1 billion without access to safe drinking water? We must reevaluate our perspectives of development, and acknowledge that our assumptions are rooted in "the industrialized West, and do not take into account any limitations or flaws" (Choules, 2007, p.470) As a global educator in the North this is of grave concern. If we are engaging in social justice, global, development or peace education, we must consider our role in exploring, exposing, or maintaining these assumptions, and how this role has hindered the emergence of a more equitable world. Furthermore, how do we claim to be the experts in the transformation of these realities when "what we call development in the Northern Hemisphere is the major source of underdevelopment in the South" (Choules, 2007, p.474)
Typically, global education has been developed from the perspective of the Global North assuming that the world should develop in its image. Global education that will bring about social justice may rely on our willingness in the Global North to include the otherness of social experience from the Global South, into dominating Northern based theories (Weber, 2007). Perhaps it is time to emerge from our assumptions and history and imagine a new vision of development, and that this emancipation might come as we in the Global North consider, possibly for the first time, to the voices of the Global South.
In this presentation a proposal will be advanced to investigate the voices of the Global South to assess their perspective on global education in the West.
Choules, K., (2007). Social Change Education: Context Matters, Adult Education Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 2, 159-176.
Pike, G. and Selby, D. (2000). In the Global Classroom 2, Toronto: Pippin Publishing.
Weber, E. (2007). Globalization, "Glocal" Development, and Teachers' Work: A Research Agenda, Review of Educational Research, Vol. 77, No. 3, 279-309.