Globalization and Educational Rights: An Intercivilizational Analysis

Globalization and Educational Rights: An Intercivilizational Analysis

Globalization and Educational Rights: An Intercivilizational Analysis

Globalization and Educational Rights: An Intercivilizational Analysis

Synopsis

This is the first book to explore the meaning of equality and freedom of education in a global context and their relationship to the universal right to education. It also proposes evaluating school systems according to their achievement of equality and freedom. Education in the 21st century is widely viewed as a necessary condition for the promotion of human welfare, and thus identified as a basic human right. Educational rights are included in many national constitutions written since the global spread of human rights ideas after World War II. But as a global idea, the meaning of educational rights varies between civilizations. In this book, which builds on the concept of the universal right to education set forth in Spring's The Universal Right to Education: Justification, Definition, and Guidelines, his intercivilizational analysis of educational rights focuses on four of the world's major civilizations: Confucian, Islamic, Western, and Hindu. Spring begins by considering educational rights as part of the global flow of ideas and the global culture of schooling. He also considers the tension this generates within different civilizational traditions. Next, he proceeds to: *examine the meaning of educational rights in the Confucian tradition, in the recent history of China, and in the Chinese Constitution; *look at educational rights in the context of Islamic civilization and as presented in the constitutions of Islamic countries, including an analysis of the sharp contrast between the religious orientation of Islamic educational rights and those of China and the West; *explore the problems created by the Western natural rights tradition and the eventual acceptance of educational rights as represented in European constitutions, with a focus on the development and prominence given in the West to the relationship between schooling and equality of opportunity; and, *investigate the effect of global culture on India and the blend of Western and Hindu ideas in the Indian constitution, highlighting the obstacles to fulfillment of educational rights created by centuries of discrimination against women and lower castes. In his conclusion, Spring presents an educational rights statement based on his intercivilizational analysis and his examination of national constitutions. This statement is intended to serve as a model for the inclusion of educational rights in national constitutions.

Excerpt

I became interested in an intercivilizational approach to educational rights while reading the reaction of Asian scholars to Western concerns about human rights violations. As these scholars pointed out, Western history is filled with horror stories of inquisitions, genocide, and the rape of colonial lands. The West is hardly a model for the safeguarding of human rights. Then I began to think about the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an international project and not simply a Western project. The “natural rights” tradition of the West considered rights to have originated from a lost state of nature. On the other hand, “human rights” are considered the necessary conditions for promoting human welfare. Focusing on human welfare broadens the scope of rights doctrines from “natural rights” to rights that are considered essential for human existence. The Western natural rights tradition never made education a right. In contrast, education in the 20th century is considered by most national constitutions a necessary condition for the promotion of human welfare and, therefore, is identified as a right. As a global idea, the meaning of educational rights varies between civilizations. In this book, my intercivilizational analysis of educational rights includes some of the world's major civilizations, namely Confucian, Islamic, Western, and Hindu.

Educational rights are included in national constitutions written since the global spread of human rights ideas after World War II. Most European constitutions now include an article on educational rights in contrast with the continued neglect of educational rights in the United States constitution. The constitutions of China, India, and all Islamic countries contain statements on educational rights. International human rights statements, including the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights, include educational rights.

However, there are civilizational differences over the meaning of educational rights. In the book's first chapter, I consider educational rights as part of the global flow of ideas and the global culture of schooling, and the tension this creates with different civilizational . . .

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