Cultural Traditions and Education in the Era of Globalization; EDUCATORS SPEAK

Manila Bulletin, January 11, 2003 | Go to article overview

Cultural Traditions and Education in the Era of Globalization; EDUCATORS SPEAK


GLOBALIZATION has become a reality. It describes the interdependency of transportation, distribution, communication, and economic networks across international borders. Consequently, we are getting to be more and more the global village as described by Marshall Macluhan.

This emergent phenomenon of scientific-technological development which is gradually changing the way people learn, teach and interact is what future-thinker Alvin Toffler described in the third wave civilization as being the knowledge or information economy. Also in an ecological sense, the world is experienced as one since the subjective sense of geographical distance is dramatically changed; some even speak of borderless lands and "the end of geography." Basically, globalization indicates a qualitative deepening of the internationalization process, strengthening the functional and weakening the territorial dimension of development. By implication, globalization tends towards the process of global structural transformation and towards a global social system. With optimism, we can say that the world is moving towards an era of global cooperation and integration, an era where progress, equality and well-being of all states is the quintessence of this new world order. As Dr. Young Seek Chouse puts it, it will be "a global human society - one human family and one world community."

With the advent of the new world order where geographic barriers are obliterated amid the triumph of scientific and technological civilization and campaign for global human society, two (2) elemental factors draw serious attention: knowledge, the product of education, and values, the offshoot of cultural traditions. These two shall work not in contradiction but in complementation, hence, must be in a state of balance. That balance need not, however, be a steady state. Quite the contrary, it should constitute a dynamic equilibrium over time.

Philippine cultural traditions: A perspective

Culture is ubiquitous. It covers all areas of national life. It is the invisible force behind the tangibles and observables in a nation. Moreover, it is the social energy that moves the society or nation into action. Very briefly, a perspective of Filipino culture will be discussed to have a quick look at the fabric of the nation's culture, its background, context and direction vis-a-vis the trend of globalization.

The Philippine national culture is rooted in the people, their land, and their experience. From these develop their way of seeing and living, their systems of thought and values, their customs and traditions, their arts and crafts, their problems and their triumphs, that which they dream of and aspire for, and ultimately the national culture that they recognize in consensus and commitment.

Filipino culture was formed in our land by our people, through the chapters and struggle of our history.

All these components - ethnic, folk and popular cultures - are the variagated foundation for a national culture, which to some analysts is "an emergent national culture" - ethnic and folk cultures in the process of becoming national. Unlike other ASEAN nations with homogenous cultures, the Philippines has at least three cultural traditions, which are still being synthesized into one national culture. These three traditions are the indigenous - a Malay-type culture evolved in the villages ruled by Datus whose arts were functional, collective in process and communal orientation; the Spanish colonial - a lowland culture developed in the colony ruled by Spanish overlords which influenced the creation of arts which were Catholic in content, authoritarian in values and European in aesthetic aspirations; and the American colonial - an urban culture from Americans propagated by the media and the schools and characterized by the use of English and modern art forms whose philosophy is individualism and liberalism. Clearly, these traditions represent differing, often conflicting, values, world views and aesthetics, resulting in a painful confusion of identity in the contemporary Filipino. …

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