Term Paper: Education System Dr. Piper Outlines

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Education System

Dr. Piper outlines some extremely cogent views on the nature and demands of contemporary education. Her emphasis is on a broad focus which integrates and assimilates different views and cultural outlooks. Dr. Piper stresses throughout the paper that a holistic approach to education is the antidote to the creeping threat of terrorism and fear which she sees as a product of misunderstanding and ignorance.

Education is, in essence, about tolerance and understanding. It certainly true that the view of education that she delineates has become a necessity in today's world if we are to succeed in avoiding an escalation of global misunderstanding and conflict. Furthermore she reiterates that the world has become smaller and countries can no longer afford to hide behind geographical distance or remoteness.

The age of mega-terror that began three years ago on September 11, 2001 with an attack on the World Trade Centre, has moved on to Middle School No. 1 in Beslan, Russia. The murder of innocent children, coupled with events such as the spread of the SARS virus, and the Iraq War, all have underlined the fact that we are not isolated from world events that occur in far-off regions of the globe.

This is an important aspect as the economic, technological and political factors have all reduced the distance between culture and nationalities. Marshall McLuhan originally came up with the well-known term "global village" in the early 1960s"; the popular perception that "the world is becoming a smaller place" has been pressed upon our consciousness through advances in transportation, telecommunication and information technologies." (Leith, T.)

Secondly, Dr. Piper places the onus on institutions of higher education, universities in particular, to provide an essential part of the solution to combat the problem of incipient world disorder and conflict through lack of communication.

Our goal must be to educate future global citizens who see themselves not simply as citizens of a local region but also as human beings bound to all other human beings by ties of common concern and mutual understanding.

She goes on to explain this concept further in the ideal of "global citizenship."

Lester Pearson, in the 1950s, warned that humans were moving into an age when different civilizations will have to learn to live side by side in peaceful interchange, learning from each other, studying each others history and ideals and art and culture, mutually enriching each others lives.

The alternative, she states is something too horrible to contemplate and will result in "tension, clash, and catastrophe." agree fully with her assessment of the problem. However, it is the section in which she discusses the solution from a national and cultural point-of-view that I find slightly ambiguous. She mentions that a cardinal part of the process of education in terms of a global identity would be the focus would be on "...defining our Canadian identity."

We must look to Canadian literature, history, political science and demography; Canadian film, theatre and music; Canadian sociology, geography, and aboriginal studies, if we are to define a Canadian identity.

This seems, at least on the surface, to be at odds with the intention of a multi and intercultural approach to understanding the demands of contemporary education. This is more a question and concern than a direct criticism. She qualifies her insistence on cultural and national identity however and suggests that it is important to think beyond Canadian borders. The logic that she offers is that identifying and developing a strong Canadian cultural identity will allow or facilitate a better exchange of important ideas and views across country and national barriers. On the one hand, this makes perfect sense in that by establishing a strong identity one has something valuable to share with others. On the other hand, the danger is that this might entrench and cement nationalistic divisions, which is the very aspect that she is working against in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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