Globalisation, the growing integration of economies and societies around the world, has been one of the most hotly debated topics in international economics over the past few years. Rapid growth and poverty reduction in China, India, and other countries that were poor 20 years ago, has been a positive aspect of globalisation. But globalisation has also generated significant international opposition over concerns that it has increased inequality and environmental degradation.

Multinational companies responsible for globalisation are as diverse in their operations as Coca-Cola and offshore oil technology, but they have only been able to achieve their globalisation through the use of information systems.  Originally this was confined to just a few large companies with mainframe computers in North American and European cities.  Their names would be familiar to most of you and you can probably think of several who advertise on TV now.

Nowadays smaller, specialised companies can also have a global presence through the use of IT.  They cannot afford mainframe computers, but they can afford a computer and modem at every location and even satellite technology where phone lines don’t exist.  They can afford their own private web space and with specialist software they can publish memos, reports, etc., onto areas of their web, password-protected so only the employees with the correct access see what is meant for them.  There is actually a company based in Aberdeen, with only about 13,000 employees based in around 80 countries, running just that sort of technology, administering their core business of oil supply and ancillary operations such as personnel management.

ICT and global citizenship

The study of citizenship in schools and colleges gives students the knowledge, skills and understanding to play an effective role in society at local, national and international levels. It helps them to become informed, thoughtful and responsible citizens who are aware of their duties and rights. It promotes their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, making them more self-confident and responsible both in and beyond the classroom. It encourages them to play a helpful part in the life of their schools, neighbourhoods, communities and the wider world.

Global citizenship is generally thought of as awareness of global issues such as environment, commerce, politics and society in general.  If a student is studying citizenship then the use of the Internet means that information and discussion papers can be found and studied very easily.

It is possible to find newsgroups about a wide range of topics in relation to the citizenship topics mentioned and in these serious newsgroups the discussion is usually interesting and informed and contributors are likely to use their own identities.

Many UK schools and colleges have e-mail links with schools abroad, where many overseas students want to improve their English and are happy to discuss in English issues that help improve our and their understanding of citizenship.




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