Seminars (2015-2016)

Explaining the Hegemonic Dominance of the Neoliberal Imaginary of Globalization in Education
Fazal Rizvi, University of Melbourne
22 July 2016, 10.00 – 12.00
The Cube, Block A, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya
Since the historic events of 1989 --which included the fall of the Berlin Wall and the commercialization of the Internet --the processes of globalization have largely been described and explained in neoliberal terms. Indeed, the neoliberal reading of globalization has become part of a popular social imaginary. Most attempts to re-think educational aims and re-structure educational governance around the world are located within this imaginary. Such is the hold of this imaginary that even after the contradictions of neoliberalism became apparent after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) its appeal could not be dislodged. Educational reforms since 2008 have continued to be based on neoliberal assumptions. In this talk, I will discuss how this has become the case and why alternative readings of globalization are so difficult to promote.

About the Speaker 

Fazal Rizvi is a Professor of Global Studies in Education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, as we well as an Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has written extensively on issues of identity and culture in transnational contexts, globalization and education policy and Australia-Asia relations. A collection of his essays is published in: Encountering Education in the Global: Selected Writings of Fazal Rizvi (Routledge 2014). Fazal is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences and a past Editor of the journal, Discourse: Studies in Cultural Politics of Education, and past President of the Australian Association of Research in Education.



Education and Refugees
Richard Towle, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
2 June 2016, 10.30 - 12.00
Cemerlang Room, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya
Education is both a human right in itself and an indispensable means of realising other human rights. From the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the right to education has been repeatedly stressed upon by the United Nations. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) further drive this home with its Goal #4, which is to ensure “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; including the vulnerable, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations”.
Ensuring the provision of education is a core component of UNHCR’s international protection and durable solutions mandate. Like everyone else, refugees value education and place it high on their priorities. It brings together two important disciplines, namely, human rights and human development. Education provides knowledge and skill development that strengthens the capacity of refugees to be agents of social transformation, and is essential to understanding and promoting gender equality and sustainable peaceful coexistence. Access to quality education in Malaysia that builds relevant skills and knowledge enables refugees to live healthy and productive lives. While they reside in Malaysia, they are important assets and skill-based workers who actively participate in, as well as contribute to, the local economy. Education will also enable them to contribute towards post-conflict nation building in the cases of voluntary repatriation and ensure better integration into society in resettlement countries.

About the Speaker

Richard Towle is the Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia. He joined the UNHCR in Hong Kong in the early 1990’s, working in a variety of capacities dealing with the Vietnamese boat people, then moved to the UNHCR London office. He has since held various senior legal roles in the Department of International Protection at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva and has been involved in the development of policies relating to human rights, internally displaced persons, and asylum-migration issues. Prior to being assigned to Malaysia, Mr. Towle was the UNHCR Regional Representative for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, a post he held since 2007. His other UN experience includes a role as Chief of Mission for the UNHCR in Belgrade, Yugoslavia from 2001 to 2003. Mr. Towle, a New Zealander, was also a Member of the New Zealand Refugee Status Appeal Authority from 2005 to 2006. Mr. Towle graduated from Canterbury University in New Zealand with an LLB (Hons). He then went on to pursue an LLM (Dist) from the University of London in the United Kingdom.



Panel discussion on 'Perspectives on Malaysian Education'
27 May 2016, 10.30- 12.00
Cemerlang Room, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya

This discussion will examine the issues surrounding the education system in Malaysia
Guest Panellists


Turning the Tide of University Rankings through Culturally Responsive Research
Chuing Prudence Chou, National Chengchi University
13 May 2016, 10.30 - 12.00 
Cemerlang Room, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya
With the worldwide expansion of higher education during the last two decades, the requirement to boost international competitiveness through enhancing academic quality has become a critical issue for policymakers and university managements alike. The neoliberal emphasis on market mechanisms has intensified global competition in university rankings, and this emphasis continues to impact on university autonomy and academic governance. The recent policy reforms resulting from this competition have produced a ‘SSCI syndrome’, in which faculties are increasingly constrained to being producers of research papers rather than teachers or public intellectuals. They have also impacted students’ rights as well as the greater goals of academic development. This paper argues that the pursuit of rankings detracts from locally-relevant and culturally-responsive research, thus undermining the very goals of the policy reforms.

About the Speaker 

Prudence Chou is a Professor in the Department of Education at National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taiwan. Her research interests include comparative studies on international higher education reform, the impact of world-class university ranking, and cultural exchange in rival states. Some of her books include The Great Experiment of Taiwanese Education: 1987-2003 (2003), Taiwan Education at the Crossroad: When Globalization Meets Localization (2012) and The SSCI Syndrome in Higher Education: A Local or Global Phenomenon (2014). Prudence holds a PhD in Comparative and International Education from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).




Malaysian Classroom Educational Practices : A Bird’s Eye View
9 March 2016, 13.30 -15.30 
Postgraduate Conference Room, Level 3
Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya
Malaysia’s public education system has seen a significant decline in learning outcomes in the last decade or so, despite large amounts of spending as well as waves of reforms. We know from forty years of educational research that teacher’s practice is the most significant school-based factor in predicting the effectiveness of education. Yet, in Malaysia, we know very little about what really goes on in the classroom, particularly against important educational practice indicators. This is one of the key gaps that this project is attempting to address. Random sampling was done from 2000 public secondary schools. The final sample consists of 24 schools and involved 153 teachers teaching Form 1 core subjects (Mathematics, Science, Malay and English). In all, 153 questionnaires were collected as well as more than 20,000 minutes of video data from more than 400 lessons. We will discuss a key outcome of the study: A bird's eye view of the educational practices carried out in Malaysia's classrooms. 


Forum on 'The Enterprising Nation: Education for Development'
28 January 2016, 9.00 - 14.00
Senate Room, Level 4, Chancellery Building, University of Malaya


The government recently released two important documents: the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015–2025 (Higher Education) and the 11th Malaysian Plan, 2016-2020. This forum proposes to review these two documents collectively, given the close link between quality of education and equitable forms of economic development. Two core issues have to be addressed by tertiary institutions in the public and private sectors when reviewing these public documents. First, how to create an appropriate educational experience that would equip students with skills necessary to cope with a constantly – and rapidly – changing economy. Second, how to create an environment under which the research expertise of the academic fraternity may be harnessed more directly to identify and provide programme and policy or scientific and technological solutions that would help to meet the country’s development objectives.   
Co-organised with HELP University


Global Talent: Building Transnational Bridges 
Gi-Wook Shin, Stanford University 
11 December 2015, 10.30 - 12.00
Cemerlang Room, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya 
The 21st century is an era of fierce competition for global talent. Economic globalization has facilitated the movement of human labor, and the demand for foreign talent is high in most advanced countries, due to their low birth rates and aging populations. The competition to attract highly skilled manpower is becoming fiercer among corporations as well as among countries. Skilled foreigners bring human capital—specialized skills that are acquired through education, training, and work experience, and they also bring social capital—social ties that spread information and innovations and facilitate trust. While most existing work on skilled foreign labor have focused on the human capital aspect, Gi-Wook Shin calls for greater attention to the social capital aspect of foreign talent. The “transnational bridges,” formed between the home and host societies of the skilled foreigners, enable the spread of market information, the diffusion of innovations, and greater cultural understanding between these societies. Such benefits not only accrue to the host societies where the foreigners now work and live, but also the home societies where the foreigners originated. Thus, what has previously been identified as “brain drain” can be transformed into “brain linkage.” This lecture is based on his new book Global Talent: Skilled Foreign Labor as Social Capital in Korea, published by Stanford University Press. Shin will also discuss practical and policy implications of this study for Chinese corporations and government.

About the Speaker 

 Gi-Wook Shin is the director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center; the Tong Yang, Korea Foundation, and Korea Stanford Alumni Chair of Korean Studies; the founding director of the Korea Program; a senior fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; and a professor of sociology, all at Stanford University. As a historical-comparative and political sociologist, his research has concentrated on social movements, nationalism, development, and international relations. Shin is the author/editor of more than a dozen books and numerous articles. His recent books include Global Talent: Skilled Labor as Social Capital in Korea (2015); Criminality, Collaboration, and Reconciliation: Europe and Asia Confronts the Memory of World War II (2014); New Challenges for Maturing Democracies in Korea and Taiwan (2014); Asia’s Middle Powers?(2013). His articles have appeared in academic journals including American Journal of Sociology, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Political Science Quarterly, International Sociology, Nations and Nationalism, Pacific Affairs, and Asian Survey. Before coming to Stanford, Shin taught at the University of Iowa and the University of California, Los Angeles. After receiving his BA from Yonsei University in Korea, he was awarded his MA and PhD from the University of Washington.


Doing Research: An Imperative for University Academics and Students in the 21st Century
Martin Hayden, Southern Cross University
6 November 2015, 10.30 - 12.00
Bestari Hall, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya
This presentation will discuss the question of why academic staff and students need to be engaged in research. This discussion will be based on Martin Hayden’s own experience of over more than 35 years as member of academic staff and as an academic manager at various universities.  Martin will provide a personal view on the value of research,  and also discuss its reputational value for the individual, the department and the university. Easy ways of getting started on research will be reviewed. Ways in which academic departments can create a research culture will also be addressed. The need for universities to achieve a sensible balance in their commitment to both teaching and research will be acknowledged.

About the Speaker 

Professor Martin Hayden has wide-ranging experience as a scholar in the field of higher education. He has produced or contributed to a large number of books, articles and reports, and has attracted significant research and development grants. Since moving to Southern Cross University in 1994, he has been the Director of Teaching and Learning for seven years, Chair of the Academic Board and a member of the University Council for four years, and Dean of Education for over nine years. Professor Hayden has completed commissioned works and consultancies for a wide range of international agencies, including UNESCO, the World Bank, UNICEF, the Asian Development Bank, the OECD, ASEAN and the EU. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Studies in Higher Education and Asia Pacific World: The Journal of the International Association for Asia Pacific Studies.




Education for Development? The Role of (World Class) Universities
A Forum on the Malaysia Higher Education Blueprint
16 June 2015, 14.00-16.00
Auditorium, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya


This forum will discuss the role of higher education for development in Malaysia in line with the newly launched Higher Education Blueprint.


Guest Panellists


Contact Details

Centre for Research in International and Comparative Education (CRICE)
Faculty of Education
University of Malaya
Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia,

Tel: +603 7967 5101
Fax: +603 7967 3884
GPS: 3.1204585, 101.6524242