By and large, most people most of the time think about education as solely a national undertaking. The trends we examine here, however, lead to quite a different vision, one where there is a considerable global process at work. To make sense of this contrasting globalized world of education, it is helpful first to describe the common image of schooling as a national enterprise. It is a vision with several components.
The everyday vision of schooling as a national enterprise sees it as chiefly a unique product of a nation's culture and governmental effort to foster prosperity for its citizens. This is thought to be true regardless of the particular level of governance of schools within the nation. It is common, then, to refer to French, Chilean, Japanese, American, and South African (or any nation's) schools as separate national entities. After all, what could be more deeply embedded in a nation's society than its schools preparing children for future adult lives in that country? The reigning image of education today is that schools are designed and managed within a national context for the specific needs and goals of a particular nation.
This vision also assumes that schooling is organized to educate and socialize children in a specific way that is directly linked to the future welfare of a particular nation. For example, German schools are thought to produce German adults with the technical ...