Educational neoliberalism and the annexation of literacy: a cautionary tale in the Asia-Pacific context

Niranjan Casinader, Ayub Sheik

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


    One of the key facets of educational globalisation has been the increasing diffusion of learning programmes based on ‘Western’ principles, whether this is in the context of school curriculum frameworks, educational policy, or standalone ‘international education programmes’ (Casinader, Culture, transnational education and thinking: Case studies in global schooling, 2014). This has included the adoption of Euro-American concepts of literacy, ostensibly preparing people to participate in and receive the benefits of the globalised economy.

    Within this transition, the regard for existing local systems of education has been limited; principles of ‘Western’ education have been promoted as inevitably intellectually superior and dominant. Whilst the promotion of global literacy through organisations such as the United Nations recognises the multiplicities of literacy (Parr and Campbell, International Review of Education, 58(4), 557–574, 2012) that exist, this process has also seen the constriction of notions of literacy (Bartlett, International Journal of Educational Development, 28(6), 737–753, 2008) into a Euro-American framework. This chapter seeks to critique the ways in which ‘Western’ notions of capitalism and rationalism have influenced the direction and intentions of global literacy initiatives, arguing that, instead of liberating people from socio-economic captivity, they contribute to a loss of the cultural identity embedded in local forms of knowledge and literacy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTransforming Pedagogies Through Engagement with Learners, Teachers and Communities
    EditorsDat Bao, Thanh Pham
    Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811600579
    ISBN (Print)9789811600562
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Publication series

    NameEducation in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects
    ISSN (Print)1573-5397
    ISSN (Electronic)2214-9791


    • Literacy
    • Asia-Pacific
    • Neoliberal education
    • Globalisation
    • United Nations Conventions
    • Multiple literacies

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