One week ago, the Toronto Star ran this piece co-written by
Despite the fact that this trend has caught on with Canadian universities and colleges (albeit in less obvious ways), the Kielburgers focus on American universities, particularly those in the
However, Craig and Marc's fluff piece brushed over a crucial point. Had the goal of these universities been the cultural enlightenment of a generation of Arab and American students, perhaps this expansion would take a different form. But, as the article states, universities are in it for the money. These campuses take in foreign students to help fund their operations back home. Foreign students are funding American students off their backs. There is something seriously wrong with this.
And, to add to that, the article states that curriculum is virtually the same and K-12 education is being re-vamped to "prepare students for the tough entrance standards of American universities."
It is the belief of many that it should not be the role of the American military to police the world. Nor should it be the role of American universities to educate the world. Education and curricula are highly political and culturally loaded. This foreign intrusion suggests that American education is somehow superior to what is, or could be, offered in other countries. This arrangement also allows governments off the hook for maintaining or creating a domestic and public post-secondary education system. What’s more, it opens the door to cultural domination from a foreign power. Hardly a noble exercise in geopolitical welfare.
Perhaps a better approach would be to encourage exchanges of faculty and students to international institutions while respecting national and institutional autonomy. This, while at the same time adequately funding post-secondary education, would provide a true opportunity for 'cross-cultural bridges'.
Craig and Marc could have better used their column to highlight the plight of International students in
This kind of rhetoric doesn't help students, either foreign or domestic. Nor does it presuppose that education is a right. It undermines the fight for an affordable education for all; something that the vast majority of students have called for time and again, despite citizenship status.