'Cultural myopia' warning

December 13, 2002

Olga Wojtas on the society for research into Higher Education conference

Many universities are suffering from "cultural myopia" in what they teach, despite their growing interest in distance learning across the globe, Brenda Gourley, vice-chancellor of the Open University has warned.

She said institutions were failing to recognise their responsibility for promoting global citizenship.

Professor Gourley quoted a description of globalisation as the deepening and speeding up of world interconnectedness into a shared social space. "(This) raises deep questions of whether we can properly understand this social space without an understanding of and dialogue between our shared cultural heritage," she said.

Many institutions seeking to attract students from other countries failed to appreciate the chance this gave for cultural links.

Education must be concerned with building not only intellectual and social capital but also bridges between cultures, Professor Gourley said.

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