Cultural education for students in the context of globalization – The case of Vietnam

Abstract. Facing the impact of globalization, besides positive changes, in the current social spiritual life in Vietnam, several worrying phenomena have appeared. A part of the population, especially adolescents, is lukewarm towards traditional values. Social ethics, aesthetics and lifestyles are showing signs of deterioration, deviation in value, violation of ethical standards. This article mentioned some issues in cultural education and solutions on improving the cultural education quality for students.

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JOURNAL OF SCIENCE OF HNUE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1075.2016-0230 Educational Sci., 2016, Vol. 61, No. 11, pp. 168-174 This paper is available online at CULTURAL EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBALIZATION – THE CASE OF VIETNAM Pham Viet Thang Faculty of Politics and Civic Education, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. Facing the impact of globalization, besides positive changes, in the current social spiritual life in Vietnam, several worrying phenomena have appeared. A part of the population, especially adolescents, is lukewarm towards traditional values. Social ethics, aesthetics and lifestyles are showing signs of deterioration, deviation in value, violation of ethical standards. This article mentioned some issues in cultural education and solutions on improving the cultural education quality for students. Keywords: Globalization, cultural education for students, improving the cultural education quality. 1. Introduction Globalization is seen as the process of linking countries, which has increased the impact and interdependence between all nations and peoples over the world. It is an inevitable trend, and has attracted more and more countries to participate in, it contains many contradictions, both in the positive and negative aspects, both in cooperation and struggle. Fred Bergsten, director of American Institute for Economic Research, stated at the World Economic Forum held in Davos in December, 1999 that the problem that globalization poses was that it developed without a framework” [6, page 37]. Globalization has been happening in many aspects of social life. With respect to the economic aspect, globalization creates great opportunities for the development of the countries. Developed countries need an abundant source of raw materials, cheap labor, broader consumer market, while developing countries want to accelerate development and attract necessary resources through globalization. With respect to the social aspect, this is a historic opportunity to promote the rapprochement between nations, stimulate cooperation and exchanges in the field of culture and society. With these means, globalization has contributed to improve people’s knowledge and helped nations and peoples assert themselves; at the same time, it has enabled solving urgent global problems that no country can solve on their own, such as environmental pollution, poverty, diseases, drugs, crimes... Nonetheless, globalization is not a flat "playground" but underlies many challenges, which can even turn into risks, especially for developing countries, because it is driven and "directed” by the developed capitalist countries and transnational capitalism economic groups. Although contains opportunities, if not captured and utilized vigilantly, globalization will become a real Received date: 20/6/2016. Published date: 20/12/2016. Contact: Pham Viet Thang, e-mail: 168 Cultural education for students in the context of globalization – the case of Vietnam hazard. A careless integration can dissipate the internal resources of a country and bring about the potential threat of losing the national identity of culture, etc. For that reason, a deep study on the nature of globalization, taking advantage of opportunities and minimizing risks in the process of globalization are significantly important issues. In the field of culture, the risk of losing national identity is possible. Thus, an appropriate strategy of cultural education will be able to help developing countries avoid this risk. 2. Content 2.1. About the nature of globalization In "Communist Manifesto", Marx and Engels clearly pointed out that: ... In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. From that realization, we can visualize the current process of globalization as a process of dialectical negation and of the development of human’s capacity for physical and emotional activity. At the same time, it is also what Marx stressed: the achievements of civilization become the co-beneficial things of all peoples. It appears as a necessity in the process of practical development of mankind. Firstly, the practice of physical production has set the premise for the formation and development of globalization, it originated from the strong development of productive forces, from the socialized nature of productive forces, promoting deeper and broader international labor division, international trade and investment. The advent of computerized productive forces leads to internationalization of the economy and social life, promotes the development of global market economy, enhances capital export and technology transfer. As a result, the inevitability of globalization is firstly manifested in the economic necessity. Economics is a factor playing a decisive role in the development of human civilization, including material and spiritual civilization. In that sense, the history of mankind is the history of liberation making advances from material deprivation, and the development history of freedom under to the realm of the spirit. Also in the economic aspect, globalization has been creating fundamental changes in people’s economic activities, altering the nature and location of the market. If previously, the market was of national nature, the market is now of global nature. Because of the process of globalization, countries are quickly attracted to and become a dependent part of the world or international economy. In addition to the globalization of the market of goods and services, financial and monetary markets are also of global nature. Secondly, the practice of revolution of modern technology and science has also contributed strongly to promote this process. The birth and development of high technology such as biotechnology, telecommunication technology, new material technology have promoted the establishment and development of knowledge economy and global information technology –telecommunications, broken the barriers of space and time between countries and regions around the world. It is possible to say that new technology is not only of economic nature, but also deeply of political and social nature. Thirdly, with regard to the social aspect, the demands of the global economy have brought tremendous changes in the working habits and lifestyles of people in every nation. Nevertheless, it also causes problems such as environmental pollution, global warming, biodiversity decline, epidemics, transnational crimes, terrorism, etc., which require effort and connection of many countries to solve. In other words, globalization itself is making the key global issues of our time having powerful and rapid impacts on the nations. Fourthly, in the current context of globalization, people often talk about the interdependence 169 Pham Viet Thang of the nations rather than refer to the complete independence of those nations. It can be said that there is no country and cannot be any country which can stand independently or completely isolated from the outside world in the context of globalization. The reason is that economic globalization not only requires but also increasingly moves towards freedom of trade and investment increase in an unprecedented way. However, in a relatively stable position of nations, nations have no real equality among each other. There are a few countries in the system having the leading positions and roles, governing the operation of the associated countries in the framework of the system, as well as the system itself. The current phase of the process of globalization is in such state. The world economic crisis triggered in the United States in 2008 together with the European debt crisis started from Greek in 2010 and widely spread to Europe showed this bond (02/06/2012, Romania’s government was the 6th government in Europe collapsed because of the crisis). The domination of large countries often occurs in a direct or indirect way and usually through international institutions, particularly the economic – financial institutions in many different forms. Along with globalization, many scholars have worried about a fact that developed countries want to impose their cultural values on the whole world. Through the process of globalization, western developed countries want to not only put the rest of the world under their economic, political and military subjugation, but also minimize the cultural diversity of other nationalities, because they think that these cultures do not fit, or even contradict with western culture and civilization. Huntington’s conception of the conflict between civilizations has confirmed that, in the context of globalization, it is inevitable for conflicts between civilizations to occur since the Western countries want to impose their interests and force the non-western world into submission. This is a big challenge for countries who want to take advantage of globalization to accelerate development and narrow the gap with developed countries. It is also an indispensable necessity, because globalization, in its essence, is the unity in struggle. 2.2. Globalization and national culture - viewed from the reality in Vietnam We all know that culture is a broad and complicated field created by human and belong to human. Each ethnic community differs on geography, history, social life, and of course, culture. Such differences, on the one hand, reflect vividly the physical activities of a national community; on the other hand, they show the characteristics, spiritual manner, uniqueness in the expression of a nation, etc., and they are called the nation’s cultural identity. In the current era of globalization, whether they like it or not, human society implies a proposal for a global culture which includes conservation of the diversity in national cultural identities. During the process of international integration, weaknesses and economic dependence will turn developing countries into shadows of developed countries. Due to a dominant position in economics, science and technology, developed countries also dominate in the imposition of their ideological, cultural values and way of life, etc., on poor and dependent countries. Moreover, for developing countries, having difficult and needy lives overwhelmed people and cause them to be attracted by material values and epicurean lifestyles from the developed countries. The widespread importation of a variety of goods, on the one hand, meets the consumption needs of the people, but on the other hand stimulates consumer psychology of preference for imported goods. This not only affects the development of traditional industries due to xenophile and fond of foreign products, but also has negative impacts on the spiritual values and national lifestyle. Nowadays, with great achievements in the field of information technology, information is also becoming a commodity. Moreover, it is also an extremely important commodity. Relating to the development of information technology, people often talk about a flat world in which they 170 Cultural education for students in the context of globalization – the case of Vietnam seem to lose the conventional notion of geographical distance. At the same time but in different locations, people can still enjoy the same value through information technology. Nonetheless, the modern information technology today is within the control of the monopoly capitalist companies. Such objective things are creating the risk of homogenizing the value system and standards, threatening and depleting the creativity of cultures – like the warnings of F.Mayo, General Director of UNESCO, at the ceremony of launching the "International Decade for Cultural Development". Human are wary of such threats. From Mexico City Declaration on Cultural Policies (1982) to the Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development (Stockholm, 1998), from the International Conference: Globalization with Building Community Identity (Amsterdam, 1996) to the Declaration of the Conference of Cultural Ministers of Non-Aligned Countries (Colombo, 1997), etc., the cultural activists confirmed the distinctiveness and diversity of ethnic cultures. Intergovernmental conference and cultural policies (Stockholm, 1998) recorded 12 points of commitment, in which the 11th point clearly stated: "The defense of local and regional cultures threatened by cultures with a global reach must not transform the culture thus affected into relics deprived of their own development dynamics"[7]. Obviously, Vietnam can not put itself out of the globalization process. We are making efforts in a comprehensive reform of the country, actively participating in international economic integration. More than ever, Vietnamese people are acutely aware that economic globalization is a great opportunity for the development of the nation. With the motto: Vietnam is a friend, a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community, that is striving for peace, independence and development, we have been actively involved in regional and global organizations, such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), etc.; have enhanced the relations with developed countries and many other countries as well as regional and international organizations; have established trade relations with over 224 countries, and cultural cooperation with more than 70 countries... These are the steps which were done consciously in this process. For the past three decades of innovation, we have gained various important achievements in many fields of social life. Nevertheless, a new sustainable development is a long-term goal that we should look towards. In order to achieve that, international integration must always be parallel with maintaining cultural identity in the process of development. However, the fact is that there seems to exist a "warp" between integration and identity preservation. The reality is showing potential risks to the national identity of culture. In the current social spiritual life in Vietnam, several worrying phenomena have appeared. A part of the population, especially adolescents, is lukewarm towards traditional values. Social ethics, aesthetics and lifestyles are showing signs of deterioration, deviation in value, violation of ethical standards and the rate of legal piracy tends to increase. According to incomplete statistics of Ministry of Public Security, during 2010, there are 13,572 juvenile offenders in the country, among which there are 1,600 student fighting cases, increased several times compared with previous years in the number of offenders and serious cases. Especially in the past few years, though the number of criminal law violations caused by juveniles has decreased compared with 2010, the level of crime was more serious. For example, the situation of crimes caused by minors aged between fully 16 and less than 18 years of age is on the rise with the highest proportion, about 60%. The increasing proportion of minors suffering from social evils is also a serious problem for society. According to recent statistics by the authorities, there are about 146,000 drug addicts with management records in the whole country. However, it is alarming that for every 100 drug addicts, there are 70 people in adolescence. That is not to mention the situation that high school students are dropping out of school, living on the streets, 171 Pham Viet Thang forming gangs via the Internet causing many fights, disturbing social order, severely affecting fine traditions and customs of the country, etc. On the other hand, the stituation of school violence is also becoming a disturbing problem to society. According to the most recent data published by Ministry of Education and Training, within a school year, there were nearly 1,600 student fighting cases inside and outside of school over the country; there was one fight per over 5,200 students; among over 11,000 students, there was one expelled from school for fighting. More concernedly, school violence does not just happen in urban but also in rural areas and the proportion of female students involved in school violence is increasing. Western consumption lifestyles with many non-humanitarian elements have strongly influenced the consciousness and behaviors of many Vietnamese people today. Our economy is still poor; average per capita income is still at the lower middle level; labor productivity is low; labor products are not abundant, hence, the economic consumption and enjoyment being appropriate to realistic economic conditions is an indispensable requirement for further social-economic development. Pure consumption lifestyles will lead to the risk of a crisis when there is no plan to achieve the correct target, especially lifestyle crisis. More devastatingly, consumption psychology here has not only lied within outward activities, but also has become consciousness, ideology, penetrating deeply into all areas of social life: from the material to the spiritual life, from economy to culture, and even intellect and emotion. Consumption ideology has even turned art into commodities; education into relations of exchange and trade; spiritual life and worship, which are supposed to be sacred, have become profitable as well. The lifestyle of focusing on only economy and only means, absolutizing material value, through globalization, has contributed to the expansion of the above-mentioned negative aspects of our society today. The aesthetic taste of a part of the public, especially young people, also has expressed cultural deviance and hybrid. It appears right in daily communication and in the spiritual activities of social life. In music, many compositions are inappropriate, imitating popular styles of some countries in the region (their content is often either excessively sentimental or about separation, crazy love, rush lives, irresponsible love...), so the melodies and lyrics are all the same, clichés or show "idol obsession" syndrome... In the field of fashion, besides the issue of singers’ costumes, the fashion of young people is now blindly following the western free style, with sexy and revealing outfits which are contrary to national customs. All these factors jointly advocate a rushed, arbitrary, dissolute and irresponsible lifestyle without a future. There are many reasons for the above-mentioned situation, which may include some of the following: Firstly, the issue of moral education, living value education in schools has not been paid adequate attention to, there is still a lack of close coordination between schools, family and society. Education in schools only focuses on teaching knowledge, thus, teaching personalities and ethics for children is disregarded. Secondly, economic - social stratification has become more complicated; the gaps between rich and poor families, between regions have become clearer. On the one hand, it leads to a decrease in the education care of families for their children, the economic functions of families and societies have dominated the educational function; on the other hand, it leads to inequality in the development opportunities for children between regions, an increase in the proportion of children dropping out of school, wandering, contributing to an increase in social evils for minors. Thirdly, the "pollution" of cultural environment brought by the Internet is increasingly alarming. The phenomena of online game addiction, Internet addiction, moving away from real life to live in the virtual world... have resulted in the disregard of ethical st
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