Globalisation is a continuing phenomenon. World is becoming smaller, countries more intimate. It has brought about monumental changes, some of them not necessarily positive. As much as globalisation has given countries benefits, it has caused loss of many tangible and intangible assets and values.
One of the advantages of globalisation is the spread of culture. As the world becomes increasingly globalised, different cultures coalesce and create new cultures that are universally accepted. It helps break down social and cultural barriers, and makes interaction between societies easier. Education has been the other. With globalisation, it has made people from one country to avail themselves of best educational practices and facilities in another. This has led to exchanging the best educational practices between countries together with swapping of cultures.
Trade is another sector that has largely benefited from globalisation. Countries have been able to capitalise on comparative advantage with wider scope of commerce. It has also allowed resource-sharing between countries and trade partners efficiently. That way, it can be said that globalisation has helped foster harmony among nations.
However, globalization has also wrought some damage. But then, for every good things there will be negative side to it. In a globalised world, English has become a global language. This has led to the death of many national and local languages; many lie in comatose. Media, particularly print, use English to reach their audience, which has contributed to local languages taking the back seat. Over time, local languages lose their charm and utility. That’s how globalisation kills local languages and dialects.
In Bhutan, for example, English is the most widely used language.
It has been the medium of instruction in schools since modern education began in the early 1900s. Today, Dzongkha, the national language, is having to bear the brunt. Dzongkha is not a popular language among the educated class and the elite. We are making concerted effort to popularise our national language, but globalisation will continue to play its part. We hope we will succeed one day.
We cannot escape globalisation. But we must be prudent and make conscious choice to guard ourselves from its detrimental effects.
By Prem Dhungyel
Office of Vice Chancellor
Royal University of Bhutan