Efficiency versus social justice? Teachers’ roles in the epoch of globalisation

Christina Hajisoteriou, Panayiotis Angelides

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The literature portrays globalisation as a ‘Janus-like phenomenon’, implying that it has two ‘heads’ like the mythical giant Janus; beyond the rise of hyber-liberalism, xenophobia and socio-economic inequity, globalisation has also humanistic and democratic elements. In this context, a global agenda of social justice and equity of educational opportunity appears to be counteracted by global discourses of neoliberalism, which are embedded in international performance indicators, and international tests and scores. Apparently, teachers in the era of globalisation are assigned with diverse, and often ‘unbalanced’, social and professional roles. In such a context, this article aims to address the following question: What roles are teachers called to play in the epoch of globalisation? In this article, we acknowledge that global preoccupation with efficiency and performance has contributed to the development a managerialist model of education causing the de-professionalisation of teachers. Such model has in turn restricted teachers’ opportunities to mediate social justice. Nonetheless, what we conclude is that teachers are not ‘trapped’ in a trade-off between efficiency and equity. Even if we accept that neoliberalism is an inevitable top-down policy framework, neoliberal settings can still provide spaces for teachers to act as democratic agents by developing autonomous, active and collegial professional identities. However, this article concludes that teachers working in solidarity in local/global coalitions may counteract the hegemony of neoliberalism by bringing bottom-up structural transformation towards social justice, equity and diversity recognition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)274-289
    Number of pages16
    JournalEducation, Citizenship and Social Justice
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


    • efficiency
    • globalisation
    • intercultural education
    • social justice
    • teachers


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