Global Competency

Reading an interesting posting on the SSAT blog by Professor Yong Zhao

Global Competency is an emerging skill...

Although writing was invented in many societies thousands of years ago, the ability to read and write, or what we call literacy skills, became necessary for all citizens much later. It only came after technology made written materials universally accessible and transformed the society into one that heavily relies on the written language.
Similarly, although human beings have engaged in activities across geographical, political, religious boundaries globally for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, it is only until recently when such activities began to be undertaken and participated in by the common citizens. Before what Thomas Friedman calls Globalization 3.0, which began around the year 2000, only a small portion of the human race were able to participate in boundary-crossing activities (Friedman, 2005). As a result, only this small group of people needed to be equipped with the knowledge and skills that enable them to function beyond their own borders.
But this is no longer the case. In 2005, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman announced that “the world is flat,” that is, the world is no longer separated by geographical distances or ideological barriers.According to Friedman, we have gone through three versions of globalization. Globalization 1.0, which began around 1492, saw the shrinking of the earth from size large to size medium. In the Globalization 2.0 era, which saw the arrival of multinational companies, saw the earth moving from size medium to size small. Starting around 2000, Globalization 3.0 began and now the earth is going from size small to size tiny.
In this increasingly tiny and flat world, everyone could theoretically be engaged in business or other types of transactions with someone else from any part of the globe. In other words, global boundary-crossing activities are no longer restricted to a small proportion of the human race. They have become a universally accessible possibility. Consequently the ability to participate in these boundary-crossing activities has become necessary for all citizens. And that ability is what we refer to as ‘global competence.’