Table of contents(27 chapters)
This chapter introduces readers to the Annual Review of Comparative and International Education and approaches to reviewing the field broadly, by examining the ways that scholars and professionals in the field reflect on comparative and international education (CIE). It begins with a synthesis of the reviews and reflective pieces published since the mid-20th century, and then critiques the field for being neither consistently nor systematically reflective. The chapter then summarizes several of the benefits of consistent and systematic reflection through a process of annual review. The chapter concludes with an overview and synthesis of each of the sections, which provide the structure of the Annual Review, and poses questions that drive systematic reflection through each section of the volume and the field as a whole.
The interest in the field of comparative education appeared in Spain in the mid-nineteenth century. This interest began with visits abroad by experts and administrators in education commissioned by the government to better understand primary level education systems in other European countries. In the 1990s, comparative education in Spain became consolidated as a discipline. This coincided with several European educational initiatives and studies. Comparative education research methodologies remain eclectic among Spanish researchers, but as a field comparative education in Spain enjoys good academic and institutional health in the early twenty-first century.
The Brazilian Comparative Society was founded in 1983. Comparative education was a strong component of the curriculum of the courses of pedagogy in the period of “Escola Nova,” but this focus changed. In the early 21st century, Brazilian comparative education is no longer a required discipline in the curriculum of most education programs. Comparative education in the Brazilian context has a unique “meaning or use,” which is not the same concept or scientific definition used in other regions. Second, Brazilian comparative education is characterized by an “outsider” perspective, which is a product of post-colonialism and a history of underdevelopment. Third, the majority of comparative education scholars in Brazil are limited by language since most speak and read Portuguese or Spanish only, and much of the research literature in the field is written in English or other foreign languages. The Sociedade Brasileira de Educação Comparada (SBEC) is a small society that is poised to meet the needs and interests of a growing number of members, and the best strategy is to diversify activities and involve the largest possible numbers of associates.
The field of comparative and international education in Mexico is still under construction in the early 21st century. The formation of the Sociedad Mexicana de Educación Comparada in 2004 has led to increased comparative education activity, theory-building, research, and publication by Mexican scholars, however. Most professors define comparative or international education based on their research context. In the early 21st century in Mexico, the research context is largely one of decentralization of education in different Mexican states. The future of comparative education in Mexico is likely to be characterized by an increase in funding for education research by diverse government agencies, international organizations, and private foundations. It is debatable whether a transformation of comparative education teaching and pedagogy will occur, but the envisaged increase in research may influence the academic publications studied in comparative education courses in Mexico.
Since its creation in 1998, the French Association of Comparative Education and Exchange (AFDECE) has been concerned with developing comparative education in France. This development brings together a wide network of comparativists from all backgrounds, and shows the benefits that comparison with others and international exchanges represent for an educational system. La Revue Française d’Education Comparée (RFEC), established in March 2007, publishes investigations of innovative comparative educational research in France and in the world. AFDECE’s activities and discourse focus largely on the question of comparison in education and its relevance and validity. One emphasis of comparativists of education in France is that research in comparative education should be part of a system of thought with explicitly defined theoretical frameworks. Through cooperative research and corresponding action, comparative education in France and abroad can lead to common actions and solutions acceptable to all.
Comparative and international education (CIE) has developed very quickly in China. The first “Academic Conference on Education in Other Countries” was held in China in 1978. The National Society of Foreign Education Studies, the predecessor of the National Comparative Education Society, was formed in 1979. In 1980, Beijing Normal University published the first journal on comparative education in China. Afterwards East China Normal University and Northeast Normal University published their journals on comparative education. The first master and doctoral degree programs in comparative education were offered in China respectively in 1979 and 1985. There are hundreds of scholars engaged in comparative education studies now. In summary, comparative education in China has been turned into a fully-fledged academic discipline with a complete framework. What is more important maybe is that Chinese scholars have been exploring the definitions, functions, culture, and research paradigms of the discipline.
The Gulf Comparative Education Society (GCES) was officially established in 2009. The aim of the society is to provide a forum for educators, researchers, and policymakers from the Gulf region and elsewhere to share their knowledge and experience; to encourage the development of educational research throughout the region; to strengthen the links between research, policy, and practice; to maximize the impact of quality research and effective innovations; and to encourage and support junior and early career education researchers throughout the region. The GCES firmly believes that educational policy development and implementation and pedagogical practice need to be supported by research-based knowledge, and that, at the same time, the knowledge, experience, and insights gained from each country in the region can provide invaluable lessons for others as they seek to overcome similar challenges.
This chapter wishes to reiterate the crucial distinction, made by Max Weber as early as 1922, between scientific research and political action, and to recall the principles of separation and mediation from which the comparative and international approach in education sometimes derives. The current policies of education in a globalized world, planned at an international level, tend to euphemize cultural differences, and finally impose a functional and normative approach of what is meaningful, in the education arena. As a matter of fact, the concepts that comprise a language, that are disseminated and become established in a social world, are culturally rooted, though they are borne of history through dynamic and linguistic uses. By neglecting the social and cultural provenance of words and meanings, there is a danger that one can end up with a comparability based on functional equivalencies alone. The purely instrumental rationality that favors the spread of such frameworks or interpretative models appears indifferent to questions of meaning and culture, apart from being irrational on an axiological level. In keeping with the researcher’s responsibility to mediate, one must promote clarification and mutual understanding, replacing the standardization of words with a strong and critical illumination of the semiotic variations generated by their use. For this to be realized, efforts to challenge and reconceptualize the field deserve sustained theoretical tools promoting the very hermeneutic task of comparative education, in ways that more pertinently bridge a diversity of intellectual, professional, and societal cultures, in the context of a global program of neutralization of differences and otherness.
Neo-institutional theory has provided a productive perspective on comparative and international education phenomena since the 1970s. Yet, recent critical discourse about educational phenomena investigated through a neo-institutional lens has been somewhat one-sided. The authors reexamine neo-institutional theory and its application to comparative and international education by demonstrating the ways that the theory frames both macro- and micro-level educational phenomena. The ability to shift the discourse about neo-institutional theory from a largely macro-level framework to one capable of investigating educational changes occurring at the micro level is vital to understanding the comprehensiveness of national educational systems and the ways that both world culture and individual agency contribute to these systems. Specifically, using the empirical application of neo-institutional theory to the intersection of information and communication technology (ICT) and internationally comparative educational data, the macro and micro levels of educational phenomena can be productively examined. In so doing, this chapter shifts the discourse on how and why neo-institutional theory reflects cross-national educational trends and micro-contextual effects on education worldwide.
This chapter attempts to untangle the complex arena of private sector engagement in education by discussing the definitional challenges associated with understanding the non-state sector and by introducing some conceptual frameworks employed in research on private education. A thematic review of research from the field of Comparative International Education is provided to give the reader an understanding of the diversity that characterizes private involvement as well as the interconnectedness of private actors, specifically drawing attention to findings that grapple with equity implications. The chapter concludes with some suggestions for developing a framework for research via posing questions that ought to be asked when designing, conducting and analyzing findings from studies into private sector engagement in education.
The purpose of this brief chapter is to set out the current trends and issues related to comparative and international education (CIE) in the Arabian Gulf region. As the field of comparative and education studies and research is relatively new in the Gulf, this chapter attempts to tell the story of the current state of the field in the region. One result of such an emergent area of the broader field is that there is little history and literature to draw upon, hence this chapter will defer to the literature regarding the field in general, drawing on specific area studies relating to the Gulf when available. Many aspects of education development, history, policy and practice have been examined, yet the distinct field of CIE, both as a teaching methodology and a research focus, remains a small, yet growing, part of the wider educational discourse and practice in the region.
This chapter compares the historical development and current state of comparative pedagogy (CP) in four Slavonic South East European Countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia. The authors also aim to put the historical background and contemporary developments of CP as a science and academic discipline in their countries on the worldwide comparative education (CE) map.
The chapter starts with a short definition of the two streams of CP development: the practical problem-solving nature of comparative studies; and the development of academic CP as a separate branch of the science of pedagogy. The history of CP in the four countries is divided into four historical periods: (1) 19th century until World War I (1918); (2) interwar years (1919–1941); (3) from 1945 until 1989; (4) from 1989 to the present. The development of CP during each period is examined in both national and comparative aspects and is analyzed within the appropriate political, social, and economic context. Some scientific-pedagogical factors are also discussed, with the goal of providing a better understanding of the specific features of CP in the individual countries and in the region as a whole. On the one hand, the analysis shows common characteristics in CP development, mostly influenced by the fact that the historical development of the science of pedagogy (accompanied by the teacher training tradition and the education system structure) was strongly influenced by German theoretical and practical pedagogy in all SSEE countries. On the other hand, the comparison reveals some differences, especially between Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia.
This chapter explores some of the complexities involved when undertaking research at an international level in the area of “inclusive” education and “special needs” education. The complexities encountered by researchers working in these fields, mirror many of the challenges that comparativists in education studies find themselves addressing. Drawing from earlier investigations and from reports by international organizations, this chapter highlights some of the dilemmas and challenges that researchers face when considering inclusion and special needs education in different countries. Differing interpretations of “inclusion” are discussed and then contrasted with thinking around “special needs” practices. The chapter moves forward to analyze how the adoption of differing theoretical frameworks can influence the way that “disability” is conceptualized and therefore how inclusive and special needs education are interpreted and then put into practice. The chapter argues that cross-cultural work opens up opportunities for further development and learning in this field. We further argue that such cross-cultural work can become a mechanism to instigate fundamental change in education.
This chapter synthesizes the key themes and issues from across the Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2013, and reflects on how the input from the regional society presidents and representatives was developed in each section of the review. Ways to think about making the Annual Review a reflective process for the field as a whole, and to engender input from all corners of the global comparative and international education community are suggested as well.
- Publication date
- Book series
- International Perspectives on Education and Society
- Series copyright holder
- Emerald Publishing Limited
- Book series ISSN