Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2017: Volume 34

Cover of Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2017
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Table of contents

(21 chapters)

Prelims

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Abstract

Consistent and systematic reflective practice is a key element of professionalization. Reflecting on the current status and trends highlights areas of success and areas for further examination within the field of comparative and international education (CIE). This research examines the characteristics of articles in peer-reviewed comparative and international education journals from the last three years in order to identify how the field has changed. Data explored include number of authors, author(s) institutional location(s), research methodology, content or context of analysis, and keywords. Results were compared to questions and recommendations posed by Bereday in 1964 and in the initial Annual Review in 2013. Single-country studies continued to dominate the field for the third year; however, there has been a shift in methodological approaches, with more balance between qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Collaboration, evidenced by an increase in co-authored articles, has increased across the field. Findings from keyword analysis show that although six keywords have remained at the top of the field across the three years, there are few topics which unite the field. These results indicate that although one strength of the field has been cited as its diversity, CIE lacks a common focus on methods, theories, or contents that set it apart from other education-affiliated disciplines. Scholars are encouraged to continue consistent and systematic reflection in determining future directions of the field by identifying unique approaches to distinguish CIE.

Abstract

Academic engagement is considered to be a hallmark of an optimal studying experience and a key to academic success for all students, including those from abroad. Accordingly, creating an engaging learning environment for higher education students is among the most pressing issues currently facing universities. This essay first summarises authors’ research perspectives focussing on international students’ engagement in university studies. The authors especially have attempted to understand to what extent international students from different backgrounds engage in their studies and whether the impacts of factors in students’ learning environment on their academic engagement vary between different international student cohorts. Second, we introduce three emerging perspectives: students’ academic engagement in relation to their future self-visions, doctoral education and short-term study abroad programs, which are all closely tied with international education. Third, the essay proposes several gaps in the literature that the authors find important for future investigation to contribute to students’ academic engagement in globalising higher educational institutions.

Abstract

This essay reconsiders the impact of higher education on national and global development and the related implications of current trends in investment in education. There is a general consensus that investing in higher education positively influences economic development and drives innovation; however, this investment also has wider-reaching impact across other sectors important to social development and equity. At present, developing and emerging economies generally fail to meet international budget targets for education. This translates into exponentially less spending on higher education, which affects quality, access, learning, productive capacity, and competitiveness. Additionally, official development assistance investment in higher education still lags behind primary education and is structured in a way that may divert funds away from recipient countries and long-term institutional change. These circumstances raise important questions for researchers in the field of comparative and international education studies. How can developing countries better advance their higher education systems to drive national and global development, especially given resource limitations? Which models, practices, and investment strategies are most relevant for advancing these goals in low-income settings? Answering these questions will assist policymakers and practitioners committed to improving opportunities for individuals and communities in developing economies.

Abstract

This chapter reflects on our recent research into China’s soft power in international education, using Confucius Institutes as a case study. It first reveals how we have framed our research in the related field and the methodological issues concerned. It will then analyze the theories and concepts that have been taken as the lenses through which China’s soft power ideas and strategies were compared and contrasted with the theories and/or practices prevalent in the West, while highlighting their implication for the fear of the “China threat.” Finally, we will conclude with the potential areas of further research in the related area of study in the years to come. It is hoped that this chapter will contribute to the development of research in international and comparative education that helps readers to explore in-depth the causality, implication and complication of the “China threat” in the global arena.

Abstract

In this chapter, the author exposes the frameworks she has used in uncovering different stakeholders’ perspectives on the impact of aid to education programs. She raises a number of issues: the greater use by development agencies of evaluation measurements than recipients, in part due to the superimposition of, or inadequate capacity development offered nationals; the inappropriate comparisons of education systems together with a greater focus on school effectiveness without sufficient incorporation of school improvement practices; the need for a multidisciplinary lens rather than the predominant economic, ‘value for money’ considerations. The author portrays the prospects of accountability research as increasingly one of development agencies going it alone, run by their foreign offices, lacking the institutional memory of their aid agencies and with a renewed emphasis on the private sector.

Abstract

This chapter, drawing on my personal experience as the project manager for a large-scale survey – the European Survey on Language Competences – reflects on the aspects that influence my own research most strongly, namely the limitations of the methodology used in such surveys to produce data that can feed into policy formation and positively impact what goes on inside classrooms around the world. Future trends and directions for research in comparative education are then explored, where I suggest practical case studies focusing on comparative pedagogy within a policy learning approach as a possible way forward in providing a rich and robust supplementary source of evidence for policymakers.

Abstract

Many contemporary societies are experiencing a convergence between forces of economic globalisation and conservative ideologies that threaten to capture the educational space. Several countries are faced with the challenge of ineffective reforms apparent in increasing rates of school failure and poor learning outcomes. Never before have there been such striking similarities in the dilemmas and challenges faced by societies across the world in the field of education. Underlying these striking similarities are the unique trajectories that diverse countries have taken in their struggle to provide equitable education and preserve systems of democracy. As comparative educators, we need to take cognizance of these unique trajectories while engaging deeper with the postcolonial response to the challenges of failed reforms in education and development. Foremost among these concerns is the need to unravel the intimate, yet deeply challenged, relationship between education and society in a globalised economy. Using the heuristics of comparative education, international research will need to engage critically with the narratives of educational thought and practice emerging in these diverse contexts. Drawing upon some reflections from the South, this essay attempts to implore the critical voice of the comparative educator at a time when educational reforms driven by the agenda of internationalisation, repudiate people’s aspirations for an education that fosters socially just societies.

Abstract

This chapter outlines key areas of literature and policy that have influenced or affected our research on the comparative study of adult education. Policy influences include the growth of lifelong learning within a neoliberal framing since the 1990s and the rise of ‘evidence-based’ approaches with a narrow reliance on quantitative data. Much of our work has been inspired by the need to critique these trends, adopt broader approaches to lifelong learning and defend the more democratic traditions of adult education. Important areas of theoretical inspiration, many of which interrogate these policy developments, are also outlined. The critical reinterpretation of historical adult education practices is another important area of work and inspiration. In relation to sustainability, we have been influenced particularly by the capabilities approach.

Abstract

China is now deeply involved in the process of globalization. It confronts conflicts, such as traditions versus modernization, internationalization versus localization, and Chinese values versus. universal values. China is more open to the outside world than ever. The authors’ survey of the Journal of International and Comparative Education Research reveals that Chinese comparative educators are turning the focus of their studies to try new paradigms in the context of globalization.

Abstract

This discussion essay describes three methodological models of comparative analysis and tests a dialogue between Bartolini, Bray, and Bonilla Molina. Bartolini explores a model that combines dimensions of spatial and temporal variation noting the emphasis dedicated to synchronous cross-sectional investigation, as well as the need to think of time as a dimension of variation, as history. Bartolini summarizes the sociological and historical literature creating a data matrix to which he adds a dimension of time and outlines the case study and development of the case, the development trend, the great development theory, and a synchronous comparison of development. Bray adds items to a greater degree of specificity ranging from the spatial dimension with specific geographical units organized by varying degrees, types, and levels. The comparative analysis of the multilevel schematic occurs by the combination of: geographic levels, location from macro to micro; nonspatial population levels of large ethnic diversity, religion and gender as well as aspects of education and society including teachers, curriculum, finance, management, education, and work. Molina Bonilla presents a dynamic multidimensional model that combines all the macro and micro dimensions of education: school as a political project and as a continent and a country on the planet; as a teaching–learning process from citizenship and democracy; as a process involving students, teachers, and parents; and as a product where the spatial and temporal dimensions from the geopolitical merge into a dynamic hub that crosses stories, capital, and labor. The latter, created to assess quality, is a synthesis of the theoretical and methodological as it provides a multitude of benefits for successful comparative analysis in today’s global and international context of education.

Part II: Conceptual and Methodological Developments

Abstract

Ethnographers and other qualitative social scientists have long reflected on the ways researcher identity – who we are – shapes how we see and understand what and whom we encounter in our research, and how research participants see and understand us. In “Insider–outsider–inbetweener? Researcher positioning, participative methods, and cross-cultural educational research,” Milligan (2016) takes up questions regarding researcher positionality in qualitative research in the field of comparative and international education. In particular, Milligan argues for the use of participative techniques to gain insider perspectives and to lessen unequal power relations between researcher and the researched in cross-cultural research. In this chapter, we will engage Milligan’s discussion of participative research by analyzing the similarities and differences in studying participants with relative social privilege versus studying those from marginalized communities. Specifically, we will reflect on two ethnographic studies that explored the global educational aspirations of middle and upper middle-class Asian students. Furthermore, we attempt to complicate the discussion of “cross-cultural” research by arguing that in the neoliberal global context, researchers and the researched may move back and forth across national and cultural boundaries. The chapter concludes by raising questions regarding the unique challenges of conducting cross-cultural studies that flow across national boundaries.

Abstract

This chapter reviews the changing contours of education governance in today’s global environment in which governments participate in different educational agreements across various levels (supranational and global) or what is identified as the rise of “educational multistakeholderism.” Methodologically it draws up discursive evidence from previous studies in the form of a content analysis to show how the expansion of international regimes (institutions) into new issue areas, such as education, creates an overlap between the elemental (core) regime and other regimes. In exploring how regime theory has been applied to comparative and international education, this chapter draws attention to how new regimes and institutions arise and coexist alongside two or more classes (civil society, nongovernmental, intergovernmental, businesses, and state) of actors and its consequences for education governance. It suggests that regime complex(es) in education, which aims to facilitate educational cooperation and are composed of assemblages from several other regimes, are responsible for governing, steering, and coordinating education governance activities through the use of agreements, treaties, global benchmarks, targets, and indicators. It concludes by suggesting that regimes and regime complex(es) in education are constituted by different types of multistakeholder governance.

Part III Research-to-Practice

Abstract

Post-apartheid South Africa has some of the highest educational and economic disparities in the world. Taylor Salisbury’s (2016) analysis of the National Income Dynamics Study reveals that South Africa’s unequal distributions of income and wealth by race are likely to worsen over time, with Africans the most disenfranchised by low-quality education and low monthly earnings. What is missing from Salisbury’s discussion is that definitions of quality education are analogous to Western democracy, epistemologies, and curriculum. Township schools where most African children and youth attend do not draw upon African epistemologies, values, and languages to support the development of Africans’ productive capacities. Increasingly, capacities are only considered “productive” if they align with modernity and values of the labor market. In this chapter, I argue that South Africa is schooling inequality through the exclusion of African epistemological traditions and the inclusion of mainly Western liberal principles. The notion of divided (epistemological) space – separate, distinct, and apportioned – is examined from the research data I collected with African (in this case Xhosa) primary and secondary students, teachers, and principals in South Africa’s longest-standing township. The intent is to orient the field of comparative and international education to critically problematize discourse that identifies equality as central to social change but that ignores indigenous constructions of democracy informed by different epistemological traditions. This work builds on the growing argument about the need for comparative educators to learn from indigenous perspectives (Freeman, 2004), indigenous knowledge systems (Kubow, 2007), and different educational traditions for comparative study (Assié-Lumumba, 2017).

Abstract

For over a decade, the early grade reading assessment (EGRA) has been used to measure and report on students’ acquisition of five reading skills. Education development initiatives funded by the US Agency for International Development, the World Bank, Department for International Development (DFID), and other agencies have facilitated the use and adaptation of the EGRA into over 100 languages in more than 65 countries (Dubeck & Gove, 2015, p. 315). Guidelines for the proper use and the limitations of the EGRA have been circulated widely. An international evidence base that challenges the theoretical underpinnings and the expanded use of the EGRA is also growing (Bartlett, Dowd, & Jonason, 2015). Not yet explored to date, however, is the use of the EGRA as a measure to determine Payment by Results (PbR) in a donor agency initiative. This chapter examines the use of the EGRA oral reading fluency (ORF) subtest as a PbR learning outcomes measure in DFID’s Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) projects, and it concludes that the way in which the EGRA ORF was used for PbR was a misuse of the EGRA, and ultimately it did not serve well the PbR project beneficiaries, the marginalized girls.

Part IV: Area Studies and Regional Developments

Abstract

This chapter examines the usefulness of the field of comparative and international education (CIE) in reference to supporting and informing the development of education in the Pacific Islands (Oceania) region. Accordingly, it reconsiders the conceptualization and practice of the field by unpacking understandings of CIE with specific reference to the Pacific Islands. I argue that advancing the field in Oceania entails critical examination of context, of persisting colonial legacies in education and the broader social, economic, and political landscape. Considerations of these discourses identify some of the tensions, contradictions, and ambivalences that eventuate as “education for national development” is reconciled with indigenous knowledges and the intellectual traditions that sustain Pacific island communities. Adopting a postcolonial perspective, this chapter explores recent educational initiatives in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Solomon Islands. These initiatives reveal the complexities and multifaceted dynamics that underpin the context of Pacific Islands systems of education. They also reflect how Pacific educational leaders negotiate global imperatives for education while observing indigenous knowledge systems and cultural values. The lessons drawn from these case studies suggest that comparative education scholars need to rethink partnerships with colleagues and neighbors in consideration of Pacific and indigenous (including Australia and New Zealand) cultural protocols of engagement by honoring respect and reciprocity, mutual benefit, and empowerment. Such conceptual and practical reconsiderations may facilitate an assessment of the impact of western intellectual contributions on systems of education in Oceania.

Abstract

Higher education institutions around the world compete with one another in the internationalization zone. One of the biggest competitions centers on the mobility of students fighting for the share from the student market pie. The Turkish higher education system, as an emerging competitor, also participates in this competition. While many studies focus on international students in Turkish higher education institutions, the literature lacks information about why Turkish institutions participate in this game, and what tools and strategies they use in this endeavor. This study examined the rationales and strategies of higher education institutions using a semistructured online survey data collected from international offices at participating institutions. Findings revealed that Turkish higher education institutions attract international students to create a multicultural environment by increasing diversity at the campus and to increase the quality of the institution. In contrast to the findings in the literature, seeing international students as institutional revenue source was not among the rationales mentioned by the participant institutions. Besides the rationales, findings also revealed the strategies institutions use for their international student recruitment. Paralleling with the trending mechanisms used worldwide, Turkish institutions use similar strategies such as participating in fairs and events, advertisement through technology, web and social media, and using agents; however, there are also unique mechanisms created by Turkish institutions including visiting parents of current international students, high school visits, and summer camps as effective strategies. Additional research, with broader scope and depth is needed to better understand the internationalization of Turkish higher education.

Abstract

The intellectual and academic legitimacy of Comparative Education has been a critical issue in the international debate for a long time now. The fragility of the field is well known and understood. Despite frictions and misunderstandings, there are academic and professional structures robust enough to sustain the identity of the field in numerous countries on all continents. In Romania, there are no systematic concerns related to Comparative Education as an epistemologically autonomous field. Moreover, we cannot even argue for the existence of enough academic infrastructures to support Comparative Education as a research direction. But as countries in the world cannot afford to ignore global trends in terms of economy, technology, culture, Romania cannot disregard developments of educational policies and practices in Europe and throughout the world. Globalization and interconnections between contemporary societies raise common challenges for education systems in the world, and these are eventually reflected in national academic discourses. The major objectives of the present chapter are the following: (1) proposing an inventory of causes that led to the delay in establishing Comparative Education as an autonomous research field in Romania and (2) identifying progresses and accumulations that could lead to establishing Comparative Education as an explicit rather than tangential research field in Romania.

Abstract

The significant contribution and relevance of Comparative and International Education (CIE) mainly depends on how closely it studies the interplay between society and education, considering what is dubbed as the global and the local. Many CIE studies including critical reviews seems to dwell on the topic, purpose, conceptual, and methodological aspects of the field, magnifying what appears to be the global. Our understanding of the role particular sociocultural, economic, and political contexts play in education seems inconclusive. Using appropriate analytical frameworks that delineate society–education dynamics, this study further problematizes the comparative and international elements of CIE area studies, with a focus on context analysis. The critical review considers area studies published over the last seven years in leading CIE journals and answers this question: How and to what extent do CIE area studies operationalize context analysis? The aim is not so much to bring consensus but to further highlight tensions and issues in conducting context-sensitive comparative and international education studies. The findings indicate that CIE research over the last seven years does not seem to live up to the expectation of producing meaningfully contextualized knowledge. The role of context analysis in CIE research seems ill defined and practiced. Alternative explanations for this and considerations for further scholarship are discussed.

Index

Pages 311-319
Content available
Cover of Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2017
DOI
10.1108/S1479-3679201834
Publication date
2018-02-05
Book series
International Perspectives on Education and Society
Editor
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78743-766-1
eISBN
978-1-78743-765-4
Book series ISSN
1479-3679