SIG proposal

 

Cross-national Educational Borrowing and Transfer

 

The discussion of ‘borrowing’ or ‘lending’ educational policies is central to ‘one of the oldest and most controversial theory traditions in comparative education’ (Zymek & Zymek, 2004, p.25). Long before terms such as ‘globalization’, the ‘global learning society’, or ‘McDonaldization’ (Ritzer, 2000) were cited as reasons for looking at the foreign example, education systems and practices have been the subject of international investigation. The cross-national transfer of educational practices was sparked by cross-cultural curiosity, political motives, altruistic interest, and economic competition. As early as 1900, during his address at the Guildford Educational Conference, Michael Sadler asked, ‘How far can we learn anything of practical value from the study of foreign systems of education?’ He claimed that:

 

The practical value of studying, in a right spirit and with scholarly accuracy, the working of foreign systems of education is that it will result in our being better fitted to study and to understand our own (Sadler, 1900, in: Higginson, 1979, p.50).

 

As Edmund King put it, mapping the experience of other countries can contribute directly to policy making and the implementation of educational practice, and provide guidance in applying specific findings to practice (King, 1968). And from understanding our own systems of education comes the motivation to improve, to reform, to innovate, or to ameliorate educational practices, policies, learning environments, educational objectives, or student outcomes. As Gita Steiner-Khamsi points out, ‘Implicitly, the semantics of globalization promotes de-territorialization and de-contextualization of reform, and challenges the past conception of education as a culturally bounded system’ (Steiner-Khamsi, 2004, p.5). The centrality of context in education is widely recognized by scholars in comparative and international education, and successful practices by NGOs, foundations, and development organizations.

 

In recent annual CIES meetings, we have seen a growth in research across a ‘continuum of educational transfer’ (Ochs & Phillips, 2004, p.9), ranging from: cases of imposed educational transfer (e.g. totalitarian / authoritarian rule) or lending (Steiner-Khamsi, 2004) to foreign educational practices of policies ‘required under constraint’ (e.g. during a period of occupation) to educational ‘borrowing’ (Phillips, 1989) (i.e. the ‘conscious adoption in one context of policy observed in another’ (Phillips & Ochs, 2004, p.774)). Established scholars and students have published analyses of educational transfer across this spectrum and the globe, including: South Africa (Spreen, 2004; Jansen, 2004); Eastern Europe (Silova, 2004; deJong-Lambert, 2004); Western Europe (Ochs, 2005; Caruso, 2004); Asia (Shibata, 2004); and spanning continents (Tanaka, 2003). Some scholars have focused their research on the role of significant actors, including the World Bank (Jones, 2004). Others have studied the phenomenon of ‘borrowing’ the foreign example to use in policy discourse at home: to caution against educational reform; to ‘glorify’ current education at home in comparison to other nations (Steiner-Khamsi, 2004); to legitimate the adoption or reform of education policy at home (Gonon, 1998; Novoa & Yariv-Mashal, 2003; Steiner-Khamsi, 2004; Halpin & Troyna; 1995); or to ‘scandalise’ practices at home (Steiner-Khamsi, 2004).

 

The proposed SIG would serve as a forum within CIES to bring together international scholars and practitioners to spark further collaboration and close the gap between research and praxis.

 

Please contact Dr. Kimberly Ochs to join this SIG or to address any questions, at:

Kimberly@kimberlyochs.com

 

REFERENCES

 

Caruso, M. (2004). Locating Educational Authority: teaching monitors, educational meanings and the importing of pedagogical models. Spain and the German States in the Nineteenth Century. In D. Phillips & K. Ochs (Eds.), Educational Policy Borrowing: Historical Perspectives (pp.59-87). Oxford Studies in Comparative Education. Oxford: Symposium Books.

 

deJong-Lambert, W. (2004). The Politics of Constructing Scientific Knowledge: Lysenkoism in Poland. In G. Steiner-Khamsi (Ed.) The Global Politics of Educational Borrowing and Lending (pp.129-140). New York: Teachers College Press.

 

Gonon, P. (1998). Das Internationale Argument in der Bildungsreform. Bern: Peter Lang.

 

Halpin, D. & Troyna, B. (1995). The Politics of Education Policy Borrowing. Comparative Education, 31(3), 303-310.

 

Jansen, J. (2004). Importing Outcomes-Based Education into South Africa: Policy Borrowing in a Post-Communist World. In D. Phillips & K. Ochs (Eds.), Educational Policy Borrowing: Historical Perspectives (pp.199-220). Oxford Studies in Comparative Education. Oxford: Symposium Books.

 

Jones, P. (2004). Taking the Credit: Financing and Policy Linkages in the Education Portfolio of the World Bank. In G. Steiner-Khamsi (Ed.) The Global Politics of Educational Borrowing and Lending (pp.188-200). New York: Teachers College Press.

 

King, E. (1968). Comparative Studies and Educational Decision. Indianapolis / New York: Bobbs-Merrill.

 

Novoa, A. & Yariv-Mashal, T. (2003). Comparative Research in Education: a mode of governance or a historical journey? Comparative Education, 39(4), 423-438.

 

Ochs, K. (2005). Educational Policy Borrowing and its Implications for Reform and Innovation: A Study with Specific Reference to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham(Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Oxford). Oxford, England.

 

Ochs, K.  & Phillips, D. (2004). Processes of Educational Borrowing in Historical Context. In D. Phillips & K. Ochs (Eds.), Educational Policy Borrowing: Historical Perspectives. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education (pp.7-23). Oxford: Symposium Books.

 

Phillips, D. (1989). Neither a borrower not a lender be? The problems of cross-national attraction in education. Cross-National Attraction in Education, Special Issue, Comparative Education, 25(3), 267-274.

 

Phillips, D. & Ochs, K. (2004). Researching Policy Borrowing: Some Methodological Problems in Comparative Education. British Educational Research Journal, 30(6), 773-784.

 

Ritzer, G. (2000). The McDonaldization of Society: New Century Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

 

Sadler, M. (1900). ‘How far can we learn anything of practical value from the study of foreign systems of education?’ Address of 20 October. In J.H. Higginson (Ed.), Selections from Michael Sadler (pp.48-51). Liverpool: Dejall & Meyorre.

 

Shibata, M. (2004). Educational Borrowing in Japan in the Meiji and Post-War Eras. In D. Phillips & K. Ochs (Eds.), Educational Policy Borrowing: Historical Perspectives. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education (pp.145-165). Oxford: Symposium Books.

 

Silova, I. (2004). Adopting the Language of the New Allies. In G. Steiner-Khamsi (Ed.) The Global Politics of Educational Borrowing and Lending (pp.75-87). New York: Teachers College Press.

 

Spreen, C. A.(2004). Appropriating Borrowed Policies: Outcomes-Based Education in South Africa. In G. Steiner-Khamsi (Ed.), The Global Politics of Education Borrowing and Lending (pp.101-113). New York: Teachers College Press.

 

Steiner-Khamsi, G. (Ed.)(2004). Lessons from Elsewhere: The Politics of Educational Borrowing & Lending. New York: Teachers College Press.

 

Tanaka, M. (2003). The Transfer of University Concepts and Practices between Germany, the United States, and Japan: A Comparative Perspectives. (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of London), London, England.

 

Zymek, B. & Zymek, R. (2004). Traditional – National – International. Explaining the Inconsistency of Educational Borrowers. In D. Phillips & K. Ochs (Eds.), Educational Policy Borrowing: Historical Perspectives. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education (pp.25-35). Oxford: Symposium Books.