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.
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:
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:
Caruso, M. (2004). Locating Educational Authority: teaching monitors,
educational meanings and the importing of pedagogical models.
W. (2004). The Politics of Constructing Scientific Knowledge: Lysenkoism in
Gonon, P. (1998). Das Internationale Argument in
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
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).
King, E. (1968). Comparative
Studies and Educational Decision.
Novoa, A. & Yariv-Mashal, T. (2003). Comparative Research in Education: a mode of governance or a historical journey? Comparative Education, 39(4), 423-438.
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Innovation: A Study with Specific Reference to the
Ochs, K. &
Phillips, D. (2004). Processes of Educational
Borrowing in Historical Context. In D. Phillips & K. Ochs (Eds.), Educational
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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
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).
Shibata, M. (2004). Educational Borrowing in
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Tanaka, M. (2003). The Transfer of University Concepts and Practices between
Zymek, B. & Zymek,
R. (2004). Traditional –
National – International. Explaining the Inconsistency
of Educational Borrowers. In D. Phillips & K. Ochs (Eds.), Educational
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