Comparative education is a fully established academic field of study that examines education in one country (or group of countries) by using data and insights drawn from the practises and situation in another country, or countries. Programs and courses in comparative education are offered in many universities throughout the world, and relevant studies are regularly published in scholarly journals such as Comparative Education , International Review of Education , Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies , International Education Journal , International Journal of Educational Development , Comparative Education Review , and Current Issues in Comparative Education . The field of comparative education is supported by many projects associated with UNESCO and the national education ministries of various nations.
Objectives and Scope
According to Harold Noah (1985), and Farooq Joubish (2009), comparative education has four purposes:
- To describe educational systems, processes, or outcomes.
- To assist in the development of educational institutions and practices.
- To highlight the relationships between education and society.
- To establish generalized statements about education that are valid in more than one country.
Comparative education is often incorrectly assumed to exclusively encompass studies that compare two or more different countries. In fact, since its early days researchers in this field have often eschewed such approaches, preferring rather to focus on comparisons within a single country over time. Still, some large scale projects, such as the PISA and TIMSS studies, have made important findings through explicitly comparative macroanalysis of massive data sets.
Rationale for the Field
Many important educational questions can best be examined from an international and comparative perspective. For example, in the United States there is no nationwide certificate of completion of secondary education. This raises the question of what the advantages and disadvantages are of leaving such certification to each of the 50 states. Comparative education draws on the experience of countries such as Japan and France to show how a centralized system works, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of centralized certification.
Critics of comparative education refer to it as Policy Borrowing.
Comparative and International Education Society
The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) was founded in 1956 to foster "cross-cultural understanding, scholarship, academic achievement, and societal development through the international study of educational ideas, systems, and practices."
- World Council for Comparative Education Societies
- International Society for Comparative Adult Education
- Comparative Education Review
- Comparative research