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
- A Comparative Analysis of the Histories of Different Countries' Education Systems
- Mark Bray
- Nicholas Burbules
- Torsten Husen
- John W. Meyer
- Harold J. Noah
- Fernando Reimers
- Carlos Torres
Major Reference Handbooks
- Educational Research, Methodology and Measurement: An International Handbook. 2nd ed. Edited by J.P. Keeves. New York: Pergamon, 1997.
- International Handbook of Research in Arts Education. Edited by Liora Bresler. New York: Springer, 2006.
- International Encyclopedia of Adult Education and Training. 2nd ed. Edited by Albert C. Tuijnman. Oxford, UK; Tarrytown, NY: Pergamon, 1996.
- International Encyclopedia of National Systems of Education. 2nd ed. Edited by T. Neville Postlethwaite. Tarrytown, NY: Pergamon, 1995.
- International Companion to Education, Edited by Moon, B. Ben-Peretz, M & Brown S. London & NY: Routledge, 2000.
- International Handbook of Educational Change. Edited by Andy Hargreaves, et al. Boston,: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998.
- International Handbook of Educational Leadership and Administration. Edited by Kenneth Leithwood, et al. Boston: Kluwer Academic, 1996.
- International Handbook of Teachers and Teaching. Edited by Bruce J. Biddle, Thomas L. Good, Ivor F. Goodson. Boston,: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998.
- International Handbook of Women's Education. Edited by Gail P. Kelly. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989.
- Altbach, Philip G. Comparative Higher Education: Knowledge, the University, and Development. Greenwich, CT: Ablex Pub. Corp.,1998.
- Comparative Education Research Approaches and Methods. Edited by Mark Bray, Bob Adamson and Mark Mason. Hong Kong and Dordrecht: Springer, 2007.
- Emergent Issues in Education: Comparative Perspectives. Edited by Robert F. Arnove, Philip G. Altbach, and Gail P. Kelly. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992.
- Arnove, R. and Torres, C. eds (1999) Comparative Education: The Dialectic of the Global and the Local. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield.
- International Perspectives on Educational Reform and Policy Implementation. Edited by David S.G. Carter and Marnie H. O'Neill. Washington, DC: Falmer Press, 1995.
- Quality Assurance in Higher Education: An International Perspective. Edited by Gerald H. Gaither. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998.
- Higher Education Policy: An International Comparative Perspective. Edited by Leo Goedegebuure, et al. New York: Pergamon Press, 1994.
- Harold J. Noah and Max A. Eckstein. Toward a Science of Comparative Education (New York: Macmillan, 1969).
- Harold J. Noah and Max A. Eckstein. Secondary School Examinations: International Perspectives on Policies and Practice (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993). ISBN 0-300-05393-2.
- Harold J. Noah and Max A. Eckstein. Doing Comparative Education: Three Decades of Collaboration (Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong Press, 1998). ISBN 962-8093-87-8
- Gottlieb, Esther E. Are We Postmodern Yet? Historical and Theoretical Explorations in Comparative Education. In Moon, B. Ben-Peretz, M & Brown S., (eds.) International Companion to Education, pp. 153-175 London & NY: Routledge, 2000.
- Mazawi, A.E. & Sultana, R.G. (eds)(2010). Education and the Arab 'World'. Political Project, Struggles, and Geometries of Power. (New York: Routledge). ISBN 978-0-415-80034-1
- Reagan, Timothy G. Non-Western Educational Traditions : Alternative Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1996.
- Schriewer, Jürgen (2000). “Comparative Education Methodology in Transition: Towards the Study of Complexity?” Pp. 3-52. In Schreiwer, Jürgen (Ed.) Discourse Formation in Comparative Education. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
- Vulliamy, G., Lewin, K. and Stephens, D. (1990) Doing Educational Research in Developing Countries: Qualitative Strategies. Lewes: Falmer Press.
- Higher Education in an International Perspective : Critical Issues. Edited by Zaghloul Morsy and Philip G. Altbach. New York: Garland Pub., 1996.