After reading this chapter you should be able to:

i) Identify and explain the various developmental stages in comparative education.

ii) Describe the major characteristics of each developmental stage.

iii) Assess the relevance of each developmental stage in the study of comparative education.

The Genesis of Comparative Education

Many scholars of comparative education have ventured into the discovery of the genesis of comparative education. On the whole there seems to be no specific time in which the discipline of comparative education originated. However the search for the origins of comparative education has made many scholars to look back hopefully to time immemorial. For example, Fredrick Schneider and Franz Hilker of Germany sought European precedents in education. William Brickmann in the U.S.A. led the quest and search for the origin of comparative education and educators. His work includes several articles on the subject which dates back as far as to Herodotus (484-425Bc) as a competent cultural comparativist was assumed in the ancient world.

For purpose of this course, the genesis of comparative education will therefore be looked at in light of phases or stages based on major characteristics activities of each phase.

These phases are;

i)                    The phase of Travelers Tales i.e. Pre-history to end of 18th century.

ii)                   Period of Pioneers or Phase of Selective Education Borrowing i.e. during the 19th century.

iii)                 The phase of concern for Cultural Context or Period of Philosophers i.e. from 1900 to end of World War II.

iv)                 The phase of Social Science perspective i.e. from1945 to the present.

The phases used here are to signify changes in the historical development of comparative education and are actually retrospective and imposed ones. They do not indicate precise or sudden turning points. These changes are gradual.  This means that towards the end of one phase the next phase was already evident in the work perspective observers. At the same times entry into a new phase does not mean a compete break from the previous phase. There is always an over-lap of the phases in time and space. We now look at each phase at independently;

The Phase of Traveler’s Tales

Historically people visited places for various reasons such as commerce, conversation, curiosity or conflict. However everyone who has ever been interested in the upbringing of children or in education in general has always tended to find out what goes on in other communities. Studies of early writers of comparative education indicate that they drew examples from other societies that they visited or heard about. They actually tended to look for differences and similarities in respect to education of other communities and their own.

This phase was marked by descriptive reports of travelers who comprised military conquerors, business expeditions and even explorers. The motives for accounts of travelers' tales were partly curiosity and the need for comparison. They gave descriptive account of features in foreign systems of educational as they saw them. Their reports on education was fragmental, generally unsystematic, exaggerated at times and understatements at other times. Although they were stimulating they were superficial and piecemeal and as such were of little comparative value but worth considering. Some of the contributors during this phase were;

Herodotus (484-425 BC) - in his commentaries on the Persian wars he attempted a comparison of culture.

Xenophon (430-355 BC) -An Athenian, he gave a detailed account of the education for citizenship given to the youth in Persia. He compared the aims and structure of education in Persian and Sparta. According to him, he admired the Spartan education and wished that the Athenians could copy it.

Plato- A Greek philosopher compared the aims and structure of the Spartan and Greek systems. In his two books i.e. "The law" and "The Republic" he compared education system in Sparta and Athens. Like Xenophon he admired the Spartan education system which was state controlled and emphasized on discipline which was military type. He went ahead and argued that the Athenian education was likely to bring about permissiveness and lack of social order. He therefore recommended that the Athenians should copy Sparta.

Julius Caesar (102-42BC) - As the Roman emperor he also described how children were educated in countries beyond Rome. He also admired especially the Spartan state controlled education system. He also commented on education of the Belgian, Acquitanians and Celts as indicated in his writings on Gallic wars.

Cicero (106-43BC) - He made comparisons between Greek and Roman education. In his book "De Republica" (57BC) he explained that he favoured state controlled system as opposed to a family centered system. In his "De Oratore" he claimed that Greece was far better than every other nation in the practice of eloquence and hence in education.

Tacitus (AD 55-116) - He contrasted the education in his own day with that of earlier periods, He even began the long history of the ‘'past versus the present" debate.

Marco Polo (13th century) - He traveled to the court of Kublai Khan in China and reported about the Chinese education system. He observed that there were no quarrels in schools in China and that honesty and truthfulness were emphasized. He further observed that men and women lived together peacefully in China a fact he attributed to the education system. However in the 19th century it was noted that the Chinese education system contributed to the corrupt government system and breaking of laws such as cruelty to prisoners.

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1506) -A Tunisian born scholar who made comparison between the Eastern Moslem culture and that of the west. He emphasized the need to establish similarities and differences between the present and the past. He also advocated for the need to know the causes of the similarities in certain cases and of the differences in others.

Jacop Middendorp (German) -was sent by his government to find information about universities in France, Italy, Denmark, Poland and Bohemia.

Erasmus (1496-1536) - a scholar during the Renaissance, he gave detailed information about education in different countries, comparing the state of education in England in his time with that of Italy.

Montaigne (1533-1592) - From France he traveled widely to Germany, Italy and other European countries and gave account on the education of the people he visited.

William Petty (1623-1687) - A professor of Anatomy at Oxford University and founder of the Royal society, presented a more scholarly approach to the observation of foreign counties in his book" The methods of enquiring into the state of any country."
Le Chatolais (1773) and Diderot (1776) - From Russia, they compared the Russian education with that of France.

Condorcet (France) - After the French Revolution, he compared the French education system with that of England, Italy and Germany. He gave his report to the National Assembly.

From the account of the scholars mentioned above, it should be noted that during ancient time, there were examples of individuals with interest in comparisons of all kind. During the (13th-15th centuries) travel of one kind or another became greater in length and more comprehensive in character. During the 16th century cases of embryonic comparative education research became more frequent. This was partly due to the impetus of geographical exploration and discovery of the time. As such there were writings, of traveling scholars and others sent to other countries to study education. During the 17th century there was increasing and more significant international contacts as foreign travel not only became more possible, but more and more common. During this time, travelers guide books, became available and recommended that the travelers should observe school activities in the countries they toured. They were also to consider and gather information on libraries, lectures, school debate, among other key educational activities. Learning institutions especially universities during this period and after the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe also made some contributions to the development of comparative education.

Is this phase relevant to the present day theory and practice of education?

From the above accounts of the travelers' tales phase, the present day theory and practice can derive the following relevance;

i) Features of traveler's tales still remain with us in the work of journalists and other education trippers.

ii) The report of travelers' tales is an informal way of getting to know the experience of other societies. They actually form the first step of understanding education in other countries.

iii) Teachers can use stories given by these travelers on their return from visits to other countries, as an addition to their learning experience in schools.

The eye-witnesses accounts are still deemed as valuable and relevant in research today. In fact the novels and stories about other countries are all commendable in our present day educational practice.


Please explain whether  this phase relevant to the present day theory and practice of education?

The Phase of Selective Education Borrowing (1817-1900)

Historically the 19th century Europe was characterized by the aftermath of the French Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Agrarian Revolution and the Colonization process. Education reformers at this time were concerned with the social and political conditions of these revolutions and the reaction of the masses. In education they saw the means of moral improvement and social amelioration. Education reformers were concerned that the ability of individual school system to improve themselves faced a lot of oppositions even where there were good intentions. This brought the need to share the best ideas and practices available in many countries. In this regard there was a significant change of approach that suggested a more systematic and comprehensive collection of data and in turn "selective borrowing" in education.

This phase can be said to have been characterized and motivate by two main factors. The first, being the efforts aimed at developing a methodology or a system of rules and regulations that ought to be followed when studying foreign systems of education. The second, being the drive to learn lessons from foreign systems for the sole purpose of borrowing educational ideals. These two factors resulted in journey to foreign countries by travelers with special interest in educational matters. At this time, there were serious attempts of observations and study of other systems of education. In this phase travelers no longer traveled for general curiosity and enlightment, but rather they wanted to discover what was going on in education in other countries in order to identify what aspects they would borrow for improving their own systems of education.

Some of the scholar attributed to this phase and hence the development of comparative education include;

Victor cousin (1792-1867) - He lived in France at time when Europe was in chaos after the Napoleonic wars. He was a professor of philosophy and head of France's normal school. After the Napoleonic wars there was need to bring reform in France. He visited Prussia and investigated its education with the aim of finding out areas of relevance for reform of education in France. In (1813) he wrote a report and recommended selective education borrowing from Prussian experience. He believed that with this borrowing rivalry and antipathies would be out of place. As such he said people of stature should not be afraid to borrow from wherever and whatever is appropriate.

Horrace Mann (1796-1859) - From America, he visited Prussia, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Holland and England. His experience in these foreign countries led him to conclude that history provided an explanation for the conditions which he saw. According to him he saw the role of history in comparative education studies as that of illuminating present problems. He argued that many features of Prussian education could be useful in America despite the gap he saw between the political and social ideas of the two countries.

Henry Barnard (1811-1900) - From America, he visited Europe and was impressed with the Prussian education ideas on education like his colleague Horrace Mann. He actually founded the "Connecticut common school journal" where he prepared and published many of his report and details on foreign systems of education, and between 1856-1881, he edited and published a journal entitled "The American journal of Education". He also presented statistical material from various education systems in his publications as well as historical and descriptive data of a comparative nature.

Mathew Arnold (1822-1888) - From England, he advocated for an expansion of state activities in education because of what he had seen for himself on tours which took him several times to the continent of Europe. He recommended that the people of England should look at what the French and other countries on the continent of Europe were doing. According to him if this was done in England or a similar thing on the same principle then he said that the English system of education would be better off. For him he advocated for the borrowing of positive points of continental systems of education. However, he cautioned on the dangers of making comparisons based on analysis of inadequate statistical data.

K.D. Ushinsky (1824-1870) - From Russia, he read works of European educational reformers and attempted to introduce many views into the schools with which he was associated. He also visited foreign countries in order to observe educational institutions and so conduct educational studies. He acknowledged national differences in systems of education. As a result he emphasized the non-transferability of national traditions as they affected education. However, he suggested the possible transfer of general schemes across national boundaries.

Marc Antoine Julian de Paris (1775-1848) - He was born in 1775 in Paris and as he grew up, he distinguished himself as a scholar. He lived during the time of Napoleon and the Napoleonic wars. He actually became a diplomat in Napoleon's government. In his travel, he noticed the crisis created by the Napoleonic wars. He was concerned about deterioration of the society after wars. He was further disturbed by the social and political conditions of revolution in the early 19th century in Europe. He believed that the political and business life of France was based on oneself interest. He saw educations as a provider of solution to those problems and a positive science which could be used to improve the French society through systematic and rigorous approach of comparative analysis. In 1817, he published a book entitled "Plan and Preliminary views of work in Comparative Education". His plan gave a comprehensive scheme for a comparative study of foreign systems of education. The purpose of his visits to other countries was to use foreign examples, to stimulate the French system of education. However he was concerned that the ability of individual school system to improve themselves was limited. He actually proposed the established of an Educational commission to collect and distribute information among member educational states. The collection of facts and observations arranged in analytical charts would permit both to be related and compared. The establishment of a National Institute of Education as a demonstration centre for the best teaching methods in Europe.

As a result of his recommendations Jullien is said to have impacted greatly on the development of comparative education in the following ways;

i) From his works "Comparative Educational Plans and Preliminary View on Comparative Education" comparative methodologies and analytical methods emerged. These have continued to influence the development and study of comparative education to date.

ii) From the recommendation that a Bureau of Education be started in Europe, which came to being, this latter culminated into the establishment of UNESCO as part of the United Nations programmes.

iii) From the recommendation of collection of facts and observations arranged in analytical charts, which enable one to relate and compare issues, educational borrowing became a method in comparative education. The aim was transplanting. This kind of borrowing involves cataloguing of data and lessons on borrowing.

iv) Scholars such as Victor Cousin and others used his recommendations to study foreign education system with an intention to transplant. However their studies were more descriptive and not analytical.

v) Following the industrial Revolution, came Imperialism and the Missionary movements. These took their education systems and planted them in the new lands. They were actually influenced by the work of Jullien.

vi) Educational administrators, reformers, politician, and experts in various field no longer traveled for general curiosity, but they did this to specifically discover what was happening in education overseas in order to improve their own systems.

vii) From his recommendations also, various national agencies were established for the collection and distribution of information about education, for example, the United States Office of Education (1867), the Mussee Pedagogigue in Paris (1879), and the Office of Special Inquiring and Reports in London (1895).

viii) Also by the end of the 19th century most governments were increasingly funding and encouraging studies on foreign education system and as a result promoting the development of comparative education.

Does the phase of selective Education Borrowing have relevance to present day theory and practice of education?

A thorough look into this phase reveals that the accounts given were both "descriptive" and "utilitarian" in purpose. In education today, descriptive studies are considered valuable and relevant. Also all educational stake holders endeavor to make education useful and hence utilitarian. People still make visits to other countries or institutions for the purpose of observing what they may consider to be of value to them and bring it back to be used at the home situation. This further implies the importance of learning from experiences of others in order to improve institutions and even on own system of education.


Explain the major characteristics of this phase.

The Phase of Cultural Context or the Period of Philosophers (1900-1945)

This phase or period is also referred to as the period of cultural analysis.  There was general uneasiness by many scholars about descriptive studies. During this period emphasis in comparative education shifted from description to analysis. Scholars at this time were mainly interested in the relations between education and the society.  In practice governments were encouraging and even sponsoring studies  of foreign system of education and those who got involved in these studies became more concerned with problems, of comparison.  It was observed that, it was not enough to only accumulate masses of information about education practices in other countries or simply borrow practices indiscriminately.  The question of interpreting observed practices in context and of judging or predicting whether a particular arrangement or practice could be transplanted successfully in the home situation had to be dealt with critically.

The desire to move from the descriptive and sometimes uncritical approach of the earlier phase to a more analytical approach can be said to be the major motivation and characteristic of this phase. During this phase there was an increasing trend towards analytical studies of interrelationships between education practice and the society.  This became more generally recognized and accepted.  There also grew a major concern to understand some of factors which helped to shape systems of education in different countries.  At this time the problem for comparative educationist was no longer one of selective educational borrowing alone, but also one of predicting the possible success of educational transplant through a thorough knowledge of cultural contexts in both the donor and the recipient country.  Many comparative educationists were concerned with accounting for the features of existing systems of education in terms of the forces or factors that shaped them to be the way they were. Some of the scholars who made their contributions during these phase include;

Michael Saddler (1886-1943) - From England, he noted that "in studying foreign systems of education we should  not forget that the things outside the school matter even more than the things inside the schools, and in most cases they actually govern and interpret  the things inside the school''. He argued that education and society are closely related and that schools must be studied in the context of the society.  He further stated that comparisons cannot be made on statistics only, but that the social, political, economic and other factors should be looked into as well. He pointed out that a national system of education is a living thing.  It often lays special emphasis on those parts of training which the national character particularly needs. He argued that the value of studying foreign systems of educationist often results in our being better fitted to study and understand our own system.  He cautioned on the dangers of piecemeal education borrowing while maintaining the importance of the schools cultural context.  His main theoretical emphasis was that schools of society must be studied in the context of the society. He used sociological and historical data to explain trends in education.

William Torrey Harris (1835-1909) - From America, he cautioned on the need for care in the use of statistics in education particularly statistics of foreign systems of education. He argued that each individual state puts its own stamp on its education system. According to him, it is not possible to borrow from another system as easily and as really as one might like to, because, what   may work in one social situation may not be suitable for another. He further argued that comparative studies could reveal universal relations between education and society.  This is because a nation's system of education is strongly affected by its culture and consequently embodies ideals reflecting that culture and in turn it gives a basis for comparative enquiry for those who are interested in the outcome of educational policies in different countries. To a great extent, he said that education does break down the caste system and also brings democracy in society.

Isaac Kandel (1881-1965) - From America, at Teachers' college in Columbia University. He published many journals and wrote numerous books. In 1933, he published a book entitled "Studies in Comparative Education" which for a long time was a standard textbook in comparative education. In 1954 he revised and published the first work and entitled it "The New era in Education: A comparative study".  His main concern was on the forces and factors which shaped and account for the existing system education. To him he sought to find out why events occurred, when and as they did occur, and which characteristics occurred in the place they did.  He argued that every nation has a character, which is a result of its history and philosophy.  This he emphasized it should be studied because the character of the school can only be understood through understanding the country's national character. He also argued that the school cannot be understood outside society. He also observed that broad social movements and political wars across national boundaries affect national systems differently.  To him he did not believe in borrowing.

Nicholas Hans (England) - He worked at the University of London, King's college and he published a work on "World Year book of Education" He became a regular contributor to the annual issues of the year book of education. In 1949, he published his book entitled "Comparative Education: A study of Educational Factors and Traditions".  This book has also been used as a textbook of comparative education in many institutions of learning. Hans, like his contemporarily Saddler and Kandel was also more concerned with accounting for the existing systems of education in terms of the force and factors which shape these systems of education of different countries.

With the works of Kandel and Hans courses in comparative education became part of teacher training programmes, in many colleges and universities around the world during this period. In fact those that taught comparative education tend to follow the format, content and style of textbooks authored by scholars during this period.

As more scholars and individuals got interested in the development of comparative education some national and international agencies were also formed. For example, the International Bureau of Education (IBE) was established in Geneva in (1925). Some of the main functions of these agencies included; to study education problems of international concern and dissemination of education data world-wide.

Does the phase of cultural context have relevance to the present day theory and practice of education?

The phase emphasized the need to understand features in systems of education in terms of factors and forces which shape these educational systems. This process does help in establishing similarities and difference in systems of education and offers explanation as to why things are as they are.  As such the motivation and activities of this phase have relevance to the theory and practice of education today.


Examine the challenges experienced by scholars during this period.

The Phase of Social Science Perspectives -1945 to present

This is the period that is presumed to have just started after the Second World War. It brought about a completely new scenario. In essence there has been an increase in interest and activity in comparative education.  Two main aspects stand out in this phase.  The first one is the establishment of new and influential national and international agencies that are involved in educational inquiry, planning and programme implementation. Also closely related are comparative educationists who see the field of comparative education as most productive in the future in terms of more involvement in international projects in education that are potentially of a reformative kind.  The second aspect is the recognition and increased activity in the study and teaching of comparative education as a discipline in colleges, universities and establishment of comparative educational centers for research.  With this new emphasis, there was a shift from descriptive accounts to a social science approach.

In this period, concern for the analysis of the antecedent factors became less and more emphasis lay on analyzing the relationship of the contemporary issues in society and education. In terms of methodology the mode of analysis has shifted from historical to more quantitative and empirical, using techniques such as sociology, economics, philosophy and political science approaches.  Comparative educationists emphasize the need to organize and interpret facts collected so that, the collected information or data can be translated into systems that offer explanation and theories regarding the collected data.  As a result, comparative educationists have been pre-occupied with debates in an effort to identify the best method of conducting comparative education studies so as to yield the most valid data and information that can be used by all stake holders in terms of education practice and reforms.

With the emergencies of a new scenario in the world order, a new generation of scholars also emerged. Faced with the problem of educational reforms, the scholars and educational administrators took a new look and interest in comparative education.  This has also brought in various experts who prefer to use their own techniques as they deal with comparative education issues.  Among them are those scholars who still use the historians' mode of analysis, philosophers who use philosophical techniques, sociologists who use sociological techniques and even the psychologists and economists have entered into the field of comparative education and are known to  use their research techniques. This therefore calls for the use of inter -disciplinary method of inquiry where social scientists collaborate with comparative educationist to analyze common problems and examine various national solutions with the intention of increasing the theoretical insight that will promote education reform. Some of the scholars who have made substantial effort in the development of comparative education during this phase include;

Vernon Mallinson (Britain) - He uses the concept of national character as a means of explaining the similarities and differences that exist in systems of education. In 1957, he published a book entitled "An Introduction to the Study of Comparative Education" where he explains the concept of "national character" and how it determines the kind of education that a country follows. In this concept of national character he shows how differences between education systems come about.  He also published several other articles that mainly emphasized aspects, of the French, Belgian, German, Dutch and Italian education systems.

Joseph A. Lauwerys (Britain) - He was a professor of comparative education at the University of London, Institute of Education (1947). He is known for his devotion and contribution to the continuation of the World year book of Education period in association with Columbia University, New York, This work contributed to the support of the much needed international data collection and expansion of comparative education courses. He actually stressed the need to collect reliable data on an international scale in orders to facilitate comparisons in education.

George Z. F. Beredy (1920-1983) - An American professor of comparative education at the Teachers' College, Columbia University, New York.  He edited many publications including "Comparative Education Review" and "Yearbook of Education". In 1964 he published a book entitled "Comparative Methods in Education." In this book he stated clearly his beliefs about the purposes that comparative education should seek to achieve and the methods it should follow.  He is actually remembered for the "Systematic Area Studies Approach" in comparative education that he popularized as a scholar.

Brian Holmes (England) - He was a professor of comparative education and worked closely with Hans and Lauwerys, at the University of London, Institute of Education. His major contribution was in the search for a comparative education methodology. He eventually popularized the "Problem Solving Approaches as a Methodology in comparative education research. He published two books one in 1965, entitled "Problems in Education: A comparative Approach" and the second one in 1981, entitled "Comparative Education: Some consideration of Methods". Both books reflect his major interest in the methodology of comparative education and are major textbooks used by students of comparative education even today.

Edmond J. King (England) - He was a professor of Education, at the University of London, King's college. He inherited the legacy of Nicholas Hans who was also at the King's College. He wrote several books including "Other schools and ours" (1958) and "Comparative Studies and Educational Decision" (1968). He was the general editor of the Pergamon press "Society and school Progress" series which covered a number of countries by way of area studies. He distinguished between what was appropriate for students who were beginners in the field of comparative education and those who already had some background in comparative education, and those who were engaged in research work.

Harold Noah form Columbia University and Max Eckstein from the City University of New York. They advocated for methods of comparative education which they offered to be characterized by systematic, controlled, empirical and where possible apply quantitative investigations. They co-authored two books i.e. "Towards science of comparative Education'' (1969) and "Scientific Investigations in Comparative Education'' (1969), which was a collection of readings that illustrated their general approach.  These works also contributed to the refinement of methodology in comparative education. Institutions of higher learning also contributed to the development of comparative education during this phase. Some of the renown universalities that established comparative education studies included among others, London, Columbia, Berlin, Chicago, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Hamburg, Nashville, Reading and Salzburg. In African, Asia and Latin America, many universities have also established comparative education centers and they even teach it as an academic discipline today.

Other players to the development of comparative education during this phase include; International, regional and national agencies, for example, the International Bureau of Education, UNESCO, UNICEF among others. Their main functions include, collecting analyzing and disseminating educational documentation and information. These are also involved in undertaking surveys and project studies in the field of comparative Education. A number of Education Societies have also been formed by individuals, interested in the field of comparative education. Their main aims include; initiating and coordinating researched and also to co-operate with other persons, and organizations interested in international and comparative studies.  Some of the comparative education societies that were established include comparative education society New York (1958). British and German sections of the society were also established. Canada, Korea, Japan and Africa have also established similar comparative education societies. All these societies are affiliated to the World Council of Comparative Societies.

Besides the contribution of individual, and educations organizations to the development of comparative education during this phase, this phase was and is also marked by very many characteristics which include;

  • An explosion of knowledge - the challenge of this is how this knowledge ought to be disseminated. This would imply that teachers have to acquire new roles.
  • Drive for knowledge world wide - a common phenomenon where everybody everywhere wants education both in the developed and developing world.
  • Drive for liberty through liberation struggles both political and ideological. Education has been at the centre of these struggles. This has also witnessed the emergence of education for the masses, for political, economic, cultural and intellectual liberalization.
  • Rapid urbanization and Industrialization which has greatly impacted on education.
  • Population explosion - this has led to population related problems. For example, in Kenya over 50% of the population is of school-going age. This means that their education and upkeep has to be catered for by a very small working population.
  • Increasing concern for quality education. There has been need to emphasis on education that is relevant to the life and needs of the students and the society they are to serve. This has created a lot of interest in education worldwide. Comparative educationists have been called upon by international agencies to help solve these myriad educational challenges.
  • Comparative education as an academic discipline has become part f the development of specialized interdisciplinary fields of study that emerged with the expansion of graduate education in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa among others.
  • The world power shifts. After the two world wars, there was an accelerated shift of world power from the Great Britain to the U.S.A. and U.S.SR. Communism and Capitalism took centre stage and the world was divided accordingly. This had a big effect on national systems of education.
  • As time went by the U.S.A assuming centre place in world politics, there has been great need for American presence in and understanding of the cultures and education of other countries. In this regard many universities have established departments of comparative education.
  • With the collapse of communism in the mid 1980s the power structure in the world changed. The new world order has the U.S.A. in a steering position with its loyal lieutenants, i.e. IMF and World Bank. Their policies have made significant impacts in education the world over. For example the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPS) led to the freezing of employment of teachers in Kenya in 1998 among other impacts.
  • Arising from the cold war there was a great concern for scientific and technological development especially after the launch of the Sputnik in 1957 by Russia. This concern led to massive funding of research in science education. The third world countries also experienced increased funding and as such comparative educationists were in the centre of these endeavors. In this regard many agencies such as the Ford Foundation, Carnegie foundation and many others funded research and development of comparative education as part of a wider U.S.A. foreign policy.
  • A major issue on methodology in comparative education emerged and researchers and scholars like Beredy, Holmes and Arnold Noah were engaged in active debate on this.
  • Today comparative education is taught in many universities at both undergraduate and graduate levels. There are also many publications i.e. books, journals and magazines on comparative education. This has been propagated by the numerous national, regional and international comparative education societies and associations that bring together scholars in comparative education.

Does the phase of social science perspective have any relevance to present-day theory and practice in education?

This phase has been a major provider of information, data and advice in the process of reconstruction for peace through education. Comparative educationists have also been motivated to work with personnel in systems of education and international organizations with the view of providing information and other relevant data and advice as may be required. As such comparative educationists have been giving sound advice to various states and international societies for educational reforms.

Chapter Review

Having read the chapter please answer the following questions;

i) Name the four phases in the development of comparative education.

ii) Describe the background conditions that led to the development of each phase.

iii) Describe the motivation and contributions of individuals in each of the four phases.

iv) Analyze the relevance of each of the four phases to the theory and practice of education today.



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