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Religion and Education
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Oxford Studies in Comparative Education

Religion and Education

comparative and international perspectives

Edited by MALINI SIVASUBRAMANIAM & RUTH HAYHOE

2018 paperback 388 pages, £52.00, ISBN 978-1-910744-01-7
https://doi.org/10.15730/books.101

DUE IN STOCK 4 December 2017 FREE delivery on all orders
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About the book

Despite the increased trend towards secularisation in state schooling, issues of religion and spirituality have remained important. Increased pluralism within societies through expanding migration patterns is changing the religious and cultural contours of many countries in Europe and North America, and is creating a need for a deeper understanding of religious diversity. However, the lack of religious or spiritual education within the educational curriculum leaves a moral vacuum that can become a space to be exploited by religious extremism. More recently, religiously motivated incidences of terrorism in several parts of the world have heightened prejudicial attitudes and distrust of certain religions, in particular. These are profound concerns and there is an urgency to examine how religion, religious education and interfaith initiatives can address such misconceptions. This book is thus timely, focusing on an area that is often neglected, particularly on the role of religion in education for sustainable development.
   While religious organisations and faith communities have had a long history of involvement in both schooling and social service delivery in many countries, their role in reaching development goals has not always been explicitly recognised, as is evident even in the United Nations’ most recently conceptualised 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Undeniably, the integration of religious dialogue into mainstream development issues is crucial because deep cleavages resulting from the issue of minority religious rights continue to give cause for concern and conflict in many countries. This edited book explores some of these tensions and issues and draws parallels across differing geographical contexts to help enhance our collective and comparative understanding of the role of religious education and institutions in advancing the post-2015 development agenda. The contributors to this volume each demonstrate that, while religion in education can contribute to understanding and respect, it is also a space that can be contested and co-opted. Without addressing the salience of religion, however, it will not be possible to foster peace and combat discrimination and prejudice. This book will be of interest to researchers, scholars and students in the field of comparative education and development, religious studies, theology and teacher development and training. This book may also be of interest to national and international policy makers. There are also numerous faith-based organisations, as well as other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on religion and education issues that may find these case studies a useful resource.

Contents [Please click on author name for summary]

Foreword (Keith Watson), 11-15

Malini Sivasubramaniam, Ruth Hayhoe Religion and Education from a Comparative and International Perspective: issues, tensions and possibilities, 17-25

SECTION ONE. INTERNATIONALISING/GLOBALISING RELIGIOUS VALUES

Katherine Marshall Global Education Challenges: exploring religious dimensions, 29-50

Jun Li Confucius Institutes and Classrooms as Educational Partnerships in Africa: the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development from a Confucian perspective, 51-66

Christina Hwang The Internationalization of Religious Higher Education: a comparative study of Christian universities in South Korea and Canada, 67-83

Sarfaroz Niyozov Islamic Education in Post-Soviet Tajikistan: a tool in creating and sustaining a nation-state , 85-109

Vilma Seeberg, Shujuan Luo, Ya Na The Role of the Church and Religious Learning of Young Women Migrant Workers in Western China, 111-129

Ruth Hayhoe Inter-religious Dialogue and Education: three historical encounters between Christianity, Buddhism and Confucianism, 131-148

SECTION TWO. CURRICULUM, PEDAGOGY AND SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

Mei-Yee Wong Religious Education in a Multi-religious Context: an examination of four religious schools in Hong Kong, 151-166

Xinyi Wu State Schooling and Religious Education for Muslim Hui Students in Northwestern China: changing perceptions and new developments, 167-182

Prapapat Niyom, Art-ong Jumsai Na Ayudhaya, Witit Rachatatanun , Benjamin Vokes The Buddhist Approach to a School-based Curriculum: the effective learning innovation that promotes human values to learners for sustainable living in Thailand, 183-201

Lauren Herzog, Nathaniel Adams Modernizing Islamic Education: Bangladesh and Senegal, 203-224

Malini Sivasubramaniam, Steve Sider Faith-based Low-fee Private Schools in Kenya and Haiti: the paradox of philanthropy and enterprise, 225-249

Yaacov J. Katz Religious Education in the Israeli State School System, 251-270

SECTION THREE. RELIGION IN POLICY PROCESSES AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION

L. Philip Barnes Religious Education in Northern Ireland: conflict, curriculum and criticism, 273-288

Huma Kidwai Mainstreaming Madrassas in India: resistance or co-optation?, 289-309

Elena Lisovskaya Religion’s Uneasy Return to the Russian School: a contested and inconsistent desecularization ‘from above’, 311-333

Ratna Ghosh, W. Y. Alice Chan The Role of Religious Education in Countering Religious Extremism in Diverse and Interconnected Societies, 335-350

Bruce A. Collet, Hyeyoung Bang A Multicultural Analysis of School Policies on Religion in 20 Western Democracies, and Their Challenges for Accommodating Migrant Religions: a cluster analysis, 351-379

Notes on Contributors, 381-387

Foreword (Keith Watson)

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Religion and Education from a Comparative and International Perspective: issues, tensions and possibilities
Malini Sivasubramaniam, Ruth Hayhoe

Introduction

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SECTION ONE. INTERNATIONALISING/GLOBALISING RELIGIOUS VALUES

Global Education Challenges: exploring religious dimensions
Katherine Marshall

Education goals are at the center of global agendas for sustainable development and humanitarian action, but these agendas tend to deal glancingly, if at all, with religious dimensions. Religious institutions, however, play significant parts in national and international education systems and approaches in many countries. In some instances they are critical partners, in others significant critics. Understanding religious differences is increasingly understood as central to citizenship and peaceful societies. This chapter explores six topics where religious actors are particularly involved: delivery of education and outreach to underserved populations; specific education approaches for refugees and displaced populations; curricular focus on pluralism and ‘religious literacy’; addressing education challenges surrounding values in education and understandings of citizenship; training of religious leaders; and advocacy for education goals and reforms.

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Confucius Institutes and Classrooms as Educational Partnerships in Africa: the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development from a Confucian perspective
Jun Li

Based on broad observations of the development of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in Africa over a decade, this chapter focuses on educational partnerships between Chinese and African educational institutions and their implications for international development, as they relate to the recent UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. The chapter identifies a Zhong-Yong model of educational partnerships through Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, a pragmatic model for educational development centered on Confucianism. Three key characteristics of Confucian educational partnerships – demand-driven, ethics-based and pragmatic – are seen as the key to the success of such partnerships. The chapter concludes that the Confucian Zhong-Yong model of partnerships has the unique potential to re-envision education for international development in ways that may be of interest to such international agencies as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the World Bank and the United Nations.

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The Internationalization of Religious Higher Education: a comparative study of Christian universities in South Korea and Canada
Christina Hwang

Faith-based higher education institutions (HEIs) are guided by their Christian conviction as declared in their mission statements. In particular, their internationalization policies appear to be driven by the Christian belief in global missions and sharing the gospel of Christianity. This chapter comparatively explores the historical background of Christian higher education in both South Korea and Canada and the role it has played in higher education development. It then considers the theories of globalization, internationalization and Christian world mission. Finally, it presents institutional case studies in each country, which highlight the contributions of evangelical Christian universities to the internationalization of higher education.

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Islamic Education in Post-Soviet Tajikistan: a tool in creating and sustaining a nation-state
Sarfaroz Niyozov

Central Asia has become a site not only of Islamic revival, but also of a heated contestation between diverse local and international interpretations and versions of Islam and Islamic education. Islam, and subsequently Islamic education, are key highlights of post-Soviet development all across Central Asia. This chapter takes Tajikistan as a case study, because it is in this country that Islamic education became most prominent in the initial post-Soviet landscape. The chapter takes the reader on a brief journey into the continuity and changes in Islamic education over the last 30 years since Perestroika (1985), when a window for religious education in Central Asia opened up as the country emerged from the Soviet Union’s collapse, survived five years of civil war, began its market-oriented development trajectory and internal political and social consolidation as an independent state, as well as carved a space for itself in the global geo-politics. The chapter speaks to the purpose, forms, pedagogy, content and challenges of Islamic education in post-Soviet Tajikistan.

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The Role of the Church and Religious Learning of Young Women Migrant Workers in Western China
Vilma Seeberg, Shujuan Luo, Ya Na

This chapter documents the vital role of incidental informal religious learning for young Catholic rural women seeking a new life in the city as migrant workers in Western China. The participants in this study came from the same remote village lying in the Qinling Mountains, where all residents had ‘always’ been Catholic for as long as anyone knew. The authors found that being surrounded with others of the same religious upbringing, participating regularly in church activities, and accepting religious moral values served to shield these young women from typical urban hazards. Thus protected from the harshest dangers faced by female migrant workers, these young women were able to cultivate and exercise agency, experience well-being and form aspirations for a better future. The authors propose that a dialogue regarding the role of religion in promoting a harmonious society be considered in China and reintegrated into mainstream development discourses in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Inter-religious Dialogue and Education: three historical encounters between Christianity, Buddhism and Confucianism
Ruth Hayhoe

This chapter adopts a historical approach to consider three encounters between China and Europe, when core educational and religious values from each civilization had a profound and transformative experience of interaction. In each encounter the author notes how Christianity was enriched and enhanced through respectful dialogue with Buddhist, Daoist and Confucian adherents. The chapter seeks to draw lessons from history on how respectful dialogue among religions can enrich education even under circumstances of geo-political imbalance and imperialist threat or domination.

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SECTION TWO. CURRICULUM, PEDAGOGY AND SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

Religious Education in a Multi-religious Context: an examination of four religious schools in Hong Kong
Mei-Yee Wong

Numerous recent studies have discussed religious education in a multi-religious context. However, few have explored single religion-based curricula in a multi-religious setting. With reference to Hong Kong, this chapter aims to fill this research gap by providing empirical evidence regarding religious education for all students with religious or secular backgrounds in four government-subsidised religious schools. The chapter first examines the social and educational contexts of religious education in Hong Kong. Religious schools have autonomy in implementing religious curricula, whereby both religious and secular teachers and students work together. Second, it introduces the specific settings of the schools, investigating religious education from a single-religion perspective with educational contents concerning moral and values education. Finally, the chapter explores the practices implemented in the schools, emphasising the special position of the sponsoring bodies of religious schools and their autonomy in curriculum development regarding religious education.

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State Schooling and Religious Education for Muslim Hui Students in Northwestern China: changing perceptions and new developments
Xinyi Wu

This chapter uses rural Muslim Hui students from the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region as a case study to examine the trajectories of state schooling and religious education in China. By looking at individuals’ dilemmas of Nianshu (attending state schooling) and Nianjing (participating in religious education), it focuses on how state schooling is perceived and understood as it comes into contact with the local religious education and how this relationship generates complementary rather than contradictory life possibilities. It concludes that religious education, as a tradition of cultural inheritance, offers Muslim Hui children and youth an opportunity to learn how to share secular life with their belief system and the virtue it fosters.

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The Buddhist Approach to a School-based Curriculum: the effective learning innovation that promotes human values to learners for sustainable living in Thailand
Prapapat Niyom, Art-ong Jumsai Na Ayudhaya, Witit Rachatatanun , Benjamin Vokes

This chapter examines the development of religion in education in Thailand. It presents three case studies: Sathya Sai School, Roong Aroon School (RAS) and Panyaprateep School. Each focuses on integrating religious principles into the school-based curriculum and on the contemplative practice and learning process of their classroom management. Through scientific analysis of the human learning process, the integration of core religious teachings and encompassing the complete environment, these three cases provide examples of how Buddhist and other religious mindfulness practices are integrated into the curriculum, along with sustainable living, learning principles and values which serve to holistically transform learners in the Thai school system.

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Modernizing Islamic Education: Bangladesh and Senegal
Lauren Herzog, Nathaniel Adams

Islamic religious bodies or individuals operate significant parts of education systems in various countries. In some (quite rare) cases, these schools are recognized and integrated as part of the public education system. Elsewhere, they are informal, with varying links to other parts of the system. Their roles are actively debated at national and international levels. This chapter describes Islamic school systems in Bangladesh and Senegal, highlights the contemporary challenges they face, and outlines efforts to modernize and integrate the systems, led by both religious and secular actors.

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Faith-based Low-fee Private Schools in Kenya and Haiti: the paradox of philanthropy and enterprise
Malini Sivasubramaniam, Steve Sider

The rapid expansion of low-fee private schools (LFPS) has been controversial. However, what has been less examined is the motivation of entrepreneurs who start these schools, particularly from a faith persuasion. This chapter examines some of the complexities around faith-based LFPS in Kenya and Haiti. The authors distinguish between different types of entrepreneurialism evident in the operation of these schools and suggest that LFPS started from a faith motivation function within a curious paradox of philanthropy and enterprise. While these proprietors are committed to a business enterprise, they also view their service to the educational needs of marginalized communities as part of their vocational calling. As such, and in the contribution they make, these schools are uniquely situated within the discourse on private provision of education.

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Religious Education in the Israeli State School System
Yaacov J. Katz

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the different Jewish educational streams which existed prior to the attainment of independence continued to function under the aegis of the Israel Ministry of Education. The political leadership continued negotiating the needs of the religious Jewish communities as well as the needs of the Arab communities. The National Education Act (1953) called for the establishment of a three-track system (state Jewish modern orthodox religious, state Jewish secular and state Arab), which was adopted by the majority within Jewish secular, Jewish modern orthodox religious and Arab populations. Jewish ultra-orthodox communities as well as a small minority of Arabs communities opted for non-state (private) education that is autonomous as well as unofficial.

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SECTION THREE. RELIGION IN POLICY PROCESSES AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Religious Education in Northern Ireland: conflict, curriculum and criticism
L. Philip Barnes

The aim of this chapter is to examine the role of religious education in relation to the Conflict in Northern Ireland and to identify what contribution it has made to the ongoing ‘peace process’. Attention is given to the social, political, religious and ideological forces that shape religious education and to the wider topic of the extent to which the Conflict is appropriately described as religious. The complexity of the issues ensures that the relationship of religious education to peace-building is both not easily identified and subject to different interpretations. The view that religious influences should give way to secular influences in education is questioned and the case is made for a more transparent and even-handed consideration of the relevant evidence.

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Mainstreaming Madrassas in India: resistance or co-optation?
Huma Kidwai

Within the broad framework of post-colonial critique, this chapter presents an educational application of co-optation theory that explains various ongoing transformations of and resistances within the madrassa system of education in India. It organizes observed patterns of findings concerning changes that emerged after policy interventions by the State to ‘modernize’ or mainstream madrassas in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) province of India. The chapter highlights ways in which various participating and non-participating madrassas adopt and resist State-suggested reforms, often leading to changes in internal practices and ideologies, as well as strategies to reinvent and localize policies they deem fit for their structural capacity and value system.

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Religion’s Uneasy Return to the Russian School: a contested and inconsistent desecularization ‘from above’
Elena Lisovskaya

This chapter generalizes and theorizes a quarter-of-a-century-long process of religion’s return to the Russian school and its ideological outcomes. It builds upon the argument that this return represents a case of inconsistent and contested desecularization ‘from above’. The desecularization process is described as a multi-stage ‘social drama’, propelled by the struggles among the top political and religious elites, whose educational orientations have oscillated between a secularist, a neo-traditionalist and, ultimately, a neo-imperial paradigm in a background of apathetic public support and participation. The religious education course established in 2012 is a product of the Church-State alliance, which promotes this paradigm. It is shown that the ideologies promoted by the course textbooks are congruent with a neo-imperial orientation.

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The Role of Religious Education in Countering Religious Extremism in Diverse and Interconnected Societies
Ratna Ghosh, W. Y. Alice Chan

Despite the pre-eminent role of schools in the socialization of youth, and the significant function of education in the development of a peaceful and inclusive society, little attention has been paid to the role of education in relation to religious extremism. This chapter discusses the use of religious education (RE) as a form of soft power in countering violent (religious) extremism (CVE), as opposed to the hard-power measures of surveillance, policing and machinery promoted in counter-terrorism policies. We show that RE can be effectively used for CVE but only when infused with critical pedagogy, dialogue and an understanding of religion as an aspect of human development. When RE is devoid of this, it has been used to advance religious extremism instead.

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A Multicultural Analysis of School Policies on Religion in 20 Western Democracies, and Their Challenges for Accommodating Migrant Religions: a cluster analysis
Bruce A. Collet, Hyeyoung Bang

This chapter examines public school policies regarding religion across 20 western democracies, and how these policies impact the faith traditions of migration populations. The project identifies, per country studied: (1) major migrant groups; (2) public school policies regarding religion; and (3) the level of commitment to multiculturalism. School policies examined include dress codes, prayer space, religious holidays and confessional and non-confessional instruction. Using hierarchical cluster analysis, the study groups the countries into five clusters: High religious freedom providers (Australia, Canada and Sweden); Moderate religious freedom providers (Austria, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Denmark); Christian-focused religious freedom providers (Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom); Committed secularists (France and Belgium); and Sensitive religious freedom providers (New Zealand and the USA). Through contextualizing its findings within a broader discourse on the global diffusion of multicultural norms and policies, the chapter contributes to the field unique cross-cultural and cross-national understandings of the intersection of migration, religion and education.

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Notes on Contributors

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Contributors

Nathaniel Adams is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, USA. His research explores agrarian transformation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh; more specifically, how animist beliefs enter into negotiations around agricultural practice. He was previously program coordinator at the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD), where he worked on projects in Bangladesh and Cambodia. He is the author of several reports and working papers for WFDD on topics including Buddhist activism. He joined WFDD in 2010 as a research fellow in Cambodia looking at ‘spirit forests’ and land rights in highland indigenous communities and the development work of engaged Buddhist clergy. From 2013 to 2016, he worked in Bangladesh with BRAC University coordinating a multi-year research project exploring a broad set of issues around religion and international development. He holds a BA in Anthropology from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MSc in International Development from Lund University.

Art-ong Jumsai Na Ayudhaya is the director of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education in Thailand. He is also the official trainer of teachers for the Ministry of Education in Human Values Education. He holds a BA and MA in Mechanical Sciences from the University of Cambridge, a PhD in Communications from Imperial College London, and a PhD in Education from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. Previously, he has been a lecturer at the faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, an elected member of the House of Senate, and a member of the Parliament as Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Education. He has also participated in NASA’s Viking Space Project in the design of an automatic landing device.

Hyeyoung Bang, PhD, is an associate professor in the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy at Bowling Green State University, USA, where she teaches educational psychology and (cross-cultural) human development. Her main research focus concerns wisdom and self-development, and related topics such as resilience, emotional development (empathy), prosocial behaviour, motivation, spirituality and religion. She also researches refugee and immigrants’ acculturation issues, including post-traumatic and acculturation stresses and their impact on schooling. Her latest project, supported by the Templeton Religion Trust, is about ‘Self, Virtue, Moral Motivation, and Wisdom: a cross-national and cross-faith study’.

L. Philip Barnes is Emeritus Reader in Religious and Theological Education at King’s College London. He has published widely within the fields of religious studies, theology and philosophy of education and contributed articles to such journals as Modern Theology, Religious Studies and the Journal of Philosophy of Education. His recent books include Education, Religion and Diversity: developing a new model of religious education (2014); (with Andrew Davis & J. Mark Halstead), Religious Education: educating for diversity (2015); and (with James Arthur) Education and Religion (2016), a four-volume edited collection.

W.Y. Alice Chan is a PhD candidate studying the potential connection between religious bullying and religious literacy, and is a research assistant on two projects led by Dr Ratna Ghosh, titled ‘Countering Violent Extremism through Education in Multicultural Canada’ and ‘Educational Trajectories of Radicalized Females in Montreal’. She has co-published on this topic with Dr Ghosh. She will also be a lead author on a forthcoming guide on this topic commissioned by UNESCO and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. Her overall research interests include religious literacy, inclusive and multicultural education, student identities, and teacher education.

Bruce A. Collet is an Associate Professor in Educational Foundations and Inquiry in the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University, USA. He teaches courses in the social foundations of education, comparative education and the philosophy of education, and serves as Coordinator for Bowling Green’s Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural and International Education program. His research focus concerns migration, religion and public schooling, with particular interests in liberal multiculturalism as well as critical security studies. Dr Collet is the author of Migration, Religion, and Schooling within Liberal Democratic States (Routledge, forthcoming), and he is Chief Editor of the journal Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education.

Ratna Ghosh is James McGill Professor and William C. Macdonald Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education, McGill University, Canada. A member of the Order of Canada, Officer of the Order of Quebec and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she was Dean of Education at McGill University. Since 2013, she has focused on the role of education in countering violent religious extremism and has published on this topic in the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal and in a global report commissioned by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF). Other contributions include invited presentations and a course on Religion and Global Politics co-hosted by McGill University and TBFF in 2016.

Ruth Hayhoe is a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Canada. Her professional engagements in Asia included foreign expert at Fudan University (1980 82), Head of the Cultural Section of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing (1989 91) and Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, now the Education University of Hong Kong (1997 2002). Recent books include Portraits of 21st Century Chinese Universities: in the move to mass higher education (2011), China Through the Lens of Comparative Education (2015) and Canadian Universities in China’s Transformation: an untold story (2016).

Christina Hwang is a doctoral candidate in Higher Education in the Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education and Comparative, International and Development Education programme at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada. She holds an MA in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her doctoral research focuses on the internationalisation policies and programmes in faith-based Christian higher education institutions in South Korea and Canada and how they relate to Christian world mission. She has also held teaching, administrative and research positions in schools and tertiary institutions in Canada, the USA and South Korea.

Lauren Herzog is a program coordinator at the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD), where she led an effort to strategically examine the religious dimensions of development in Senegal. She currently coordinates a project supporting an interfaith group of religious leaders in Senegal working to advance family planning. She has authored several reports and briefs for WFDD on various aspects of faith and development in the Senegalese context. She has been the recipient of two Department of Education grants to study the Wolof language, and she has lived and worked in Senegal and Congo-Brazzaville. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College, USA and a master’s degree in French and International Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

Yaacov J. Katz is Professor Emeritus at the School of Education, Bar-Ilan University in Israel as well as President of Michlala – Jerusalem Academic College. He specialises in research on religious education and values, affective education, social attitudes in education, and ICT use in education. He served as Head of the School of Education at Bar-Ilan University, as Chairperson of the Israeli UNESCO Education Commission, and as Chief Pedagogic Officer at the Israel Ministry of Education, where he was responsible for all subject matter taught in the Israeli school system.

Huma Kidwai is an education consultant at the World Bank, in Washington, DC, USA, supporting projects ranging from early childhood and basic education to higher education and skills development in sub-Saharan Africa and the East Asia and Pacific region. She has a doctoral degree from Teachers College, Columbia University; her research focused on the relationship between the state and madrassas in India. Her other professional experiences include projects with the Poverty Reduction Group of the World Bank; projects related to health and social equity at the Praxis Institute for Participatory Practices in New Delhi; and education programmes and research at the Earth Institute’s Global Center in Mumbai on their Model District Education Project.

Jun Li is Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at Western University, Canada, Former Deputy Director of the Education Policy Unit of the University of Hong Kong (2015 17), Past Chairman of the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (2014 17), and Past President of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong (2012 14). He is currently serving on the the World Council of Comparative Education Societies’ Research Standing Committee and Editorial Committee of Global Comparative Education: Journal of the WCCES. Dr Li was originally trained as a historian of Chinese education and later as a policy analyst of international education and development, each with a PhD. He has accumulated wide experiences in Canada, China, Japan and the USA, in addition to Hong Kong and Africa. His recent publications include Quest for World-Class Teacher Education? A Multiperspectival Study on the Chinese Model of Policy Implementation (Springer, 2016) and ‘Ideologies, Strategies and Higher Education Development: a comparison of China’s university partnerships with the Soviet Union and Africa over space and time’ (2017, Comparative Education, 53[2], 245-264).

Elena Lisovskaya is Professor of Sociology at Western Michigan University, USA. She specialises in comparative sociology of education and religion. Her core research interests include institutional and ideological changes in post-communist education. She has published on privatisation, dogmatism and new ideologies in textbooks. Since the 2000s, she has been engaged in comparative research on desecularisation and religious education in state-run schools, and most recently published Religious Education in Russia: inter-faith harmony or neo-imperial toleration? She co-authored Religious Intolerance among Orthodox Christians and Muslims in Russia (2008); Orthodoxy, Islam, and the Desecularization of Russia’s State Schools (2010); Ethnodoxy: how popular ideologies fuse religious and ethnic identities (2012) and many other works.

Shujuan Luo received her PhD from the Cultural Foundations of Education program at Kent State University, USA, where she also gained her MA in Education. She has a BA in English from Wuhan University of Technology, China and a BSc in Psychology from Huazhong Normal University, China. Her main research interests are women’s education and empowerment, informal learning of life skills, the capability approach, and entrepreneurial education.

Katherine Marshall, a Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, is Professor of the Practice of Religion, Development and Peacebuilding in the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, USA, and heads the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD), that bridges the worlds of development and religion. She has worked for four decades on international development, and was a senior officer for many years at the World Bank. She sits on several non-profit boards. Her most recent books are (with Susan Hayward) Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: illuminating the unseen (USIP, 2015) and Global Institutions of Religion: ancient movers, modern shakers (Routledge, 2013).

Ya Na is a PhD student at Kent State University, USA. She grew up as part of the Mongolian minority ethnic group in Inner Mongolia, China. Her research interests include migrant girls’ education in urban China and education of ethnic minority students in China. Currently, she is assisting in a study on ethnic Mongolian students’ education in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China.

Prapapat Niyom has a background in architecture and holds an honorary doctorate in education for local development from the Rajapat Phranakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. She founded Roong Aroon School in 1997 and the Arsomsilp Institute in 2006. She is currently President of the Arsomsilp Institute of the Arts in Bangkok. She is well versed in applying holistic education in schooling based on Buddhist principles. She has previously served as a member of the national reform council on education and as advisor to the Minister of Education and has also served as the deputy governor for the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority.

Sarfaroz Niyozov is an associate professor in comparative education, curriculum studies and teacher development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada. He was the former founding head of the Central Asian Studies Unit at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, co-director of the Comparative, International Education Centre (CIDEC), University of Toronto, and the editor of Curriculum Inquiry. He is currently on a three-year period of unpaid leave to serve as the director of the Institute for Educational Development, Aga Khan University, Karachi (AKU-IEDP). His research interests include educational change, teacher development and religious education in post-socialist and Muslim societies.

Witit Rachatatanun is currently director of Panyaprateep School, Thailand, a private boarding school which has an emphasis on Buddhist education in its curriculum development. He holds an EdD and EdM from Harvard University, an MA in Sociology from the University of Essex, and a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. He also holds a graduate diploma in Curriculum and Instruction from STOU, Thailand. Previously, he has served as the Assistant Secretary-General, National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), Office of the Prime Minister, Thailand.

Vilma Seeberg is Associate Professor for International/Multicultural Education at Kent State University, USA in the College of Education, Health and Human Services. She studies the role of human agency, education and empowerment in social change, focusing on two marginalised peoples: rural girls in globalising China, and Black American students in predominately White schools in the USA. She has published two books on Chinese literacy policy and effects, numerous articles on a continuing long-term study of village girls’ schooling and urbanisation (e.g. in Comparative Education Review in 2014), and has a forthcoming book on Black American students’ achievement in the suburbs.

Steve Sider has a PhD from Western University, Canada and is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada. He teaches courses in global education, school leadership and special education. His research interest is in educational leadership in international contexts. He currently holds a national research grant examining inclusive leadership practices of Canadian school principals. Recent publications have included a co-edited book which provides comparative and international perspectives on education as well as articles in International Studies in Educational Administration, the Canadian Journal of Education and Comparative and International Education.

Malini Sivasubramaniam completed her PhD at the University of Toronto, Canada with a specialisation in Comparative, International and Development Education. Her dissertation examines household decision-making in low-fee private schools in Kenya. She is currently a visiting scholar with the Comparative, International and Development Education Centre at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UT) as well as an independent research consultant. Her research interests include the privatisation of education, school choice and equity for marginalised communities, and faith-based non-state actors in education.

Benjamin Vokes currently teaches English at Panyaprateep School, Thailand, a private boarding school which has an emphasis on Buddhist wisdom education and curriculum development. He holds a BA from the University of Teeside, UK. He has had prior teacher training in EFL at Chiangmai (Lanna) School in Chiangmai.

Keith Watson is Emeritus Professor of Comparative and International Education, University of Reading, United Kingdom. He was educated at the universities of Edinburgh, London and Reading. He has worked for the British Council in Poland, Pakistan, Thailand and, briefly, Iran. From 1976 to 2001 he was a lecturer, then reader, and finally Professor of Comparative and International Education and director of the Centre for International Studies in Education and Management at the University of Reading. In addition, he was also editor in chief of the International Journal of Educational Development from 1990 to 2006. He has written or edited about 16 books and over 120 articles. He was also variously secretary, chairman and president of the British Association of International and Comparative Education.

Mei-Yee Wong is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the Education University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on power relations, values and moral education in primary and secondary schools and universities, and teacher professional development. Her recent publications include her book, Teacher-Student Power Relations in Primary Schools, and her article, ‘Teacher-Student Power Relations as a Reflection of Multileveled Intertwined Interactions’, published in the British Journal of Sociology of Education. She is currently engaged in a values education project, exploring the use of portfolio and circle time for values learning.

Xinyi Wu is a lecturer at the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. She received her PhD in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her research interests include economics of education, cultural foundations of education, and language and education. She is particularly interested in the issues of ethnicity, ethnic identity, and their relationship with educational equality and quality. She has conducted fieldwork in north-western China on the rural Chinese Muslim population. She also participated in projects for disadvantaged youth in Africa. Her recent publications include comparative studies of educational policies for China and Vietnam, Chinese ethnic minority students’ access to higher education, and the effects of globalisation on development aid. Her most recent publication is a book entitled Educational Journeys, Struggles, and Ethnicity: the impact of state schooling on Muslim Hui in rural China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

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