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Globalisation, Educational Transformation and Societies in Transition
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Globalisation, Educational Transformation and Societies in Transition


2000 paperback 234 pages, £28.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-78-6

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About the book

Globalisation processes are currently having a powerful and far-reaching influence upon all societies worldwide. At the same time, many communities are ever more forcefully acknowledging their distinctive characteristics and celebrating their cultural differences. In this turbulent era, societies that have undergone particularly rapid political, economic and social change have a collective experience from which others have much to learn. The analysis of such ‘societies in transition’, and their efforts to transform educational policy and practice, is one focus for this volume. The collective studies are also concerned with the impact of the processes of globalisation and geopolitical change upon the related transitions of post-colonial societies; and upon the implications of the analysis for international agency policy and practice throughout the developing world.

Contributors are drawn from a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds representing national governments, international agencies, research bodies, policy makers, researchers and practitioners. All have extensive first-hand experience of the issues and contexts that they deal with. Together they report upon original field research, theoretically informed analyses, political perspectives and recent professional and practical experience. Specific national contexts considered in depth include the European states of Estonia, Poland and Germany, the new Republic of South Africa, contemporary Brazil, the transitional phases of Hong Kong and Macau as ‘remnants of empire’, and the small states of Eritrea and Belize. In broad scope the volume highlights the tensions that exist between powerful global agendas and efforts to improve the quality and relevance of educational provision in vastly different sociocultural contexts. As such, the book will be of direct interest to a wide range of researchers, students, policy makers, consultants and development agency personnel involved with comparative and international studies in education and across the social sciences.


John Furlong. Foreword

Teame Mebrahtu, Michael Crossley & David Johnson. Introduction: educational development and social transformation in a global economy

Jacques Hallak. Globalisation and Its Impact on Education

Keith Watson. Globalisation, Educational Reform and Language Policy in Transitional Societies

Danuta Elsner. Reflection on Megatrends in Education from a Polish Perspective

Bernhard Thomas Streitwieser. Pedagogical Challenges in Post-Wende East Germany

Talvi Märja & Larissa Jõgi. Estonia in the Grip of Change: the role of education for adults in the transition period

Blade N’zimande & Susan Mathieson. Educational Transformation in South Africa’s Transition to Democracy

Petros Hailemariam. The Challenges of Educational Reconstruction and Transformation in Eritrea

Cynthia Thompson & Michael Crossley. Transforming Teacher Education in a Small State: potential for distance education in Belize, Central America

Leslie Groves & David Johnson. Education for All? Transforming Educational Provision for the Inclusion of Street Children in Brazil

Mark Bray. Globalisation, Education and the Colonial Transition of Two Remnants of Empire: a comparative analysis of Hong Kong and Macau

Mike Kiernan. The Role of Donors in Educational Reconstruction and Transformation

Harvey Smith. Transforming Education through Donor-Funded Projects: how do we measure success?

Terry Allsop. Transforming Education: participatory approaches for community empowerment


The closing decade of the twentieth century saw major social, political and economic transformations on a global level. These developments, combined with increasingly rapid and far-reaching advances in the nature and impact of information and communications technologies (ICTs), have had a powerful influence upon all societies and cultures worldwide. Amidst this intensification of globalisation, however, many communities are ever more forcefully acknowledging their distinctive characteristics and celebrating their cultural differences.

In this turbulent era, societies that have undergone particularly rapid political, economic and social change have a great deal in common – and their collective experience offers much from which we can learn at the outset of the twenty-first century. The analysis of such societies in transition and their efforts to transform educational policy and practice is a focus of this volume. This is especially timely as we move into the ‘global century’, as the pace of technological change continues to escalate, and as the importance of culture and identity (be it national, local or individual) is increasingly valued as an integral part of the development process. Economic and management imperatives have dominated attention in recent decades, but international agencies such as UNESCO (1998), and writers such as Mazrui (1990), are increasingly acknowledging that ‘cultural forces’ deserve greater attention if we are to understand and deal creatively with the impact of globalisation and ‘go beyond macroeconomics to shape our collective destiny’ (James Wolfensohm, cited in UNESCO, 1998).

While the term ‘societies in transition’ is often used in the literature to refer to former communist countries, in this volume we adopt a wider usage of this, and of the related concept of educational transformation. Like McLeish & Phillips (1998), we are concerned with countries that have experienced rapid transformation in their educational systems following political transition from authoritarian rule to democratic government. We are, however, also interested in the impact of the processes of globalisation and geopolitical change upon the ongoing transitions of post-colonial societies; and upon the implications of the analysis for related international agency policy and practice. The latter is strategically important because of the increased influence of international agendas upon educational development worldwide.

The contributors to the volume are drawn from a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds. Collectively, they represent national governments, international agencies, research bodies, policy-makers, researchers and practitioners. All have extensive first-hand experience of the issues and contexts that they deal with. Some report upon original field research, some present wide-ranging and theoretically informed analyses, two contributions represent politically inspired perspectives, and others reflect more directly upon professional and practical experience.

While most of the studies deal explicitly with the thematic concepts of globalisation, educational transformation and social transition, the specific national contexts considered in depth include Estonia, Poland, Germany, South Africa, Eritrea, Belize, Brazil, Hong Kong, Macau, Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana. The analyses generated include both insider and outsider perspectives on the multiple dimensions of the processes of educational development and social transformation in our rapidly globalising world. In broad scope, the collective work highlights the tensions between powerful international social and education agendas, and efforts to improve the quality and relevance of educational provision in vastly different sociocultural contexts. The ever-increasing speed of socio-political, economic and technological change has greatly intensified such tensions – making educational transformation ever more imperative, but problematic, in, and beyond, societies currently classified as ‘in transition’.

Indeed, reflecting the postmodern critique of social science theorising (Øyen, 1990; Paulston, 1999), there is much in this volume to challenge such categorisations – and to emphasise the importance of increased context sensitivity in educational and social development – if we are to be more successful in promoting worthwhile and sustainable innovation and transformation in practice. Certainly, the arguments presented here challenge the uncritical international transfer of educational policy and practice. The volume also demonstrates the renewed pertinence of comparative and international research that recognises the dilemmas generated by global influences upon educational development at all levels. As Watson points out in his chapter, ‘the comparativist’s role has become both more important but also more difficult’.

Returning to the basic themes of the studies, McLeish’s (1998) work, and that of the Oxford Group from which it is derived, provides a valuable conceptual framework upon which we, and the reader, are able to build. Firstly, McLeish argues that terms like ‘educational change’ and ‘reform’ do not capture the essence of the link between political, social and economic transition and the radical democratisation of education systems. However, educational systems do not change simply because there is a change in national government. Factors that spark both ‘macro-level’ and ‘micro-level’ transitions often consist of a complex interplay of global and local political, economic and social forces – including the influence of international development assistance agencies. The implications of such issues are evident in a number of chapters reviewed here – indicating the relevance of the Oxford model for analysis across a wider range of education systems and contexts than considered to date.

Complementing the themes we have raised, two wide-ranging and well-informed chapters dealing directly with globalisation, by Hallak and Watson, help to develop further theoretical perspectives that are useful in interpreting the subsequent studies. These contributions are followed by a group of chapters focused upon the dramatic transformations in eastern and central Europe, chapters attending to transition in a complex range of post-colonial contexts, and three development policy oriented studies that have major implications for international agencies involved in educational and social transformation.

The chapter by Hallak comprises three parts. Hallak regards the conclusions and recommendations of the Jomtien Conference on Education for All, and the Delors Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century, as sources of inspiration for those who are concerned with the effects of globalisation on educational policies and reforms. In the first part, which deals with the characteristic features of globalisation and its consequences, this chapter defines ‘globalisation’ as an essentially economic phenomenon. It identifies and discusses key aspects of the six dimensions of globalisation affecting all societies everywhere. The first major feature of globalisation identified is the economic and financial dimension. This is seen to have spread so rapidly that all factors of production are now crossing national boundaries.

The second dimension seen to stimulate the pace of globalisation is the rapid expansion of scientific and technological innovation. The third is identified as the interdependence of globalisation’s economic, technological, geopolitical and sociocultural dimensions, all of which blend – sometimes uneasily – with each other to weave a ‘kind of technological web’ over the planet.

Globalisation, Hallak goes on to argue, is supported by dominant socio-economic models and mass communication networks which are difficult to resist, and which are affecting seriously the organisation of human societies. This argument is well substantiated by focusing on three major consequences of globalisation. These include the erosion of the power of the nation state by regional entities like the European Union, by subnational entities and by transnational companies. The second consequence of globalisation is that it generates both cultural ‘diversification’ and simultaneous cultural ‘standardisation’. The third is the segmentation and division of societies and the entire international community. This dichotomisation process is best highlighted by the emergence of three types of players described by Hallak as those who ‘globalise’, those who are ‘globalised’ and those who are ‘left out by globalisation’. Combined together, these three consequences of the ‘process’ of globalisation are generating a reaction which Hallak portrays as ‘social schizophrenia’ and individual loneliness and sadness in an increasingly antagonistic, unjust and fragmented world.

Part two of the chapter dwells on the relationship between education and globalisation. This warns the reader to exercise modesty and humility when discussing the effects of globalisation on educational reforms and changes. This advice is proffered because of the varying assumptions people make about (a) the extent to which education systems are being shaped by globalisation and (b) the kind of policy reforms which need to be adopted to address the consequences of globalisation.

Part three, the longest and perhaps the most important part of the chapter, discusses five areas of concern for education policy-makers. These deal with the goals of education, the structure of the system, the educators, the assessment of outcomes and the role of government.

Educational goals are seen to be an area of great concern in the era of globalisation because the latter has contributed to the weakening of the nation and the family, and to the breaking up of societies by aggravating conflict between groups of different identities. Given this trend, educational institutions have the responsibility to ‘rebuild’ the social link; to engender equal participation in the development of societies through the teaching of universal values such as tolerance and human rights, and by promoting respect for others and for their cultures.

Teaching and certification are areas of concern because teachers need to be trained how to teach in a changing world, how to become brokers in the information society and how to provide society with an efficient and effective certification system. Hallak warns against the dangers of ‘economism’ and calls for the formulation and implementation of educational policies that reconcile local and global demands with those of the state and those of the new education protagonists (non-governmental organisations [NGOs], communities and the private sector).

Convinced of the significant role education will play in an increasingly global world, the chapter concludes by urging national and international decision-makers to mobilise greater resources for education, to enable it to achieve its aims in optimal conditions and to meet the challenges raised by globalisation.

Watson’s chapter, entitled ‘Globalisation, Educational Reform and Language Policy in Transitional Societies’, is also subdivided into three major parts. Part one introduces the reader to definitions of key terms, and warns against the danger of categorising states into watertight compartments of ‘developed’ or ‘developing’, ‘transitional’ or ‘transformational’ in an era of rapid change. Whilst stressing that comparative analysis at a macro-level is bound to be superficial, this section also argues that it is possible to identify certain common features that link all societies, irrespective of their geographical location. These features, which contribute to the process of globalisation, include the rapidity of change, the weakening of the power of the nation state, and the increased impact of global economic frameworks. Moreover, on the grounds that the poor in all countries are the most severely affected, this analysis challenges Fukuyama’s (1992) thesis which hails globalisation as benign and as a triumph of ‘liberal democracy’.

Part two dwells on three key areas of reform and compares the impact of globalisation in different regions of the world. The first area of financial reform, which has been spearheaded by the multilateral organisations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is currently operating in different countries at different levels of transition. The significance of this is highlighted by comparing and contrasting the varied and at times opposing rationales behind moves towards ‘greater decentralisation’ and the ‘financing of education locally’. The content of what should be taught, and how, is the second area of reform addressed. The message which comes across loud and clear is that different states – transitional or transformational – follow different curriculum reform routes for complex and at times contradictory reasons. The third area, which deals with the medium of instruction, is characterised by trends towards the rejection of the use of a language of oppression (e.g. Russian, Portuguese, Amharic or Afrikaans), the revival of national/ethnic languages (e.g. in the former Soviet Union) and the growing use of English as a global language.

The final part of this chapter identifies six consequences of the rapid process of globalisation which are likely to pose challenges for the future. These deal with issues of quality and quality control in education; inspection; the balance between the private and the public sector; ethnic nationalism; the impact of globalisation on the development of flexible teaching materials; and growing inequality between and within societies.

The major premise of Elsner’s chapter is that five decades of communist rule have left a legacy of social, political, economic and educational problems in Poland as well as in other central and eastern European countries. The process of transition from the old highly controlled education system into a more democratic one, has, Elsner argues, proven difficult and at times painful.

Some of the characteristic features of the Polish education system in transition that are discussed include (a) the implementation of a new national curriculum; (b) the decentralisation of the administrative system; (c) the elimination of the state monopoly of schooling; and (d) the loosening of the uniform school structure. Elsner then goes on to compare and contrast trends in the new education system with Caldwell & Spinks’s (1992) classification of 10 mega-trends in western European education systems, and examines the extent to which the latter are relevant to the Polish context.

Using a comparative analysis of these trends, the chapter contrasts the features of ‘Homo Sovieticus’ with those of ‘Homo Europeacus’. Elsner then makes three major recommendations. One of these is that the new educational system, which is emerging from the ashes of the old communist model, should correspond to the modern needs of a democratic society. The second recommendation is that too much emphasis should not be placed on implementing western European solutions at the expense of ignoring characteristically Polish ones. The third, and perhaps the most practical, is that Poland must direct its attention to the future of the teaching profession and to the training and retraining of teachers if the educational reforms that are to be put in place are to be effectively implemented.

Streitwieser also focuses upon practitioners in his study of the attitudes of former East German teachers towards the ‘West German system’ that they have inherited. This is a unique study of a distinctive window of transitional time in its own right – and one that the author claims is most appropriate for an independent outsider to pursue.

The chapter by Märja & Jõgi outlines the historical and political circumstances underlying Estonia’s transition to democracy and the consequent challenges for its education system. The five ‘periods of political, ideological, cultural, technological and social changes’ in Estonia discussed by Märja & Jõgi are interesting parallels to the models of transition developed by the Oxford research group (see McLeish & Phillips, 1998). This sets out six phases: a pre-phase, which is characterised by an anti-authoritarian climate, the threat to prevailing ideology and eventual ideological collapse; this is followed by a period of uncertainty (phase I), which leads to the seizure of power through national elections (phase II), and local elections (phase III). The adoption of educational legislation marks a period of ‘macro-level transition’ (phase IV), followed eventually by ‘micro-level transition’ or implementation of policy at the school level (phase V).

In the case of Estonia, Märja & Jõgi identify the mid-1970s to mid-1980s as a period characterised by economic and political stagnation, which posed a serious threat to the prevailing political ideology at the time. The mid-1980s to 1991, characterising the era of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union, are seen as a period of national awakening and struggle for independence in Estonia. The democratic state emerged in 1991 and the period between 1991 and 1994 marked a time for rebuilding and transformation. The authors then go on to show how Estonia is responding to the challenge of translating democratic policy into meaningful gains for the Estonian population. They discuss the role of adult education and demonstrate the powerful influence of social movements in educational transformation.

There is no doubt that the processes of political transition are likely to spark periods of educational transition, or put another way, that the ‘dynamic for educational change is politically controlled’ (Salter & Trapper, 1981). This link between the politics of education and the transformation of the educational system is also illustrated by N’zimande & Mathieson in their chapter titled ‘Educational Transformation in South Africa’s Transition to Democracy’. The chapter argues that the ongoing process of educational transition needs to be understood in the context of the broader political, social and economic transformations both within South Africa itself as well as internationally. N’zimande & Mathieson outline the tensions and competing ideological positions within South Africa’s first Government of National Unity and show how these impact on the nature of both macro-level (policy and legislation) and micro-level (implementation of educational policy) actions. The authors then outline some of the advances made by the African National Congress (ANC) in transforming the educational system, but also the constraints and dilemmas which riddle the process. The critical issues for N’zimande & Mathieson are autonomy versus the state, establishing the new democracy, education and nation-building, the state and the market, equity versus quality and elitism versus massification.

The chapter by Hailemariam provides the reader with an overview of the history, geography, demography, economy and the education system of the neophyte state, Eritrea. This highlights the transformation of Eritrea from a peripheral and dependent Ethiopian province into a fully-fledged and self-reliant nation – a process accompanied by political, economic, sociocultural and educational reconstruction. Hailemariam then discusses the nature of these challenges of educational reconstruction and transformation in independent Eritrea. These include the negative impact of the legacies of war and neglect; the problem of integrating theory and practice; the need to increase access as well as improve quality and equity; the need to share the financing of education between the Government and the local communities; the need to synchronise the roles of central and regional administrative bodies; and the need to produce well-trained Eritrean citizens who are also sensitive to their global responsibilities.

In the face of powerful global forces, small states such as Estonia, Eritrea and Belize are especially vulnerable to the influence of international agendas. Thompson & Crossley’s critical analysis of the teacher education component of the Belize Primary Education Development Project demonstrates this; but also shows how increased local ownership led to significant modifications to externally-inspired project proposals. The Belizean successes and challenges documented here can serve as an example to other small states involved in development agency partnerships designed to promote sector-wide educational transformation.

The capacity of social movements to transform national policy in education, as identified earlier, is developed further by Groves & Johnson. The central concern of this chapter is to trace the response in Brazil, both legislative and in the provision of services, to the conditions of street and working children. The chapter begins by outlining a number of phases in Brazil’s transition from military rule to democratic government. It shows how in each phase, the response to the education of street and working children, through legislation and educational provision, is a reflection of the prevailing ideological and political conditions. In a somewhat different conceptualisation of the Oxford model, Groves & Johnson show that the tensions between macro-level and micro-level educational transitions are present throughout a country’s transformational process. The Oxford model is in danger of suggesting that educational transitions are linear outcomes of political transformations, whereas it is argued here that the tensions between macro-level and micro-level transition are recursive. Another crucial departure is the point that the progression from macro-level to micro-level is not simply an attempt to turn progressive policy into progressive practice over a period of time. A useful illustration of this point lies in the fact that between 1960 and 1970, when Brazil was ruled by a military regime, it consciously adopted conflicting macro- and micro-level policies and practices. The military government passed two major laws to protect the welfare of street children. However, the laws gave the military and police wide powers to intervene in the lives of children and adolescents in ‘irregular’ circumstances, and in practice, the policy criminalised the gatherings of street children, effectively repressing informal learning and recreational activities (Dewees & Klees, 1995).

The chapter by Bray provides a comparative analysis of globalisation, educational and colonial transition in Hong Kong and Macau. The analysis attends to the subtleties of the relationship between both global and local issues by showing ‘how Hong Kong and Macau are similar but different from other parts of the world, and second, how they are similar but different from each other’. While the colonial transitions of Hong Kong and Macau are part of the global process of decolonisation, they have each followed different patterns – and challenged pre-existing models of decolonisation. As the author points out, ‘The global forces of change have still been evident among the remnants [of empire] but have produced different patterns in different places and at different points in history’.

One powerful mechanism of influencing shifts in policy and interventions in practice is through donor-funded projects. Kiernan’s chapter in this volume introduces the development assistance section and outlines the extent to which external donor agencies set the educational agenda in nations in transition. Kiernan argues that not only do donor agencies seek to influence the educational policy debate in many such contexts, but that they influence the political, ideological and economic basis of these countries. If we employ the Oxford model of transition discussed earlier, the legislative frameworks that are adopted in macro-level transitions are often imposed by external forces. Indeed, there are many other studies that highlight the strategies donor agencies employ to persuade countries to undergo political and economic transitions (see, for example, Jones, 1992; Watson, 1996). Most often this is achieved through the imposition of conditionalities. An interesting alternative view in this respect is that structural change and reform is also induced through micro-level change, often in the form of donor-assisted projects. In this way, micro-level transition can precede macro-level transitions.

Looking more carefully at the notion of micro-level transitions, it is clear that they are almost always extremely lengthy processes. Further, it is difficult to know when micro-level transition may be ‘completed’ as systems are dynamic and respond to change at local, national and global levels. Given that the global and national impetus on political and educational systems will always be present, the transitional process is, in some respects, always ongoing. The chapter by Smith, therefore, poses a fundamental question for development assistance agencies and for readers of this volume. This is: how do we measure when change has been successful? The implications of this question for the evaluation of educational transition are enormous. Smith argues that the concept of success is often contradictory. In one sense, it could mean that a project is achieving what it set out to do. Thus, a project’s success may be measured against a very specific set of criteria. What is less clear is when success is measured in terms of ‘favourable outcome’. Favourable outcome might mean a number of things, and depends in part on the ideological and geopolitical positions which underlie donor assistance strategies. According to Smith, the perspective on whether change is seen as successful or unsuccessful is often that of the donor agency. This can undermine local priorities and our sense of where the transitional process is heading.

Allsop’s final chapter reiterates concerns raised throughout the book relating to the need for greater local determination of internationally supported development assistance initiatives. He uses direct professional experience of educational projects in Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana to demonstrate how increased participation of local personnel is essential if international agencies are to improve the relevance and success of the development initiatives in which they are involved. This challenges the uncritical application of global models and the ‘purveyors of recipe-like approaches’, and draws attention to the importance of contextual and cultural factors in the processes of educational development and social transformation.

In conclusion, while the forces that combine to prompt educational transformations and transitions vary considerably from context to context, it is clear that global factors are playing an increasingly influential role everywhere. Comparative and international studies, as reported here, are especially helpful in revealing the complexities of such developments and the cross-cultural implications for policy and practice. If the quality and relevance of educational change is to be improved, and the translation of innovative policy into practice is to be more successful, transformations must also be effected throughout the professional cultures of those involved in the educational development process in the future.

With this in mind, many distinctive lessons can be learned from those systems and societies currently undergoing dramatic social, economic and political transformation; but persistent tensions between local and global agendas and priorities stand out most clearly in all cases. Dealing with these tensions requires both an awareness of global trends and a working understanding of local sociocultural and educational priorities. This is also true for a much broader range of post-colonial societies undergoing sustained change, as many of our contributors point out.

Recognition of this is invaluable in its own right, but it also helps point to ways in which the professional culture of development assistance itself can change. Some indicators are encouraging in this respect, including policy statements calling for participatory change strategies and new development partnerships. As we have shown, promising initiatives are also beginning to be visible, but this process is both a political and professional one that requires considerable cultural sensitivity, theoretical reconceptualisation, mutual respect and trust (Crossley, 1999). Translating such principles into general working practice, therefore, deserves increased bridge-building between agencies, paradigms and personnel, and sustained attention from all partners in a joint venture. It also demands further critical analysis of the very processes and dilemmas of globalisation that are considered here.

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Dewees, A. & Klees, S. (1995) Social Movements and the Transformation of National Policy: street and working children in Brazil, Comparative Education Review, 39, pp. 76–100.

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Jones, P. (1992) World Bank Financing of Education. London: Routledge.

Mazrui, A. A. (1990) Cultural Forces in World Politics. London: James Currie.

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Terry Allsop is a Senior Education Adviser with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). At the time of writing this chapter, he combined work in West and North Africa with responsibility for DFID’s educational research portfolio. He is now based in Harare, with regional responsibilities in Central Africa. Prior to joining DFID in 1995, he had spent many years as a science teacher educator, first in Uganda, then in the Universities of Hong Kong and Oxford, and also as a science/technology adviser and science teacher.

Mark Bray is Director of the Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong. He previously taught in secondary schools in Kenya and Nigeria, and at the Universities of Edinburgh, Papua New Guinea and London. Since 1994, he has been Assistant Secretary General of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies, and during the period 1998–2000, he was President of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong. He has published extensively in the field of comparative education.

Michael Crossley is a Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol, where he is Director for MPhil/PhD Studies. Professor Crossley was previously Associate Dean (Planning) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Papua New Guinea and has taught in England, Australia and Papua New Guinea. He was Editor of the Papua New Guinea Journal of Education from 1985 to 1990; and is currently a member of the Editorial Board for Comparative Education and an Executive Editor for the International Journal of Educational Development. He is a Founding Series Editor for the Bristol Papers in Education; and has recently published (with Graham Vulliamy) Qualitative Educational Research in Developing Countries (New York: Garland, 1997); and (with Keith Holmes) Educational Development in the Small States of the Commonwealth: retrospect and prospect (London: Commonwealth Secretariat, 1999). Current research interests include evaluation partnerships in Kenya, research capacity in small states and methodological and theoretical studies on the future of the field of comparative and international education.

Danuta Elsner is a freelance consultant on educational management. She has been involved in several Polish and European projects on school and educational improvement. From 1994 to 1995 she was Chairperson of the European Network for Improving Research and Development in Educational Management. Dr Elsner is the author/co-author of over 130 publications, among them 10 books. She currently lectures in Educational and School Management in a number of Polish higher educational institutions.

Leslie Groves is currently undertaking a PhD at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh. A keen child rights advocate, she has been actively involved with young people and children since 1992. She has worked with various national and international non-governmental organisations as well as with the Department for International Development (DFID). Her primary research interests have centred on the education and social development of street and working children in Brazil, Vietnam and Tanzania.

Petros Hailemariam is Director General of the Department of Research and Human Resources Development of the Ministry of Education in Eritrea. Prior to independence in 1991, he served as Director of the Revolution School (1982–84); as Assistant Head of the Department of Education, of the EPLF (1984–87) and as Tutor of the Cadres School, Department of National Guidance (1987–91). Since independence, he has been ‘Editor-in-Chief’ of Haddas Eritrea [New Eritrea] (1993–95) and then Director General, Department of Print Media and News Agency, Ministry of Information (1995–97).

Jacques Hallak is Director of the International Institute for Educational Planning and the International Bureau of Education (UNESCO). Since 1994, he has been Assistant Director-General for UNESCO. He is the author, or co-author, of numerous books and articles on educational costs and finance, human resource development, educational research and planning capacity, and comparative perspectives on policies for educational change and development.

David Johnson is a psychologist and senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol. Dr Johnson has made an active contribution to the processes of political transition and educational transformation in South Africa and has been involved in educational change in many African, Asian and Latin American countries. Between 1991 and 1996, Dr Johnson mounted a large programme, based at the University of Bristol, which sought to increase the institutional capacity of educational management, planning and research in South Africa. He has also been involved in innovative projects aimed at achieving educational change in countries such as Pakistan, Belize, The Gambia and Malawi. Dr Johnson is joint coordinator of the Graduate School’s CLIO Centre for International and Comparative Studies and director of a number of research projects in literacy and learning.

Mike Kiernan has been working in developing countries since 1967, mostly in Africa, but also in Asia. He is currently working as Education Sector Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Malawi, in the area of educational planning, but has worked in teacher education, curriculum development, basic education and quality assurance. Mike Kiernan has worked with the Department for International Development, the World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF, but mostly with Danish International Development Assistance (Danida). When not abroad, he is resident in Denmark, though he is said to be still unmistakably Irish.

Talvi Märja is an elected Member of the Estonian Parliament and has served for many years as Professor of Adult Education and as Chair of Andragogy at the Pedagogical University in Tallinn. Professor Märja, who is well known in educational circles in central and eastern Europe, has participated in numerous international conferences on adult education. She has also been very instrumental in the preparation and implementation of the Estonian Adult Education Act of 1993.

Susan Mathieson has been education researcher for the African National Congress’s Parliamentary Research Department in South Africa since 1996. She was formerly working at the Centre for University Education Development at the University of Natal. She has an MA in Post-colonial Literary Theory from the University of Natal and a joint honours in Sociology and Law from the University of Warwick.

Teame Mebrahtu lectures in education and development at the University of Bristol, and is the coordinator of this area of study at the MEd level within the Graduate School of Education. He is the Director of the Bristol–Eritrea Partnership Project, which designs and implements summer in-service programmes for over 200 primary school heads, supervisors and district education officers in Asmara, Eritrea. During the last 18 years, he has served as Programme Tutor to postgraduate students from overseas, as Admissions Tutor and as Coordinator of the personal tutor scheme. Nationally, he has served as an Executive Committee Member of the United Kingdom Council for Overseas Students’ Affairs (UKCOSA), World University Service, UK (WUS) and Christian Aid. His research and teaching interests include development theories, educational management and administration, and policy in developing countries relating to higher education, teacher education, multicultural education and the educational needs of refugees and ethnic minorities. He has written extensively on these topics and has made entries to the International Encyclopaedia of Higher Education and the International Encyclopaedia of Education. His interests in the global dimension of education and in the role of higher education in national and global development have led him to organise various international conferences, to undertake related consultancies and to be invited as a keynote speaker in international fora.

Blade N’zimande was, at the time of writing this chapter, an MP for the African National Congress and Chair of the Education Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly in the South African Parliament. He has a PhD in Industrial and Labour Studies from the Department of Sociology at the University of Natal. Prior to becoming an MP, he was Director of the Education Policy Unit at the University of Natal from 1985 to 1989. He is currently Secretary General of the South African Communist Party.

Harvey Smith has worked on aid-funded education projects and consultancies for over 20 years, including periods as lecturer, adviser, consultant and project director in institutions and ministries of education in Barbados, Cambodia, Egypt, Mali, Sri Lanka and Zambia. His PhD was on the management of aid-funded English teaching projects in developing countries. Since 1997, he has been Senior Education Adviser at CfBT Education Services.

Bernhard Streitwieser is a PhD candidate at Teachers’ College, Columbia University, New York City, USA. His research interests concern educational transformations in the new Federal States of Germany, school reform, and teacher training. His publications deal with the ongoing teacher adjustment process in former East Germany.

Cynthia Thompson is currently the Principal of Belize Teachers’ College in Belize City. Ms Thompson directed the implementation of the Teacher Education Component of the Belize Primary Education Development Project, which is designed to reform primary education in Belize. In her capacity as Principal and in her work with the project, Ms Thompson has been involved in the planning, development and implementation of reform efforts nationwide.

Larissa Jõgi is Assistant Professor of Adult Education in the Department of Andragogy, Tallinn Pedagogical University, Estonia. Between 1990 and 1999, Dr Jõgi has participated in 35 international conferences and seminars, chaired eight sessions, and has written 19 reports. During the last 5 years she has been involved in several adult education projects including the PHARE Distance Education Project in the Baltic countries. Her main research interests revolve around the sociological aspects of the development of adult education and adults as learners.

Keith Watson is Professor of Comparative and International Education and Director of the Centre for International Studies in Education, Management and Training at the University of Reading. He is Chair of the UK Forum on International Education and Training and Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Educational Development. He is the author of Key Issues in Education (Croom Helm, 1985), Educational Development in Thailand (Heinemann, 1980) and editor of the four-volume series Educational Dilemmas: debate and diversity (Cassell, 1997), and Doing Comparative Educational Research (Symposium Books, 2000). He has written over 100 research papers and his main areas of research are in language policies, education in developing countries, with special reference to South-East Asia and Southern Africa, and educational administration and policy-making.

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