Master of Education

Comparative and Global Studies in Education and Development

Comparison is a fundamental tool for all forms of enquiry. When applied to education in an international setting, it assists in identification of factors which shape education systems, processes and outcomes, and instruments for improvement of those systems, processes and outcomes.

The comparisons in this specialist MEd programme will be framed by theories and understandings of the forces of globalisation. These forces bring benefits for many people, but can also have negative dimensions. The specialist modules will examine experiences through the lens of globalisation, identifying forces of continuity and change and the implications for educators.

The specialist modules will also focus on the nature of development in an international context and on the role of education in the processes of development. This will include analysis of all levels of formal education (early childhood to higher education), and various types of nonformal education. It will include particular reference to UNESCO’s evolving Education for All (EFA) objectives in the context of debate about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The set of specialist modules will also include focus on reform (and non-reform), providing conceptual explanations for what works (and does not work) in different settings and at different periods in history. East Asia provides an instructive arena for such comparison, but the module will also analyse experiences and patterns in other parts of the world.



Who would benefit from this specialism?

• Teachers and educators with an interest in comparative education and in international educational development in the context of an increasingly globalized world.

• Persons who have completed their undergraduate studies in related themes and who are keen to proceed with deeper study of links between education and development

• Future or current development workers (NGOs, international organisations, bilateral organisations etc.) with an interest in education and capacity building.

Participants will:

a)     develop understandings of the nature of education systems, processes and outcomes in an international context,

b)     develop critical perspectives on the field that are integrated, consistent, and morally and practically defensible, and

c)     gain awareness of the levers for change in international contexts, and on the constraints faced by a range of actors.

Mode of study:

To be available on part-time and full-time mode (for 2-year part-time study or 1-year full-time study)

Outline of Four Specialist Modules:

Module 1:  Themes and approaches inthe field of comparative education

This module will introduce students to the history and nature of comparative education as a field of enquiry.  It will note the principal dimensions of the field as conventionally defined in the literature on the topic, and will consider some variations in emphasis in scholarly communities and other actors in different parts of the world. The module will also consider the nature and contents of some key vehicles for publishing comparative education research, including journals, books and reports by international agencies. The module will conclude with an overview of the nature and directions of the field.

Assessment: a class presentation on an assigned topic with a summary placed on Moodle (20%) and an essay of about 3,000 words (80%)

Module 2:  Addressing the global-local nexus in education

This module will develop students’ understandings of both local and global education policies and practices. Adopting a ‘glocalisation’ perspective, it will stress a new localism that stands as an act of resistance against globalisation and rootlessness to reclaim the significance of the local in the global age. Drawing on local experiences and phenomena as a source of learning, this module will introduce students to an understanding of education that is conscious of local places to enable them to be inducted into the knowledge and patterns of behaviour associated with responsible community engagement.

Assessment: a class presentation (20%) and an essay of approximately 3,000 words (80%)

Module 3:  Education for sustainable development

This module examines education for sustainable development (ESD) from a comparative perspective. First, the course raises the question what sustainable development means in practice within economic, environmental, and social and cultural domains, and traces the history of the concept. Next, the course considers education for sustainable development within developed and developing contexts.

In Hong Kong and many other high-income societies, education for sustainable development is often related to environmental education; but in low-income contexts (especially in Africa and Asia) it also commonly refers to education that meets local social needs and is supported at the local level. A gap can sometimes be identified in these latter contexts, between “education for sustainable development” as a global reform concept, versus “sustainable educational development,” from a local perspective.

In this module, students will have the opportunity to analyse a variety of case studies of education for sustainable development, and to understand the ways in which concepts may be developed and applied in a range of contexts.

Assessment: a group project on case study analysis (1,500 words) with class presentation (40%) and a final essay of no more than 2000 words (60%)

Module 4:  Critical issues in educational reform

This module will enable students to employ theoretical perspectives and empirical research findings to understand critical issues in contemporary educational reform in East Asia and elsewhere. The module will address the nature and evolution of globalization as a key context in which contemporary educational reform takes place. Identifying links between globalization and educational reform, the module will provide a set of cases for developing students’ understanding and knowledge of educational reform from a comparative perspective.

Assessment: a class presentation on an assigned topic with a summary placed on Moodle (20%) and an essay of about 3,000 words (80%)

Dissertation or Project

In addition to four specialist modules, students will also have to complete: a research methods module “Methods of Research and Enquiry” (2 modules equivalent); plus either an option of one elective module and a DISSERTATION (3 modules equivalent), or an option of three elective modules and a PROJECT by Independent Study (1 module equivalent).

Click here for more information on the MEd as a whole.

Download the information on CGSED here.