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Policies for Shadow Education in Myanmar

On 18 September 2018, Mark Bray, Nutsa Kobakhidze and Ora Kwo presented a CERC seminar about their UNESCO-funded research in Myanmar. This work was conducted with support from the Yangon University of Education (YUOE), and has led to a manuscript that in due course will be published in CERC’s monograph series.

The CERC seminar noted that 10 days later the work would be considered by Myanmar’s Ministry of Education. The Ministry had organised a full morning for presentation and discussion. The event was opened by the Deputy Minister for Education, and brought together both policy-makers and practitioners from Naypyitaw, Yangon and elsewhere.

The HKU team was proud to see the CERC logo alongside the HKU, YUOE and UNESCO logos on the stage. The report was presented by Mark Bray and Ora Kwo, with support from Zhang Wei, Liu Junyan and Peter Suante (pictured below, left to right).


“This was is the first empirical study of its kind in Myanmar,” remarked the coordinator in the UNESCO office. “The government is taking its findings seriously, and will identify its policy implications within the context of the National Education Strategic Plan.”


The CERC team is delighted to have had the opportunity to conduct the study over a period of two years. It looks forward to ongoing dialogue with stakeholders in Myanmar, and will also disseminate the findings internationally.

The Policy Brief prepared by the authors can be downloaded here.

A special issue of the Orbis Scholae on Shadow Education

Dear members of the Shadow Education SIG,

It is our pleasure to invite you to submit a paper on shadow education in a special issue of the Orbis Scholae. The special issue will focus on various aspects and dimensions of the shadow education. We are keen to receive papers that explore the links and interrelationships between formal and shadow education system(s) within different social, cultural or economic contexts.

If you are interested to contribute a paper, please first submit a letter of interest by sending us the title and the abstract (about 500 words) of a prospective paper by February 28, 2019 ( and

The issue will be published by the end of 2020. More information about the journal and the special issue can be found on this website.

With best wishes,

Guest editors

Vít Šťastný & Nutsa Kobakhidze

Call for Papers: 11th Biennial Comparative Education Society of Asia

11th Biennial Comparative Education Society of Asia, CESA 2018

‘Education and Social Progress: Insights from Comparative Perspectives’

10 – 12 May 2018

Siem Reap, Cambodia


It is generally assumed that education contributes in diverse ways to the achievement of social progress, equipping individuals with skills that enhance their employability, health, family life, civic engagement and overall sense of fulfilment. On this basis, providing quality and inclusive education has been set as one of the United Nations’ sustainable development priorities (SDG4) to be achieved by 2030. However, international understandings not only of what quality and inclusivity entail, but of the social vision to whose achievement education should contribute, remain widely divergent. Meaningful cross-national debate over best practice with respect to pedagogy, educational governance, schooling for girls or minorities and a range of other matters assumes consensus over the fundamental goals of schooling – a consensus that in reality remains elusive.
Scholars in the field of comparative and international education have challenged melioristic approaches to education ever since Marc-Antoine Jullien proposed a science of educational comparison based on supposed facts in 1817. But unreflective meliorism and narrow economism continue to dominate much education policy debate, fuelled in recent years not least by official and media responses to the OECD’s PISA tests. A pressing task for scholars in Asia and beyond is therefore to challenge each other – and the wider public – to reflect on what we mean when we talk of education as an instrument for social progress. Precisely what visions of a better society do we aspire to progress towards? How can education contribute to such progress? And to what extent should we see education not only in instrumental terms – as a tool for achieving progress, however defined – but also as constitutive in itself of the good life for which we aim? With these questions in mind, we have selected as the theme for CESA’s 2018 biennial conference “Education and Social Progress: Insights from Comparative Perspectives.”
Reflecting on such questions should also prompt us to reconsider our own mission as educational comparativists: What is the main purpose of comparative education? What have been the contributions of different traditions – from Asia and beyond – to the development of comparative research and the shaping of the concerns that inform it? What insights or perspectives have been overlooked in this process, and how might the field benefit from their incorporation? What theoretical and methodological approaches should comparativists adopt in order to investigate educational issues not merely from a narrowly utilitarian perspective, but also take account of the ethical and cultural complexity that is inescapably associated with them?
CESA’s 2018 conference will be held on 10–12 May 2018 in Siem Reap, which is home to the world’s renowned Angkor Wat and many other archaeological and cultural sites. We invite abstract proposals for papers, panels, poster sessions and workshops dealing with all aspects of education – formal, non-formal or informal, at all levels from early childhood to college and beyond. Proposals should address one of the following subthemes:

  • Comparative education in contemporary Asia and beyond – theoretical and methodological issues
  • Educational policy making and the pursuit of progress – structures, aims and processes
  • STEM vs the Humanities – defining and addressing social needs through curricular change
  • Pedagogical innovation and new technology – a force for progress or digital disruption?
  • Paying for progress in education – public provision, privatisation and marketisation
  • Measuring educational progress – administering and monitoring education systems
  • Educational progress for all – challenges of gender, diversity and inclusion
  • Citizenship education and political socialisation – nationalism, transnationalism and peace
  • Education and the pursuit of economic and environmental sustainability
  • Globalisation, migration and transnational collaboration in education
  • Civil society’s involvement in education and its implications
  • Lifelong learning and skills discourse – liberating the individual or privatising risk?

Proposals must be in English, which is the language of the conference. They should be between 250 and 300 words for papers and 500 and 750 words for panels. When submitting your proposal, please include the following information:

  1. Title of your paper/panel
  2. Objectives and research questions
  3. Significance of the study
  4. Theoretical/conceptual framework
  5. Methodology
  6. Findings

Proposal submissions, which open in mid-August 2017, can be made through email: The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, 15 November 2017 at 11:59 p.m. (GMT+7). All abstracts will go through a review process and submittees will be notified by late December 2017. For further information about the conference, please visit or contact Mr Keo Borin, conference coordinator, at

Mark Bray Received the University Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award

Mark Bray becomes President of the Comparative & International Education Society

The 60th anniversary conference of the Comparative & International Education Society in Vancouver concluded with a great IMG_2229success.  The conference was attended by 2,800 academics and education professionals including 31 delegates from the Faculty of Education. CERC and the FacultyIMG_2022 had great visibility. The University and CERC logos were prominent on the conference bags, signs for the Faculty-sponsored opening reception and elsewhere.

CERC had its book exhibition in a prominent location. It was the focal point for the HKU delegates and other academics interested in its work in comparative education.

As President-Elect, Mark Bray led the organization of the conference, assisted by Carly Manion (University of Toronto), Nutsa Presidency transferKobakhidze (CERC), Emily Mang (HKIED) and student volunteers from HKU and the University of British Columbia (UBC). During the conference the CIES presidency was transferred to Mark Bray.


Honorary Doctorate for Ruth Hayhoe

CERC is delighted that on 15 December 2015 one of its distinguished Associate Members, Prof. Ruth Hayhoe, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK). The citation was read by Prof. Lee Wing-On, who was CERC’s first Director and is now Vice President of the OUHK.

Prof. Lee noted that Ruth Hayhoe is conversant with five languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese, and has devoted a lifetime to intercultural dialogue. Her autobiography published by CERC is entitled Full Circle: A Life with Hong Kong and China. It recounts how Ruth moved to Hong Kong from Canada in 1967 as a 21 year-old, working as a teacher in a local secondary school and undertaking much community work. She spent 11 years in Hong Kong during that period, “falling in love with Chinese people and Chinese culture”.

The next few years took Ruth Hayhoe to Shanghai, London, Toronto, Beijing and again Toronto, but in 1997 – the year that Hong Kong was reunited with China – she was appointed Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Education. This return to Hong Kong explains the title Full Circle. In 2002 she moved back to Canada – perhaps making a figure of eight – but she retains close contact with both Hong Kong and Mainland China.

CERC has published four other books written or edited by Ruth Hayhoe. They include Portraits of Influential Chinese Educators and Portraits of 21st Century Chinese Universities. As noted by Lee Wing-On, “one striking feature of Professor Hayhoe’s academic writing approach is story-telling”. For this pair of books she focused in individuals and institutions, while Full Circle is a deep and meaningful self-portrait.

In the picture above, Ruth Hayhoe is accompanied (left) by her husband, Walter Linde. Lee Wing On is on the far right, and between him and Professor Hayhoe is Mark Bray (HKU).


Congratulations to the 2014 CGSED Cohort on Graduation!

The 2014 cohort of CGSED officially graduated on the graduation ceremony held 4 December 2015.

Leigh Dalgarno was addressing the whole congregation as a representative of all MEd students – and included on behalf of the CGSED group a reference to the Famous Cube!


Master of Education: Comparative and Global Studies in Education and Development

The University of Hong Kong is recruiting a new cohort of Master students. Apply (closing date 16 May 2016) and earn a Master of Education in Comparative and Global Studies in Education and Development from the Faculty of Education.

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. The comparisons in this specialism 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.

This specialism will examine forces of continuity and change and the implications for educators. It 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 Education for All (EFA) objectives in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The specialist modules are:

  • Themes and approaches in the field of comparative education
  • Addressing the global-local nexus in education
  • Education for sustainable development
  • Critical issues in educational reform

In addition to four specialist modules, students will complete:

  • a research methods course “Methods of Research and Enquiry” (2 modules equivalent);
  • 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).

For further information about this specialism, please contact Professor Mark Bray on (852) 2219 4194, by email:



Education and the State: Whatever Happened to National Education as a Public Good?


By Andy Green

Chair: Mark Bray

In an era which is rapidly losing the idea of education as a ‘public good,’ it is useful to remember the origins of our modern education systems, and the role of the state in their creation. Today we see a rapid marketising of education around the world, with increasing privatisation of educational services, the introduction of private sector management practices in public schools, and a growing perception of education as a private consumer good. The collective purposes of education, which animated the formation of national education systems, are being attenuated as providers view parents and students as customers, and the latter see education as a ‘positional’ good for which they must compete and, in many instances, pay.

However, just as we need to remember the key role of the state in the formation of education systems, we need to challenge some myths around educational globalization and markets. There is little evidence that neo-liberal models of education raise standards. Furthermore, the adoption of markets in education has been very uneven, and not all countries are converging around a single market model of education.

Andy Green is Professor of Comparative Social Science at the UCL Institute of Education, and Director of the ERSC Research Centre on Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES). His main field of research is the com-parative (historical and sociological) study of education and training systems. He has frequently worked as consultant to international bodies such as the European Commission, OECD and UNESCO, and to UK Government bodies. His works have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. A new and extended edition of his prize-winning 1990 book was published in 2014 as Education and State Formation: Europe, East Asia and the USA. Other books in-clude Regimes of Social Cohesion: Societies and the Crisis of Globalisation, Palgrave 2011.

Date: Wednesday 18 November

Time: 12.45 – 14.00

Venue: Room 203 Runme Shaw Building

All are welcome!



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