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The Meaning(s) of Supplementation: Multivalent education at Amdo Tibetan sabjong













The Shadow Education SIG (Special Interest Group) has successfully held a seminar featuring Dr. Andrew Frankel, a renowned scholar who has extensively studied Shadow Education.

Drawing on his seven years of teaching experience in Western China, Dr. Frankel presented his research on the topic of ‘Rethinking Supplementation: A Study of Amdo Tibetan Educators in Qinghai, China.’ His findings challenge the conventional understanding of supplemental education programs and highlight their potential to promote diversity and critical engagement with mainstream education.

The seminar was attended by a diverse group of educators and researchers who engaged in lively discussions and debates around the implications of this research for future educational policies and practices. We are grateful to Dr. Frankel for sharing his insights and expertise with us and look forward to further exploring this important topic.

Event announcement: The Chinese Society of Education (CSE) Annual Conference 2024 

The Chinese Society of Education (CSE) Annual Conference 2024 will take place on July 28-29, 2024, at Western University in London, Canada. This conference, with the theme “Reciprocal Learning, Collaboration, and Coprosperity: Chinese Education in Global Perspectives (互学、合作与共荣:全球视野下的中华教育),” features distinguished scholars, educators, and experts from around the world and promises to be a stimulating forum for exchanging insights and ideas on the future of Chinese education in a global context. If you’d like to participate in this event, you can read more information here.

Co-Hosts (in alphabetic order)

The Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University

The Center on Chinese Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

The Institute of Education, Tsinghua University

Keynote Speakers (in alphabetic order)

Prof. Ruth Hayhoe on “The Role of Translation in China’s Cross-Cultural Collaboration”

Prof. Zhongying Shi on “‘Teaching Without Words’: Some Thoughts on Daoism Philosophy of Education”

Prof. Xudong Zhu on “Population Change and Reconstruction of Teacher Education System in China: Cognitive Model and Factors Analysis”

Program Structure (subject to change by Jul 1, 2024)

July 27 (Sat.): Pre-Conference Events (Optional); Registration
July 28 (Sun.): Opening Ceremony, Presidential Address, Keynote Speech 1, and Plenary/Concurrent Sessions; Registration
July 29 (Mon.): Keynote Speeches 2-3, Plenary/Concurrent Sessions, Registration
July 30 (Tue.): Optional Conference Events

Autonomy, Assessment and Accountability in Global School Reform














CERC is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of its two seminars on May 16 and 17, which explored important topics in the field of education. These seminars provided valuable insights and thought-provoking discussions for educators, policymakers, and researchers.

The first seminar on May 16 critically examined the emergence and implementation of the School Autonomy with Accountability (SAWA) reform model. Professor Antoni Verger discussed the complex measures introduced by numerous governments to improve quality assurance and learning outcomes in schools. Attendees gained valuable insights into the varying policy trajectories and assemblages of SAWA policies, as well as a comparative analysis of different administrative cultures, degrees of educational marketization, and approaches to teachers’ professional regulation. This seminar was based on a 5-year, multi-scalar research initiative funded by the European Research Council, conducted in Norway, Chile, and Spain.

The second seminar on May 17 explored how educational institutions utilize data from Large Scale Assessments (LSAs) to inform decision-making and educational practices. Attendees discovered how teachers’ beliefs about the fairness and validity of LSAs influence their engagement with the data and explored the crucial roles of teacher cooperation and trust in school leadership. The seminar presented a comprehensive analysis of data gathered from a teacher survey conducted under the ERC-funded Reformed-project, focusing on urban schools in Chile, Norway, and Spain (Catalonia). Professor Melanie Ehren also joined Professor Verger to present her findings from a configuration synthesis that analyzed results from previous studies in six countries (South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Honduras) about teachers’ accountability in school settings.

Both seminars offered insightful discussions and engaged attendees in meaningful conversations on essential aspects of educational reforms and data utilization in schools. We hope that attendees gained valuable insights and that these seminars inspired further discussion and research in the field of education. Stay tuned for CERC’s upcoming events and seminars.

Heritage Literacy in the Lives of Chinese Muslims: A Semiotic Study








CERC hosted a seminar on May 14th, featuring Dr. Ibrar Bhatt, who presented his research on the intricate connections between the literacies of religious practice, food heritage, and artistic expression within Sino-Muslim communities in Mainland China.

The seminar aimed to shed light on the significance of heritage literacy in understanding and preserving the rich cultural heritage of Sino-Muslims. Dr. Bhatt’s presentation drew from a comprehensive dataset of images, artefacts, and interviews collected during his study on Sino-Muslim heritage literacy. His research delved into the semiotic materials prevalent in Sino-Muslim daily life and heritage practice, including restaurant signage, religious education, and various art forms such as calligraphy, paper-cutting, and Kung Fu.

During the seminar, Dr. Bhatt emphasized the importance of everyday heritage literacy in expressing, constructing, and remembering Sino-Muslim heritage. He highlighted how these intertwined spheres of social activity provide a platform for the diverse and nuanced display and manipulation of Sino-Muslim heritage. Currently engaged in fieldwork in Hong Kong SAR for a project funded by the British Academy, Dr. Bhatt concluded his presentation by offering further insights into how heritage literacy intersects with commercial conditions and population flows. His findings pointed to the significance of heritage literacy as an important field of study, which can complement ongoing research on heritage language and heritage education in Hong Kong SAR and the Greater Bay Area.

The seminar, organized by CERC and chaired by Prof. Yang Lili, provided a valuable platform for researchers, academics, and individuals interested in heritage literacy to engage in meaningful discussions and exchange ideas. It served as a significant step forward in understanding the complex dynamics of Sino-Muslim heritage and its role in contemporary society.

CERC’s 2024 Annual General Meeting

CERC held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 10, 2024 in a hybrid mode. The main purpose of the AGM was to review CERC’s performance since the last AGM in 2023. Nutsa Kobakhidze, the Director of CERC, welcomed all members and thanked the Management Committee for their support throughout the year.

During the meeting, Nutsa Kobakhidze presented the Annual Report and highlighted CERC’s notable achievements, which included a highly successful 5-year review, a new contract with Routledge, UNESCO Chair activities, and more. Throughout the review period, the Centre remained active, hosting seminars and events. CERC members published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and participated in international, local, and regional conferences. Looking ahead, CERC will co-host a conference with CESHK on November 22-24, 2024, where it will also celebrate its 30th birthday.

The minutes of the previous AGM were approved during the meeting, and an 11-minute teaser of a CERC-supported documentary film from Georgia on shadow education was screened.

The meeting adjourned at 4.05 pm, followed by a seminar featuring Maren Elfert, Senior Lecturer in International Education at King’s College London. Professor Elfert’s talk was entitled “Global Governance and the Promissory Visions of Education.”


Healing the Scars of War: Teaching for Peace through Higher Education in Divided and Conflict-Affected Contexts













On March 22nd, CERC was proud to host Professor Kevin Kester for its seminar series. The seminar focused on exploring Higher Education (HE) pedagogies for peace with university educators in four divided and conflict-affected contexts: China/Taiwan, Cyprus, Korea, and Somalia.

Professor Kester’s study investigated the teaching of peace and reconciliation through HE in settings affected by conflict. Using a combination of fieldwork, document analysis, and interviews with 40 faculty members, he employed inductive thematic analysis to generate four themes: community, complexity, criticality, and change. These themes were then further analyzed through the lenses of cultural political economy of education and borderlands.

The findings of Professor Kester’s research revealed contested interpretations and creative and resilient approaches to the teaching of peace in divided contexts. The study highlighted the challenges and opportunities of teaching peace in conflict-affected settings and emphasized the importance of education in promoting peaceful coexistence.

The seminar was joined by CERC members, master students in the Faculty as well as other scholars from around the world through online participation. CERC is looking forward to hosting more seminar in the coming April.



An Asian University? Intra-Asia Dialogue, Comparative Praxis

CERC is hosting a two-day roundtable jointly organized by CERC and Kyoto University on March 4th and 5th, 2024. This event will bring together presenters and discussants from both Kyoto University and The University of Hong Kong, creating a platform for vibrant discussions and valuable exchanges of ideas.

The roundtable will cover a wide range of topics, most of which fall within the field of Comparative Education in the context of Asia. To participate in this event, please refer to the following information:

Date & Time: March 4th and 5th (Monday and Tuesday)

Location: RMS 403 & Zoom (hybrid)

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 596 329 1331 (or scan the QR code on the poster)

Chairs: Lili Yang & Jeremy Rappleye

For details of presentations and seminars, please see the attached agenda.

Chinese Intellectual Traditions as Explicit/Tacit Knowledge: A Theoretical Inquiry and Beyond














On February 2nd, the Comparative Studies in Educational Traditions SIG held its first seminar of the year 2024. The seminar featured Dr. Zhu Yanzhen, a PhD graduate from the Faculty, who presented her doctoral research on Chinese intellectual traditions. Dr. Zhu shared her insights on constructing an analytical framework for interpreting Chinese intellectual traditions during the seminar. The term “intellectual tradition” is frequently used but rarely defined, leaving room for further theoretical and empirical inquiries. Dr. Zhu’s theoretical inquiry began with a comprehensive examination of the definition of tradition and further explored the theories of Edward Shils and Michael Polanyi. The inquiry was deepened with the inclusion of non-Western intellectual histories and traditional Chinese resources.

Dr. Zhu’s developed analytical framework defines Chinese intellectual traditions as patterns that guide the actions of Chinese intellectuals, both explicitly and tacitly. The framework also suggests that an individual’s real experiences can serve as a starting point for exploring intellectual traditions. Dr. Zhu’s presentation shed light on the complex topic of intellectual traditions and provided a valuable framework for interpreting Chinese intellectual traditions. Her approach emphasizes the importance of considering non-Western intellectual histories and traditional resources when exploring intellectual traditions.

The seminar was attended in person by Prof. Yang Rui, Prof. Nutsa Kobakhidze, Prof. Liz Jackson, Prof. Jeremy Rappleye and Prof. Yang Lili. Additionally, participants from around the world joined online. The seminar was facilitated by SIG secretary Fan Lijun and CERC secretary Tian Renxiang. We look forward to more seminars in 2024.

Challenges for Comparative and International Education: Learning from Qualitative Methodologies and Research Traditions in Oceania














CERC was very proud to host Prof. Michael Crossley for a talk at the CERC public seminar on December 4th, 2023. The seminar, titled “Challenges for Comparative and International Education: Learning from Qualitative Methodologies and Research Traditions in Oceania,” provided a platform for CERC members to engage in a conversation with Prof. Crossley in the field of Comparative Education.

During the first part of his presentation, Prof. Crossley offered a historical perspective on the development of Comparative and International Education. He highlighted the challenges faced by the field in the current socio-political climate, where critical interrogation of the intellectual foundations has become a priority due to global changes and tensions. Prof. Crossley further explored the challenges posed by the dominance of Northern epistemologies and the influential projects of international organizations, such as PISA. He drew connections between these challenges and his own experiences with Oceanic research epistemologies and traditions, offering valuable insights into alternative approaches and perspectives.

The talk was chaired by Prof. Mark Bray, the UNESCO Chair at the University of Hong Kong. CERC members from the Faculty, including Dr. Liliyang, Prof. Ora Kwo, and Dean Yang, were present, along with more than 50 participants attending both online and offline.

The event was dedicated to the memory of Ronald Sultana, a professor of comparative education at the University of Malta, who passed away on November 23rd, 2023.



An Interdependent Approach to Happiness and Well-Being

On November 30th, CERC held a talk by Prof. Jeremy Rappleye on the topic of the approach to happiness. This talk was based on his latest book “An Interdependent Approach to Happiness and Well-Being” (Palgrave, 2023), co-authored with Yukiko Uchida. The talk aimed to provide a historical and comparative perspective on the definition of happiness. In particular, it highlighted the unique understanding of happiness in Japanese society and critiqued the dominant measurement frameworks used by international organizations such as the OECD, UNICEF, and UNESCO. These organizations and their indices, according to the speaker, tend to conceptualize happiness and well-being based on Western European and American philosophical, cultural, and social sciences. The talk delved into these policies and biases, drawing from the insights presented in the speaker’s new book.

This seminar was chaired by Nutsa Kobakhidze and attended by over 40 online participants from around the world, as well as 38 faculty staff and students. Following the talk, the audience engaged in a discussion, raising questions about the philosophical assumptions of happiness and its ontological and epistemological aspects. This led to critical reflections on how happiness is understood and how it can be known. CERC plans to organize more engaging seminars in the coming week, stay tuned for our next seminar on December 4th.