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Inequality in Education: Comparative and International Perspectives

Return to CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

cerc-24Edited by Donald B. Holsinger & W. James Jacob

Summer 2008

ISBN 978-962-8093-14-4
HK$300 (local), US$45 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer

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Inequality in Education: Comparative and International Perspectives is a compilation of conceptual chapters and national case studies that includes a series of methods for measuring education inequalities. The book provides up-to-date scholarly research on global trends in the distribution of formal schooling in national populations. It also offers a strategic comparative and international education policy statement on recent shifts in education inequality, and new approaches to explore, develop and improve comparative education and policy research globally. Contributing authors examine how education as a process interacts with government finance policy to form patterns of access to education services. In addition to case perspectives from 18 countries across six geographic regions, the volume includes six conceptual chapters on topics that influence education inequality, such as gender, disability, language and economics, and a summary chapter that presents new evidence on the pernicious consequences of inequality in the distribution of education. The book offers (1) a better and more holistic understanding of ways to measure education inequalities; and (2) strategies for facing the challenge of inequality in education in the processes of policy formation, planning and implementation at the local, regional, national and global levels.

Donald B. Holsinger is Professor Emeritus in Education and Development Studies at Brigham Young University, and has held academic appointments at the University of Chicago, the University of Arizona, and the State University of New York (Albany). He is a former President of the Comparative and International Education Society and Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank.

W. James Jacob is Acting Director of the Institute for International Studies in Education at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education, and is the former Assistant Director of the Center for International and Development Education at the University of California (Los Angeles).

Review published in the journal Comparative Education Review, Volume 54, Number 3, (August 2010).

Review published in the Journal International Review of Education, Volume 56, Number 4, 2010.

Non-Formal Education: Flexible Schooling or Participatory Education?

Return to CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

cerc-15Alan Rogers

2004, 316pp.

ISBN 10: 962-8093-30-4
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-30-4.

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer

Order from CERCSpringer, or online.

Preview on Springer or Google Books


This is the first full study of non-formal education on an international scale since the 1980s. The book describes the emergence of the concept in the context of development and educational reform. It traces the debate about non-formal education from its origins in 1968 to the mid 1980s, and looks at the issues that this debate raised. It then describes a number of programmes in different parts of the world which call themselves “non-formal”, pointing out the wide range of different views about what is and what is not non-formal. Rogers asks whether we should drop the term altogether or try to reconceptualise it in terms of flexible schooling or participatory education.

This is an important new book by a well-established author. It deals with complex issues, but is written in a clear style. It contains an important new analysis of the development paradigms in which the controversies surrounding non-formal education grew up, and which shaped its purpose and impacts. The author’s call for a reformulation of the concept will find echoes not only in developing societies, but also in Western circles, where the language of non-formal education is being used increasingly within the context of lifelong learning. The book grew out of the teaching of non-formal education in which Professor Rogers has been engaged for the last 20 years. It is intended for teachers and students in comparative education courses in higher education institutions, and for researchers and others with an interest in the field.

Alan Rogers is an international expert in adult education and learning, with wide experience in Asia and Africa. He is the author of Teaching Adults, of Adults Learning for Development, and of What is the Difference? A new critique of adult learning and teaching. He was formerly Executive Director of Education for Development at the University of Reading, UK. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Universities of Nottingham and East Anglia, and Convener of Uppingham Seminars in Development.

Changing Education: Leadership, Innovation and Development in a Globalzing Asia Pacific

Return to CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

cerc-20Edited by Peter D. Hershock, Mark Mason and John N. Hawkins

June 2007, 348 pp.

ISBN 10: 962-8093-54-1

ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-54-0

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer

Order from CERC or Springer

Preview on Springer or Google Books
This book responds to the growing unease of educators and non-educators alike about the inadequacy of most current educational systems and programs to meet sufficiently the demands of fast changing societies. These systems and programs evolved and were developed in and for societies that have long been transformed, and yet no parallel transformation has taken place in the education systems they spawned. In the last twenty years or so, other sectors of society, such as transportation and communications systems, have radically changed the way they operate, but education has remained essentially the same. There is no doubt: education needs to change.

To those ready to accept this challenge, this book represents a welcome guide. Unlike most books on educational policy, this volume does not focus on improving existing educational systems but on changing them altogether. Its focus is not on doing things better, but on doing better things; not on doing things right, but on doing the right things to prepare students for a fast changing interdependent world.

Peter D. Hershock is an Educational Specialist and Coordinator of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is trained in both Western and Asian philosophy, with a specialization in Buddhist philosophy. His research and writing focus both on historical dimensions of Buddhist thought and practice, and on their relevance to addressing such contemporary issues as technology and development, education, human rights, and the role of values in cultural and social change.

Mark Mason is Associate Professor in Philosophy and Educational Studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong, where he is also Director of the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC). With research interests in philosophy, educational studies, comparative education and educational development, he is Regional Editor (Asia & The Pacific) of the International Journal of Educational Development, Editor of the CERC Studies in Comparative Education Series, and President of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong.

John N. Hawkins is a Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is Director of the Center for International and Development Education at UCLA, where he served for twelve years as Dean of International Studies. His research focuses on education and development, and specifically on higher education reform, in the Asian region. He is the author of 15 books and over 60 articles on educational development in Asia.

A review of this book was published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Education (Vol.30, No.3, 2010) pp.355-357.

Reducing the Burden on the Poor: Household Costs of Basic Education in Gansu, China

Return to the CERC Monograph Series.


Mark Bray, Ding Xiaohao, Huang Ping

2004, 117pp.

ISBN 10: 9628093320
ISBN 13: 9789628093328

HK$100 (local), US$16 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC)

Buy from CERC or online

Preview in Google Books



The Gansu Basic Education Project (GBEP) was launched in 1999 with the goal of helping one of the poorest parts of China to achieve universal basic education. The project aims particularly to assist minority children and girls, and has had a significant impact.

The reasons why children do not enrol in school, or drop out at an early stage, are many and complex. This study focuses on the costs of schooling to households. These costs can be a heavy burden, and may be a major obstacle to universalisation of basic education. The GBEP has aimed to reduce the costs to poor households in various ways. This study examines the arrangements for financing education at county and school levels. Among other project components, it focuses on the effectiveness of a targeted scholarship scheme for poor children, a reformed system of education budgeting, and a free-lunch programme.

Mark Bray is Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong. Ding Xiaohao is Head of the Economics of Education Department in Peking University; and Huang Ping is Deputy Director of the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Education in the Commonwealth: Towards and Beyond the Internationally Agreed Goals

Trey Menefee & Mark Bray

Every three years the Ministers of Education and senior officials of the 54 Commonwealth countries convene to share experiences and advance on common agendas.

The 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) was held in Mauritius from 28 to 31 August 2012. It focused on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA) goals.

Mark Bray and Trey Menefee were contracted by the Commonwealth Secretariat to produce the lead statistical document containing country ‘report cards’, which they presented during the opening session of the Ministers’ meeting. In this seminar they will share observations both on their report (which can be downloaded from, on the nature of the Ministers’ meeting, and on the wider agenda concerning new goals beyond 2015.

Lifelong Learning, Equality and Social Cohesion: New Directions in Research

12:45 – 2:00pm
1 March 2013 (Friday)
204 Runme Shaw Building, HKU Main Campus

Speaker: Andy Green


Learning brings a wide range of social benefits to individuals. People with more education tend to be healthier, to live longer, and to be less prone to depression. Are more educated societies more trusting, more tolerant and more socially cohesive than less educated ones? The answers are more complicated than we might imagine. Many individual benefits do not aggregate into societal gains, partly because many are relative or ‘positional’ – so that what one person gains from more education, another loses – and partly because the social effects of learning are mediated by other factors which vary across countries. Drawing on evidence from different disciplines, and a range of research projects conducted in LLAKES, this presentation examines these complex relations comparatively, seeking to show what kind of lifelong learning systems do most to boost social cohesion, and under what conditions.

Andy Green is Professor of Comparative Social Science at the Institute of Education, University of London, 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 comparative (historical and sociological) study of education and training systems, their origins and social and economic consequences. He was formerly co-founder and co-director of the UK Government-funded Wider Benefits of Learning Centre and has directed and co-directed a number of major comparative research projects addressing both economic and social impacts of education and training. Andy has published widely on a range of social and education issues, with major works translated into Chinese,French, German, Japanese and Spanish. He was elected as an Academician of the Academy of Social Science in 2010.

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