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Comparative Education for the 21st Century: retrospect and prospect

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During the 19th and 20th centuries modern Western education systems have become so globally embedded that alternative forms of educational provision-and goals-have become almost inconceivable. The article argues the likely need for a substantial reconceptualisation in the content, organisation and evaluation of contemporary education systems in response to the profound changes currently impacting on society. Comparative education, it is argued, has a unique capacity 'to make the familiar strange' but so far, despite the advent of exciting new methodologies and the rapidly increasing prominence of comparative studies as a tool for policy-making, comparative education has largely worked within the conventional 'delivery model' conception of education. By so doing, it has arguably helped to reinforce the status quo. Thus the second half of the article offers a prospective vision for the mode, purpose and context of comparative education studies which is in tune with the emerging new educational aspirations of the 21st century and the acknowledged shortcomings of conventional forms of educational provision. Such a 'neo-comparative education', it is argued, would focus on learning and its relationship with culture; would become perhaps better conceptualised as Wa 'comparative learnology' as the means of understanding how individuals can be encouraged to engage successfully with the many new forms of learning opportunity that are likely to characterise the third millennium.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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