Our research

The Centre for Comparative and International Education has with the Aga Khan Foundation launched a new programme of research that seeks to examine two pressing concerns:

First, that the rise globally of political and economic uncertainties has invited conflicting expectations of the role of education, and second that the world crisis in education has produced uncertainty about the meaning of learning and conflicting perspectives about where we learn, what we learn, when we learn, and how we learn.

We believe that now more than ever there is a critical need to reconsider the debates about the role of education and the meaning of learning in an uncertain world. We must think again about the shape of the institutional frameworks in which education is given and interrogate more robustly the discourse that seeks to define education – as being of good quality or not, inclusive or not, effective or not.

And that it is right to explore the tensions between the efforts that value the development of open-mindedness, of intercultural understanding and of comfort with diversity, and those that look towards education to retract in favour of singularity, of certainty and of definitive standards, at a time when the debate on this is at its most heightened.

The research programme in its inaugural year intends to inspire new conversations, scholarly papers, and empirical studies about the role of education and the nature and meaning of learning in a world in flux.

Current Funded Research

A Longitudinal Study of Learning, Progression, and Personal Growth in Sierra Leone (2015 – 2018):  David Johnson

The study, funded by the Solon Foundation tracks the learning progression and self-development of secondary school students in Sierra Leone. Computer Assisted reading and mathematics tests are administered to a cohort of 1,000 students three times a year over three years. The tests are administered electronically and the data are immediately available for diagnostic and formative feedback to schools. The study, in its frequency and in the fine-grained nature of the assessments and reporting is unique in the context of developing countries.

A randomised control trial of teacher incentives and pedagogical support in Rwanda (2014 – 2017): Andrew Zeitlin, Georgetown; Clare Lever, Blavatnik School, Oxford; Pieter Serneels, University of East Anglia, David Johnson and Owen Ozier, World Bank)

The study involves a randomised control trial that examines the impact of performance pay and pedagogical training on test results, teacher behaviour and career choice in Rwandan Primary Schools. The study is funded by the International Growth Centre (£67,420) the World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) (£38,4615) and the John Fell Fund (£60,000).

Confucius Institutes in Africa: Friendship or Soft Power? (2014 – 2016): David Johnson and Amy Stambach, University of Wisconsin –Madison.

This study benefits from a small grant awarded by the British Academy. It looks at the role of Confucius Institutes in Africa and is interested in the theme of ‘Friendship’ in Sino African political and social relationships.

Maia Chankseliani is currently working on a number of funded projects on higher education internationalisation and student mobility/recruitment. These projects examine the momentum, direction, and consequences of international student mobility from Russia, Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia to the EU countries. These are mixed-methods studies relying on interview data and the statistics to explore the role of micro, meso, and macro factors in shaping strategies, mechanisms, policies, decisions, and consequences of student mobility/recruitment.

The impact of our work

The Centre provides policy advice and produces discussion papers for governments and higher education institutions in different parts of the world including Mexico, Russia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Bhutan. The series Oxford Studies in Comparative Education, resulting principally from work on comparative and international education in Oxford, comprises 35 volumes, with several more in progress. The journal Research in Comparative and International Education is edited by David Phillips and includes David Johnson and Hubert Ertl on its editorial board. David Phillips chairs the board of the journal Comparative Education and has served as chair of the British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE) and on the board of directors of the US Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)

Page last modified: April 26, 2017