It traces the origins of this relationship back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, in a period when selective cultural borrowing had just led to the establishment of national systems of education. The need to explain the significant differences that existed across those systems – both in ideological and institutional terms – despite extensive borrowing, was one of the driving forces that gave birth to comparative education.
During the first half of the twentieth century, the subsequent attempt to discover the factors and forces that lied behind the development of education systems established yet another link between comparative education and educational policy; a link that was further reinforced during the first decades of the post war period when the process of democratisation and economic development posed a large number of problems, with comparative education aspiring to make a substantial contribution to their resolution.
The article focuses then on the present form of this relationship, seeking to analyse the roles of politicians and comparativists in policy making, the arena of their co-operation, their different perspectives when it comes to analyse educational problems and to formulate educational policies, and, the techniques they employ to overcome their differences.
It concludes by identifying the perils that this co-operation entails for comparative education as an academic field of study.
The article uses, as its narrative device, a brief discussion of a couple of moments of confidence about (i) the kind of knowledge which «comparative education» tries to create and (ii) its own expectations about its correct contribution to public life. The article uses as its intellectual device the tension between the fact that we have histories of ourselves as a field of study; but we are also part of history itself.
The world changes. Perhaps we have been very alert to our changing epistemic sense of ourselves, but less alert to our contemporary historical condition. Currently, in what senses are we well fitted to the Zeitgeist? Are we doomed to be successful?
Andreas Μ. Kazamias
Thematically, the study is organised in four major parts. The first part deals with the Report of the Committee of Seven Academics, entitled Democratic and Human Education/ Paideia in the Eurocypriot Polity (State) which was submitted to the Minister of Education and Culture in August, 2004. The Report examined certain «critical zones» of the educational system of Cyprus (e.g. ideology, governance, institutional structure of schooling, curriculum, teacher education and in-service training, school evaluation and teacher assessment, and university education), and made recommendations for the re-formation and modernisation of Cypriot education. The second part examines the discourse on educational reform as it is articulated mainly in the text «Strategic Planning» (2007), which was issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture during the administration of President Tassos Papadopoulos. The third part discusses the discourse and activities of the ongoing current reforms by the Leftist government of Dimitris Christofias. The fourth and final part reviews critically the three «moments of reform» or «episodes» and it shows how the reform discourse «morphs as it moves» within the philosophical-ideological framework of «a democratic and human paideia in the new Eurocypriot polity».
In conclusion, the article argues that the difficulties could have been much lesser, (a) if on the part of the government, there was required experience in implementing major changes in education; (b) if more attention was paid to the historical and cultural contexts; and, (c) if there was less haste.
It is argued that the effort to re-imagine local history is an effect of the transfer of new history discourse to Cyprus. The transfer of this discourse creates conditions for the disparagement of traditional history, as well as for legitimating the re-articulation of history teaching and writing along the theoretical and methodological lines of new history. It also reflects the aspirations of the agents involved in the processes of transfer: that new history can solve certain local and wider European problems, mainly of political ilk.
The article is divided into four main parts. The first part defines the theoretical framing upon which the narrative of the article is constructed. After that, the emergence of new history in the international educational arena is examined, paying special attention to sketching its major features and characteristics. In the third part the transfer of this discourse to Cyprus is analysed and the agents of transfer are identified. The focus of the fourth part is on the translation and metamorphosis of new history as it moves to Cyprus.
The conclusion of the article offers the locus of comparative education as a “teacher”, teaching lessons that are useful to our understanding of educational reform and policy formulation.