Introducing East Asian teaching methods into western schools: is it a good idea?

John Jerrim.

About six months ago I released a paper discussing the reason for East Asian success in the OECD PISA survey of 15 year olds’ skills and knowledge in reading, mathematics and science, focussing largely upon the role of home background and culture. I have been somewhat overwhelmed by the number of people who have shown an interest in this paper and who have contacted me about this work since. Today, I present some evidence on the other side of the story – the ‘impact’ of East Asian teaching methods on children’s mathematics test scores. Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Evidence-based policy, International comparisons, Schools

A Bill of Rights for professional educators in FE and Skills

Frank Coffield.

By using the term “professional educators”, we wish to include tutors, teachers, lecturers, assessors, curriculum developers, mentors, counsellors, career advisers, administrators, personal assistants, technical and support staff, vocational and academic specialists. In short, all the myriad types of innovators, risk-takers and life-changers who together constitute the professionals in the FE and Skills sector. Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Further higher and lifelong education, Leadership and management

China’s Language Policies

Li Wei.

Since 2006, China’s State Language Commission, an administrative department under the Ministry of Education, has been compiling an annual Green Paper on the so-called ‘language life’ in China. These Green Papers are published under the title Language Situation in China, and the English translation of the key parts of the reports between 2006 and 2013 are now available as Li Yuming and Li Wei eds, 2013, 2014, 2015. The reports detail many facets of the language policies and in China and have fast become an essential reference for those interested in the socio-cultural changes in Chinese society today. Read more ›

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Posted in International comparisons

Conservative education plans are poetic – but are they practical?

Chris Husbands.

This post originally appeared in The Conversation

Each year, the Queen’s speech marks the point where the poetry of aspiration gets translated into the hard slog of legislation and implementation. The Conservative manifesto for education was certainly bold and aspirational: firmly targeted at parents (the chapter on education is headed “giving your child the best start in life”), the document promised a “good primary school place for every child”, with “zero tolerance of failure”. It pledged that struggling and failing schools would be taken over, good schools – of whatever type – would be allowed to expand, and 500 new free schools would be established. Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Leadership and management, Schools

Low fee private schools in developing countries: separating ideology from evidence

Carolina Junemann and Stephen Ball

It was 15 years ago that James Tooley first drew attention to the significant number of very disadvantaged children in developing countries attending private, low fee schools rather than the free (or otherwise cheaper), public alternatives. But even now, nobody knows exactly how many of these so-called Low Fee Private Schools (LFPS) are out there – largely because so many of them remain un-recognised and uncertified by governments.

However, Annual Status of Education (ASER) Pakistan estimates that 59% of children in urban areas and 23% in rural areas were enrolled in private schools in 2012; Pratham estimates that in India 28.3% of children in rural areas were enrolled in private schools in 2012.

Advocates of low fee private schools tend to blame the public sector for their proliferation, arguing that parents are voting with their feet. Read more ›

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Posted in International development
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.


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