Comparative and cultural perspectives on educational reform

David Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper reviews a study entitled “A comparative survey of Commonwealth experience of efforts to improve the quality of Basic Education” presented at a conference held in 1991 by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London for the Commonwealth Ministers of Education Conference in Barbados. It seems opportune now to review the comparative landscape of educational reform since then with a view to identifying models of good practice and the challenges that face us all. The immediate aim is to raise a number of issues – and hopefully controversies – that will contribute to a lively and informative conference. The paper is in three parts. In the first it reviews the milestones along the road of educational reform since the 1990s with a particular focus upon issues of school quality, effectiveness and improvement. In the second it discusses – with examples from a range of countries in which the author has worked – six key challenges we now face. The third part looks briefly at methodological developments and in particular the increasing importance attached to culturally appropriate approaches to researching and evaluating educational reform. It also outlines the case for making greater use of two research methods - life history, and narrative enquiry - in the quest for more meaningful evidence-gathering and analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalKASBIT Business Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008

Bibliographical note

© KASB Institute of Technology (PVT) Ltd, 2008


  • comparative and cultural
  • educational reforms & quality
  • economic growth
  • universal primary education


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