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CESE Comparative Education Society in Europe XXVI Conference in Freiburg, Germany
Anikó Nagy Varga
The XXVI Conference was hold in Freiburg June 10-13 2014. The Comparative Education Society in Europe (CESE) Executive Organising Committee took its conference which topic was Governing Educational Spaces: Knowledge, teaching and learning in Transition. The main concept of the Conference was ’Educational Governance’ as this theme related different disciplines. Comparative Education in its widely understanding was the key field at the Conference. The organising committee core concept was to explore the emerging dynamics of educational governance within changing educational space under the umbrella of comparative education so as to attract a lot of attention.
What is CESE?
The Comparative Education Society in Europe (CESE) is an international scientific and educational association was founded in 1961 in London. The purpose of the Society is to make dialogue amongst scholars and researchers from the field of education and other disciplines, to encourage and promote comparative and international studies in education. Every two years the Society organises an international conference which attracts academics, scholars, practitioners and students from all parts of Europe and around the world. CESE also has a Women’s Network.
The Society has established the Journal of European Education: Issues and Studies. Many CESE members serve in the advisory board of the journal and CESE members could opt-in for an online subscription to the journal at a reduced price. The journal devotes regularly a section on CESE News and publishes a special issue every two years that is connected with CESE conferences. European Education is an international peer-reviewed journal, founded in 1969 which is devoted to original inquires and dialogue on education across the member states of the Council of Europe. The journal features articles on education in individual member states as well as the impact of European education initiatives globally. The journal is published quarterly and from Hungary Tamás Kozma professor emeritus, University of Debrecen is also among the Advisory Board with another originally Hungarian professor called Zsuzsa Millei from University of Newcastle, Australia.
What is WCCES?
CESE is a member society of World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES) The World Council of Comparative Education Societies was established in 1970. Its goals are to promote the study of comparative and international education throughout the world and enhance the academic status of this field to bring comparative education to bear on the major educational problems of the day by fostering co-operative action by specialists from different parts of the world. At World Congresses scholars, researchers and administrators interact with counterparts from around the globe on international issues of education. The WCCES was held its 48th Executive Meeting in Freiburg, Germany on 23rd June 2014.
At the 48th WCCES Executive Committee Meeting the WCCES Admissions and New Societies Standing Committee was held its meeting. The Standing Committee aims were to address the mission of the WCCES in encouraging and supporting the creation of new professional societies focused on scholarly activities in the field of comparative and international education, to communicate with and encourage new societies to be inducted as constituent members of the World Council. There is a prepare application process and continue the close communication with some associations that are actively applying for membership in 2014, one of them is Hungary. The head of Standing Committee Maria Manzon informed the Association the intention of applying for membership in the WCCES of The Hungarian Education Research Association (HERA). HERA had established the History of Education and Comparative research network. The Standing Committees’ aim is to continue to work closely with the applying societies. The Association count on the Standing Committee members in charge of specific regions (Europe, Central Asia, Post-Soviet region) for close follow up of each potential member society.
Topics at the Conference
Governing Knowledge and the Politics of Education, Governing Schooling and Schools, Governing Teachers and Teaching, Governing Learning and Learners, Governing Education beyond Schooling were the sub-themes, organised as Working Groups, have been established to explore general problems.
Within the workgroup of Governing Knowledge and the Politics of Education we could hear about curriculum changes of education, new governing pressures and change and traditions in the evolution of education in EU countries. Educating immigrants are those pupils whose intend to stay permanently in the host country and whose integrating was also one of the topics of this workgroup. The PISA discussions as a popular comparative topic could also be found.
Within the workgroup of Governing Schooling and Schools you could hear about different case studies of educational systems from an international and comparative perspective and different visions of school leadership and school management.
Within the workgroup of Governing Teachers and Teaching teachers, educators, practitioners were in the focus. The presentations were about teachers’ evaluation their identities, governing and integrity of them, empowering teachers, their competences and training as well as their evaluating and professionalism in all over the world.
Within working group four there were presentations about Governing learning and learners. Comparative studies were about testing, learning conditions, teachers’ knowledge, gifted education. Among these there was Zsuzsa Millei’s presentation: Governing the brain: New narratives of human capital in Australian early care and education. She was born and upgrown in Hungary and teaches at the University of Newcastle now. Her main research interests is early childhood education in Hungary and in Australia as she often publishes about this topic At this time in her presentation Zsuzsa Millei explored the human capital model in Australian early childhood policies. She focused on policy texts through meta-analysis and how these position human subjects within events and actions and inform local construction of practices.
Within Group five Governing education beyond schooling there were presentations about governance in higher education, women education and teachers’ professional through lifelong learning in connection of comparative perspective. Within Cross-thematic sessions there were presentations about governing diversity and the global norm of inclusive education, governing roma education, governing young peoples’ educational trajectories etc. Attila Papp from Hungarian Academy of Sciences took his presentation about Schools that succeed: Characteristics of segregated but high achieving schools in Hungary. He made a comparison between disadvantaged schools based on the socio-economic index of family backgrounds and successful schools based on competencies. He used the database of the Hungarian National Assessment of Basic Competence. Papp hopes he can formulate major steps ahead for the Hungarian educational policy facing Roma education.
My topic is a comparative survey of kindergarten BA students’ curriculum among European countries: Curriculum content and experiences. The aim of the research is to continuously renew the curriculum of the Faculty of Child and Adult Education of University of Debrecen. My aim is to assist its adaptation to current professional and social requirements and compare of kindergarten BA students’ educational curriculum among some European countries. They are Hungary, Poland, England, Spain and Finland. My purpose is to compare these curriculums to examine their contents to have a look at the main points of them. I have chosen these countries because the Hungarian students do their mobility mainly to these countries.
This survey is aimed to present different curriculum within the field of comparative education described by various nations, as to better understand its context. School didactic curriculum is generally accepted as an explicit, conscious, formally planned course with specific objectives. The examined countries were visited and have a look at their study programmes at different universities. The research is carried out analyzing the curriculum of each university. I have made content analysis collecting all the characteristic features of the curriculum and compared the identities and differences. Those countries involving in the research do not have any similar histories within the field of early childhood education or similar traditions of training future kindergarten pedagogues. When comparing the curriculum, the first noticeable difference is that each approach gives students a detailed framework for their study. They contain some basic studies with different contents and methods to be used. In contrast, the Hungarian plan is goal directed with the pedagogy of play on the perspectives and values of children’s free playing and development. This research compares the national plans in terms of their training purpose and content. It focuses in which way the curriculum are child centred or not. The research discusses how the plans reflect theories of learning and knowledge formation. As a result of the research we will be able to know more about different Kindergarten BA programmes in Europe. My research aim is to increase the effectiveness and frequency of international students’ mobility, to raise professional relation among universities and countries. To get acquainted the students with the international examples to learn from other nations.
During the Conference there were lots of interesting discussions about the concept of ‘Educational Governance’, which intensely debated in education and have connections with different fields of science. The Conference was intellectually exciting and was able to create some opportunities to keep up and extend our international network. The governance of education in many countries and of the world is currently general problematique. The organisers think national economic forces do not act in isolation and must be examined in a global context.