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Topic in Focus: Higher Education Access

Photo of students throwing graduations hats in the air (Credit: Pexels).

In honor of World Access to Higher Education Day on November 17th, this theme explores global challenges in equitable higher education access. Higher education access is monitored by studying participation in higher education by students, particularly those who are disadvantaged due to their age, race, gender, religion, sexuality, or economic class, and by the outcomes of their education, on both the individual socio-economic level and globally.

In Serbia, Roma remain underrepresented in higher education due to racial and economic discrimination. Learn more about the obstacles that they face and how this inequality can be overcome.

Over the last two decades, China has rapidly grown into a global economic superpower. Read about how this and other developments have impacted higher education access.

How does being first-generation impact students’ experiences in higher education? How can embracing students from a wider variety of social and economic backgrounds cultivate diversity? Read this study on the experiences of first-generation Māori and Pasifika students at university in New Zealand.

Explore the theme here.

Topic in Focus: Peace Education

Holidays go away briefcase

While many criticize the media for reproducing oppression, mass media can also be used to enact social change. In Peace Education, the authors take a look at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces Sesame Street and other locally created co-productions worldwide. Sesame Workshop’s programming exposes children to peace education content with the goals of ‘[empowering] children between the ages of three and eight years old with the skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to promote nonviolence’.

Topic in Focus: Self-Confidence in the Classroom

children drawing education.

What exactly is confidence? Throughout the years, many have wrestled with the ‘possibly intractable questions of whether dispositions such as confidence are skills, competences or “capabilities”, attitudes, personality traits, particular mind-sets, feelings or emotional responses to situations’. In Reinventing the Curriculum edited by Mark Priestley and Gert Biesta, read about confidence as a high-stakes educational and social goal.

Topic in Focus: Transitions

Architecture students at university

How do you define transitions, especially within an educational context?

In the chapter “Agency, Participation and Transitions Beyond School” by Caroline Sarojini Hart, the author discusses developing different understandings of transition and the different aspects and angles that come with it. Drawing on data from two different studies with young people undertaken in Yorkshire in the UK, Hart looked at factors such as relationships with communities, families, and peers, to study how these factors influenced change.

Read about conversion factors and agency and transition in Agency and Participation in Childhood and Youth

Teaching sustainability

In honor of Earth Day, which took place on April 22nd, this theme explores how sustainability education can be implemented in the curriculum.

Read about environmental education initiatives in India in Environmental Education in Schools: Perspective and Challenges

Find more chapters on environmental education here

Topic in Focus: Migration and Mobility in Childhood

Migration in childhood

Children are highly affected by all forms of migration, regardless of its motivations. This can result in emotional trauma, disruption to schooling, and family instability, while also leading to more stable environments, improved employment opportunities, and family reunification.

Japan Migration and Mobility in Childhood in Japan

Mexico Migration and Mobility in Childhood in Mexico

Turkey Migration and Mobility in Childhood in Turkey

Country in Focus: Chile

Wat Si Muang (Simuong) buddhist temple. Buddhist monks having vegetarian lunch in monastery. Vientiane, Laos..

There has been a flurry of great activity in educational policies applied in Chile since 1980. During the 1980s, Chile reformed its education system so that it would function according to market logic. This promoted expansion of private education and encouraged competition among schools. In the 90s, the return of democracy brought about programmes for educational equality: curricular reforms, longer school days, and improved teacher training. In the 2000s, the student movement proposed ways to enhance public education and eventually, the Quality Assurance System was born. Read more in Education in South America.

Person in black hoodie riding a swing in the rain.

Challenges in education

Amongst OECD countries, Chile has the lowest level of social inclusion in their schools. In this policy report, the authors’ note causes of social segregation of Chilean schools and how parents’ attitudes contribute to this issue.

Yellow and black metal tool set.

Teacher education

One of the main factors of quality education is the quality of teachers. For quite a few years, Latin American countries have been heavily critiqued in preparing competent teachers. In The Struggle for Teacher Education, learn about the teacher education issues in six South American countries and the possible solutions.

Country in Focus: Albania

Albanian national flag Balkans.

Albania has seen an increase in efforts to introduce significant pre-university and higher education reforms in the past two decades. Up until 1991, the country was one of the most economically disadvantaged countries of Europe, as it was under a totalitarian regime for many years. With the end of communism: , Albania looked to international agencies and organizations not only for educational models and policies, but also financial assistance. The early 1990s saw curriculum revisions that included new ideas about democracy. In 2001, the country adopted the United Nations framework of the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction and education and health sector reform. And in 2004, basic compulsory education changed from an eight-year system to a nine-year one. Read all of the details in ‘from Education in Non-EU Countries in Western and Southern Europe: Education Around the World.

Children in Albania

Challenges in education

Generally, participatory action is needed to hold educational officials and institutions accountable for malfunctions or misdeeds. In this policy report, the authors conduct research on participatory accountability and collective action with parents and teachers in Albania and note how this relates to elections of parent class representatives and voting in the latest national elections.

Italian-American food

Teacher education

Since 1995, teachers in Albania have been faced with evolving demands. The 2005 National Report on Albanian education revealed that there is a lack of standardized criteria for teachers, evaluation and self-evaluation systems and competent people to do training. In moves to address this, Albania has had an uptick of teacher education programs undergoing accreditation procedures and the development of a mentoring system.

Country in Focus: Singapore

Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education and today is regarded as one of the world’s best education systems, despite being a young country that is scarce in resources. It has sought to create a modern society that values and rewards hard work, and culture of excellence combined with policy focus and targeted investment over the last four decades has resulted in high academic achievement for Singapore’s students.

In Education in South-East Asia the Singapore section is focused on the theme of “Transition.” The first part of the chapter details the key transitions and initiatives that are responsible for the development of the education system. The second part discusses the demands and challenges, such as ensuring that graduates remain competitive in a global space.

Read the entire chapter to get all the details about Singapore’s education system.

Check out Singapore’s country overview.

Country in Focus: Ukraine

In Ukraine, the education system mixes elements inherited from the Soviet Union with a growing desire for national renewal. Under the Soviet Union, near-universal literacy was achieved, despite major ideological influences on education. Following the nation’s transition to a democracy in the 1990s, major reforms led to the abolition of ideology in the education system and new initiatives promoting national culture. Today, education is regarded as one of the most important human values in Ukraine. The ideas of scientific and cultural progress, humanism, democracy, and mutual respect underpin Ukrainian education.

As Ukraine faces another conflict with Russia, it is yet to be seen how this will impact that nation’s future.

Read an overview of education in Ukraine here.

Read a 2014 article emphasizing the importance of educating future generations as autonomous, self-regulating citizens.

Learn more from an analysis of cooperative efforts between history teachers in Lviv, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia.

Country in Focus: Iran

Photo of Iran (Credit: Getty).

Education in Iran has a complex history characterized by ideological struggle, competing agendas, and contrasting methods. Until the twentieth century, the Islamic seminary system led education until being eclipsed by the state-run education system popularized in Europe. Before the Revolution, Iranian leaders promoted nationalism and the glory of pre-Islamic Persia before the new regime attempted to unite the population under Islam. Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, seminaries once again grew in influence, eventually producing most of the country’s political elite. The cultural revolution dramatically altered the nation’s educational framework, impacting institutions at all levels with a particular focus on universities.

Today, gender equality, instruction quality, and academic achievement remain the greatest issues facing the nation’s educational development. Following weeks of protest in September 2022 in support of women and against governmental oppression, Iran seems poised for more transformation.

Images above are courtesy of Getty Images and PixaBay.