Presentation (Elaboration), 2012
13 Pages, Grade: tertiary level
The Rationale of Studying Comparative Education to Students in Tanzanian Educational Institutions: Challenges and Implications for the Future.
Mr. Godlove Lawrent
This paper gives the critical justifications for studying comparative education to students in educational institutions in Tanzania. It also tries to trace back the short historical perspectives of the field of comparative education, challenges facing the field of comparative education in Tanzania and the implications of the field of comparative education for future improvement of the educational systems. The paper concludes that, the study of comparative education is very important for all Tanzanian students as it enables them become good educational policy makers, educational planners and educational analysts. This paper also insists that the study of comparative education is essential for adoption of policies useful for improving the education quality in the country. However this paper suggests that there is a need to make the study of comparative education as a compulsory discipline to all students from primary to tertiary level.
Historically, the field of comparative education grew from international Education which analyzes and fosters international orientation in knowledge and attitudes and brings together students, teachers and scholars from different nations to learn about and from each other (BAICES, 1973). However, comparative education itself refers to the study of various and often contrasting educational systems with a view of understanding the similarities and differences (University of Nairobi, 1993). It studies why educational systems (structure, organization, curricula and financing) and processes vary, and how education relates to wider social factors and forces. Likewise, BAICES (1973) defines comparative education as an academic and interdisciplinary subject which applies historical, philosophical and social science theories and methods to classify and explain characteristics of different nations’ educational system. The study has long based its insights on number of countries and case studies of national education systems.
Before 1950s, the study focused mainly on philosophical and cultural origins of national educational system (Carnoy and Rhoten, 2002). Today, the field of comparative education is moving towards more sophisticated examination in relation to economic, political and social forces (Arnove, 2008). Furthermore, Adick (1992) claims that, comparative education focuses much on explaining the diversity of development, processes of expansion and systematization of modern education in different countries. Bray (2007) emphasizes that, comparative educators are interested in examining the similarities and differences in the educational processes of various groups, the examination of the educational relationships obtained between the developed and developing areas.
Rationale of Studying Comparative Education
In actual fact, students in educational institutions are not prepared without the study of comparative education due to the following justifiable reasons. Comparative education provides reference for reforms. Through studying the educational systems of other countries we can discover which reforms are possible and desirable (University of Nairobi, 1993). In the 1990s, for example before adopting educational reforms for grade 7 and 8; China studied the reforms in Australia, England, Sweden, New Zealand and United States (Joong, et al, 2009). Before the reform, the Chinese educational curriculum demanded students to study the same material, memorizing text and writing examination. Therefore, China used the experience from those countries to implement the reform. In the same way, Argentina learned to Chile the decentralization reforms of Education and hence, adopted (Narodowski and Nores, 2001). Through this reference, it is essentially important for Tanzanian students to study comparative education for the same purposes. It is clear from this lesson that the education reforms in Tanzania follow the similar path.
The study helps students to improve the education in their home country. Comparative education helps students to acquire better understanding of education system of other countries and borrow some aspects for better improvement of education at home. Paige (2005) emphasizes that, comparative education contributes to the internalization of school curriculum and student learning experience, develop students’ broader world views, cross–cultural and comparative analytical skills. Similarly, the study of comparative education helps students to make connection between the local and global, and the relationship between education, development and society.
Furthermore, comparative education help students to understand how educational systems are shaped by wealth, ideology, social cultural features of the country and impacts of globalization on education policy and practice in different regions and countries (Padavil, 2009). Narodowski and Nores (2001) maintain that, the last decades were largely characterized by the amount of content of the education policies developed worldwide due to the downfall of the USSR. Therefore educational policies in Latin America and other continents were dramatically altered to reflect changed economic policies. The Tanzania Education system is shaped by the ideology of socialism and self-reliance, thus all educational polices reflect the philosophy of education for self-reliance. Carnoy and Rhoten (2002) claim that, globalization is a force reorganizing the world’s economy and the main resources for that economy are increasing knowledge and information. The global economy in turn shapes the nature of educational opportunities and institutions, thus, studying comparative education is very essential since it helps students in Tanzania and the world as whole to understand how economic, social cultural and ideological factors affect the education system in a particular nation/country.
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