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Professor Michael Crossley delivers BAICE Anniversary Presidential Address

2 November 2018

Emeritus Professor Michael Crossley completed his year as President of the British Association of International and Comparative Education (BAICE) with the delivery of his Presidential Address at the University of York on the 13th September. His address was titled: Policy Transfer, Sustainable Development and the Contexts of Education.

It was fitting that Prof. Michael Crossley should be BAICE President in its 20th anniversary year. He has been an active member of BAICE throughout its twenty years, serving as Vice-Chair and Chair, and later creating its archive. Michael was the founding Director of the School of Education’s Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education (CIRE) (and remains an active member). His presidency was representative Bristol’s active role in BAICE. This year SoE hosted its anniversay symposium and Prof. Sheila Trahar is currently an editor for the association’s journal, Compare.

Michael’s presidential address got off to a memorable start with the voice of Aretha Franklin singing Sam Cooke’s American civil rights anthem, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ evoking the era in which he started his career in education. The address took us on a grand tour of international education policy ‘borrowing’ and its critique by comparativists. Starting in the early 19th century, he showed how the field has been influenced by a rich spectrum of changing theoretical and methodological approaches. Moving to the present time, he discussed the influence of big data and global league tables, the constraints imposed on local policy actors in aid-dependent nations and comparative education’s response to the sustainable development agenda. Referring to a recent British Academy and USP-funded research collaboration between the Bristol’s School of Education, the University of the South Pacific and the University of Nottingham, he urged education researchers to learn from education initiatives taken by small island developing states at the ‘sharp end of climate change’.

The address concluded with an in-depth analysis of implications and challenges for the future of the field of comparative and international education and, in its 20th anniversary year, for BAICE itself. One of these was the challenge to apply ‘comparative and international education, and the policy transfer literature to new research priorities and contexts that have urgent human rights and global security implications.’ The CIRE centre is pursuing this with vigour as part of its refreshed focus on issues of social, environmental and epistemic justice in education theory, policy and practice.

For more on this and other contributions to the BAICE conference by School of Education staff and students, visit the CIRE blog. The full address will be published in 2019 in BAICE’s journal, Compare: a journal of comparative and international education.

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