Bristol Conversations in Education - Development of ‘Education for All’ in the Isle of Man

3 November 2021, 1.00 PM - 3 November 2021, 2.30 PM

Professor Angela Little, Honorary Emeritus Professor, UCL Institute of Education and UCL Social Research Institute

Online event. Please register via the link below to receive further details.

This event is part of the School of Education's Bristol Conversations in Education research seminar series. These seminars are free and open to the public.

Hosted by the Education in Small States Research Group (ESSRG) and the Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education (CIRE)

Speaker: Professor Angela Little, Honorary Emeritus Professor, UCL Institute of Education and UCL Social Research Institute

Small island nations embed exceptionalism, in contrast to globalised universalism. They provide opportunities to understand the local and what could be, rather than the global and what has to be. This presentation offers a window onto a Manx world that reveals the possibilities of endogenous development within a political relationship with the UK, described by some as ‘colonial’ and by others as one of self-determination.

The Isle of Man is located in the Irish Sea at the epicentre of the British Isles. The island’s strategic maritime location had rendered it a crossroads of cultures - Pagan, Christian, Celtic, Norse and maritime. Until the early nineteenth century the majority of the population were speakers of Manx Gaelic, a Celtic language, derived from Old Irish. Constitutionally, the island is a crown dependency, has been part of neither the United Kingdom nor Great Britain, and has no representation in Westminster. Instead, it boasts its own parliament that stretches back unbroken at least 1,040 years. It lays claim to have been the first country in the world to give, in 1881, women the same voting rights as men in parliamentary elections. It has its own education, health and legal and fiscal systems, its own national flag, postage stamps and currency. It is the only nation to have been awarded the status of a UNESCO biosphere. With a population of just 84.000 and physical size of 572 is a small island nation. In terms of area and physical size of population, Tonga is its closest neighbour (Tonga pop.104,000 and 748 In terms of travel distance, Tonga is the Isle of Man’s most remote neighbour (54.2 N, 4.5 W (IOM); 21.2 S,175.1 W (Tonga).

This piece of research is at an early stage. It has two main aims currently. First, it seeks to identify avenues in the development over time of Manx education that resonate with themes in the international literature on (i) education in small island states (ii) development and dependency and (iii) education and sustainable development. Second, it aims to assess the relative effects of exogenous and endogenous factors in the development of ‘Education for All’ over time, with a particular emphasis on examples of autonomous decision-making, policy and practice.

There are several routes this research could take in the future and the purpose of this seminar is to share current thematic foci and seek advice on future directions from those of you well versed in one of more of these three literatures. To date, I have been exploring the issue of the medium of instruction, exogenous models of education and compulsory education within a changing political relationship with the UK. Other issues that might be explored include small schools, teacher recruitment, training and retention, curriculum relevance, migration.


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