The Meeting Theme of the 67th Annual Conference of Comparative and International Education Society
Improving Education for a More Equitable World
All improvement requires change, but not every change is improvement.
The Improvement Guide (Gerald Langley et al., 2009)
To many, education remains a dream of equal opportunities for all learners, regardless of their backgrounds and contexts. Confucius advocated 2,500 years ago for education without discrimination (有教无类), a dream of education for all. This evolving vision was renewed right after WWII by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stipulating that everyone has the right to education. Although pioneers like minority woman leader Patsy Mink have long envisioned equal education with persevering efforts for the United States, the realities in the country and worldwide do not reflect this dream.
Educational reforms abound around the globe, but limited improvements have been made to actualize educational equity, as is reported again and again by the UNESCO in Global Education Monitoring Reports and more recently in Reimagining Our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education. Among the interrelated factors that account for these limited improvements are power, income, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, language, abilities, culture, religion, and geo-politics including neocolonialism. We are also facing climate change in an uncertain era of post-Covid, which impacts everyone, especially disadvantaged communities, further widening the existing gaps of learning access and success. An urgent and crucial question for each of us is what responsibilities, agendas, and solutions can properly address these alarming, coalescing challenges.
Educational improvement is not merely a technical term, evidenced by the emerging, fast-growing, and interdisciplinary field of educational improvement studies. It constitutes a powerful approach and a dynamic process to advance education at individual, organizational, systemic, national, and/or global levels, through which reality and uncertainty are examined and problems are tackled. It varies across educational levels, forms, and contexts, including but not limited to equity, inclusion, diversity, quality, effectiveness, and sustainability. They each deserve stronger policy actions and more integrated theories and applications, requiring capacity- and community-building, a systemic approach, and multi-perspective inquiries.
Comparative and international perspectives are essential to fulfilling the dream of educational equity. How should we critically look at and meet desired outcomes across time and space? In what ways may micro, meso, and/or macro educational strategies, structures, and processes be improved along with their environments? How do we know through rigorous methods that we ARE making progress responsively? What changes can bring about responsible and sustainable advancement in learning, teaching, and schooling? What implications may these changes have on individual systems, contexts, and the already vulnerable planet? And how may our endeavors help redefine comparative and international education in a way that reconnects it with contextualized educational policy and practice?
Our mission for educational improvement to empower learners, educators, and many more on local, national, regional, and global scales relies largely on how richly we can engage and inspire each other at the 2023 CIES Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. and online, February 14-22.
We enthusiastically invite you to contribute to the 2023 CIES Annual Meeting by sharing your latest research and transformative ideas on improving education for a more equitable world!
CIES President Elect and 2023 Meeting Chair
On behalf of the Organizing Committee