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 (2021) and more recently in Reimagining Our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education (2022). There are many interrelated factors, often working in tandem, attributing to these limited improvements. These factors include power disparity, income, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, language, ability, culture, religion, geo-politics, and neocolonialism, among others. It is important to note the context within which these factors exist. We are facing a global emergency of climate change, in an uncertain era post-Covid. However, the people and communities most impacted by these crises are already vulnerable and the situation will only worsen if drastic changes are not made immediately; these factors will only expand existing inequalities, and in particular, further widen the existing gaps of learning access and success. We must then ask ourselves an urgent and crucial question: 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, 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. Each deserves 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 continues daily. Our hope is to continue to engage and to inspire one another at the CIES 2023 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. and online, February 14-22.
We enthusiastically invite you to contribute to CIES 2023 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
Note: Please allow time for the conference team to respond to your inquiries.