Reasons for Undertaking Comparative Studies in Teacher Education Programme
An understanding of comparative education is valuable for teachers, as they are both consumers and subjects of such research. Comparative studies can inform them how their students and schools are faring, the merits of various pedagogical options and resources, how a new curriculum differs from a previous version, how their lessons can be constructed so that new learning can be developed, and so on. Comparison is also used for measuring student achievement, performance appraisals of teachers, inspections, fulfilling administrative tasks, and marketing schools – to mention but a few important applications of comparative education.
THE CONCEPT OF COMPARATIVE EDUCATION
Comparative education according to Osokoya (1992) could be the comparison of educational theory and practice within a society, state, region and nations … that scholars could engage in the comparison of educational programmes, theories and practices even within one society. Therefore, there could be a comparative study of educational programmes within the local governments of a state, between states of a country and between countries of a continent.
Alabietal (1998) sees comparative education as; a way of comparing and contrasting different educational systems at national, infra-national as well as international levels.
REASONS FOR UNDERTAKING COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMME
There are various reasons that justify the study of comparative education especially for students of education -teachers in the making (or to-be), practicing teachers, policy makers, education planners and managers and all interested parties. Some of the reasons include;
- Enhance one’s own understanding: To enable us understand our own education systems in a better way by knowing its routes and how it has been influenced by others to be what it is today.
- To generalized educational concepts: To enable us make general statements about how education develops and also test how universally applicable existing theories in education are.
3. To know other people: Through comparative education one develops a reservoir of knowledge which satisfies one intellectual curiosity besides enhancing ones intellectual enlightment. Thus it broadens our thinking when dealing with educational issues and problems thus, think globally and act locally.
4. To improve education at home: By studying other peoples systems of education we get to develop a better perspective of our own education system. We study comparative education to discover which reforms are desirable and possible and how best to implement them, and also what successes to borrow and what failures to avoid.
5. To make people practical: We study comparative education in order to get exposure to knowledge in other disciplines in humanities and social sciences that also study human affairs so as to enable us have a holistic picture of education. Education in this regard is considered to be a consumer good. It therefore must have practical utility for example, ability to read and write. The task of making education practical is the duty of the government and the educationist. Comparative Education is therefore considered very suitable for studying this problem.
6. To learn the true nature of a society: By studying schools in other countries, comparative education opens the window through which we can understand a society for often the school reflect what the society looks like (schools are the mirrors of society). A school actually reflects or represents the national character. Michael Sadler (1900) said “In studying foreign systems of education, we should not forget that the things outside the school matter even more than the things inside the school and govern and interpret the things inside“
7. Contribute to International understanding and goodwill: Comparative education fosters international understating, peace and co-operation among nations of the world. By discovering and appreciating what exists elsewhere it replaces national pride and prejudice with the objectivity of judgment that facilitates international harmony.
8. Humanitarian reasons: The contemporary world is characterized by a big quest for knowledge, peace, equality and better life. The concern is how education can provide these qualities. In many countries the question of peace and equality are key issues in education. The discipline therefore satisfies our natural desire to learn more about the origins and development of such contemporary and educational issues in various countries including ours.
9. Problem solving; All countries face educational problems that require solutions. Comparative education helps us to understand differences and similarities between our own education system and others. In this regard one is able to appreciate the fact that countries develop educational systems to serve their own national objectives, interests, values and aspirations, based on their unique contexts and hence solve problems facing them.
10. International standards; In order to achieve international standards in education, comparative education makes us aware of the international trends in education and guides countries on how to give their people or citizens a universally conscious and relevant education that fits in the global village today.
11. To expose people to innovations; Today people are using various media to conduct education activities by use of televisions, teleconferencing, radio, e-learning and internet. By studying other system, one learns how to use such media and their benefits and this helps to bring the necessary reforms in one’s own education system.
12. To understand the economic implications of education; There is an argument that there is a correlation between education and improvements in the economy, that is, according to economic theory. Comparative education helps us to examine whether and where this is true.