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Educational Policy Transfer in an Era of Globalization: Theory – History – Comparison


Jeremy Rappleye

As education becomes increasingly global, the processes and politics of transfer have become a central focus of research. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of contemporary theoretical and analytical work aimed at exploring international educational reform and reveals the myriad ways that globalization is now fundamentally altering our dominant conceptions. It illustrates how transfer has emerged to play a central part in policy formation processes worldwide, but also reveals critical differences between developed countries and aid-dependent developing states. This substantial breadth, combined with a level of empirical depth absent from current research, opens up new vistas through which to understand globalization, educational policy formation, and the modalities of transfer. In doing so, the book pushes for a reevaluation of several core assumptions of transfer and educational research more generally.


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INTRODUCTION This second section of the study examines the nature of education trans- fer processes in Japan. It consists of three chapters, the first of which is historical, followed by two ‘vistas’ from recent policy reforms. Each of the two contemporary ‘vista’ chapters prioritizes an analysis of transfer processes and the search for the ‘space-gate’ over a coherent narrative of Japanese education policy reforms since the 1980s. It is thus neces- sary to provide a brief overview of policy reforms as a ‘road map’ of sorts to guide readers less familiar with the Japanese case. This section introduction concludes by briefly rehearsing some of the methodological challenges and difficulties in presenting the findings that a combination of waves of policy change (discussed below) and a ‘vistas’ approach to presentation creates. (RE) INTRODUCING JAPANESE EDUCATION: CONCEPTUALIZING, LOCATING ‘TRANSFER’ Scholars of Japanese education frequently utilize the notion of ‘Three Great Reforms’ to conceptualize major structural/policy shifts in Japa- nese education over the past 125 years.314 The ‘first’ of these were re- 314 See, for example, M. Shibata, “Educational Borrowing in Japan in the Meiji and Post-War Eras,” in: Phillips & Ochs (eds), Educational Policy Borrowing, op. cit. (note 82), pp. 145-166; C. Hood, “The Third Great Reform of the Japanese Educa- tion System: success in the 1980s onwards,” in: R. Goodman & D. Phillips (eds), Can the Japanese Change Their Education System? (Oxford: Symposium Books, 128 Rappleye: Transfer in an Era of Globalization forms following the Meiji Restoration (1868). The ‘second’ were ush- ered...

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