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Centre for Education and International Development (CEID), UCL Institute of Education


A forum for staff, students, alumni and guests to write about and around CEID's five thematic areas of engagement.


Farewell to a CEID Friend: Dr Hilary Perraton

By CEID Blogger, on 14 January 2022

Dr Hilary Perraton – died 15 November, 2021.

Hilary Perraton was associated with the University of London, Institute of Education, Education in Developing Countries (EDC) Department (now The Centre for Education and International Development – CEID), since the late 1970s. As a member of the International Extension College (IEC), Hilary worked with Michael Young (Lord Young of Dartington) and Professor Peter Williams of EDC, to establish postgraduate courses about distance education within the EDC international education programme. These courses ran from the early eighties until 2006. During that time, scholars and activists worked in EDC/CEID to research, write about and extend the use of distance teaching in newly independent countries across the world. In 1980, Hilary, together with Michael Young, Janet Jenkins and Tony Dodds, wrote ‘Distance Teaching for the Third World: The Lion and the Clockwork Mouse’. The lion was formal education via schooling and higher education, and the clockwork mouse was an alternative, via distance teaching. This early book was essentially an argument for using distance teaching to extend access to education for those who had missed out. It was to prove a manifesto and rationale for more than 40 years of committed research, scholarship, publishing, and activism aimed at helping many newly independent countries to extend access and improve the quality of education in lower income settings. In 1982, Hilary edited ‘Alternative Routes to Formal Education: Distance Teaching for School Equivalency’ which was published by the World Bank, but perhaps his best-known work was ‘Open and Distance Learning for the Developing World’, first published in 2000 by Routledge, and later, updated and published as a second edition in 2007. In retirement, Hilary turned his attention to researching the history of students who came from overseas to study in Britain. This work built on an earlier study Peter Williams had done entitled ‘The Overseas Student Question’. He researched and wrote two further histories of students who came to Britain to learn: (i) Learning Abroad: A History of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, published by Cambridge Scholars in 2009, and (ii) ‘A History of Foreign Students in Britain published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2014. Throughout his life, Hilary remained a focused and committed international educator; a true scholar and supportive critical friend to most. He could be a tough critic but he was always kind, thoughtful, encouraging, and clear. He lived a driven and worthwhile life, dedicated to improving the lives of others through better education and opportunity.  He inspired many people to work on hard things in the interests of improved education quality, fairness and equity. Hopefully in the future, more CEID scholars will be inspired by his work and life to push the Education for All project forward by whatever means feasible, relevant, and appropriate. Hilary’s wisdom, kindness and sound counsel, are already sadly missed.

Chris Yates

Lecturer in International Education

Remembering Emeritus Professor Lalage Bown, OBE

By CEID Blogger, on 4 January 2022

Emerita Professor Lalage Bown OBE died on December 17th, 2021, aged 94, after a fall at her home in Shrewsbury.  Lalage was known to us in CEID in many ways. She was a regular speaker at EID events and joined us as a Visiting Fellow during the 1997/98 academic year. During that year she presented a special EID lecture on Literacy, Gender and Development. The lecture, described as ‘analytical and inspiring’ by Miriam Mutesva, one of our MA students, provoked much discussion about power hierarchies and language (see page 21). Over the years, Lalage was an external examiner of the work of our MA and PhD students and a critical friend to staff and students alike.

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How do we monitor violence affecting schoolchildren and efforts to reduce it across the world?

By CEID Blogger, on 30 November 2021

by Jo Heslop, Jenny Parkes and Lucia Quintero Tamez

Violence against children occurs across the world in different contexts, affects all demographic groups, and causes serious harms to their rights, education, health, wellbeing and flourishing. In low and middle income countries, children face multiple forms of violence in and around schools, yet evidence needed to inform effective responses is still limited and uneven. Our team has created a guide for policy makers, practitioners and researchers to assess data availability and utility at country level in low and middle income countries.

Research has highlighted how violence is a social practice, shaped by relationships, norms, structures and conditions in the contexts in which violence occurs. For example, the #MeToo movement has brought to public consciousness how rape is connected to everyday sexual harassment, with both forms of violence situated within power inequalities (and associated impunity) based on gender, wealth, age and status. Similarly, violence affecting children in and around schools taking the form of corporal punishment, bullying, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence and child abuse, can be particularly acute in contexts with high levels of gender inequalities and poverty, which often underpin weak accountability systems in education, justice and child protection. It is important to collect data that reflect these multiple forms and contexts of violence.

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COP 26 and gender equality in education: mobilising data for sustainable change

By CEID Blogger, on 9 November 2021

By Helen Longlands, Elaine Unterhalter and Rosie Peppin Vaughan

As global leaders, practitioners and activists meet for COP 26 in Glasgow, the impacts of the worsening climate crisis coupled with the effects the Covid-19 pandemic on education systems are sharply evoked. These processes have gendered effects, which are particularly profound for the poorest and most vulnerable individuals, communities and countries. The reductions in aid and the failures of rich countries to deliver on the promises made at COP 25 have not helped progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by the global community in 2015 in order to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people and the planet by 2030. Indeed, this vision seems increasingly out of reach.

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Education in the Time of COVID-19 #047 – Khanapurkar et al.

By CEID Blogger, on 2 June 2021

Online Education in Covid-times India: Putting the Cart Before the Horse

by Rammohan Khanapurkar, Shalini Bhorkar, Ketan Dandare and Pralhad Kathole

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted set patterns of livelihoods and upset economic normalcy at a global scale. In a first of its kind, many countries including India witnessed nationwide school closures for the entire academic year. The situation offered preeminent position to online schooling in the lockdown period. This article discusses a key initiative by the Indian government to facilitate online transition of formal learning. The article argues how this ad hoc initiative was akin to putting the cart before the horse in a haste to prove online-worthiness of formal schooling.

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What do we mean by gender equality in education, and how can we measure it?

By CEID Blogger, on 18 May 2021

By Helen Longlands

Gender equality in education is a matter of social justice, concerned with rights, opportunities and freedoms. Gender equality in education is crucial for sustainable development, for peaceful societies and for individual wellbeing. At local, national and global levels, gender equality in education remains a priority area for governments, civil society and multilateral organisations. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and 2020-2030 Decade of Action commit the global community to achieving quality education (Goal 4) and gender equality (Goal 5) by 2030. The G7 Foreign and Development Ministers, meeting this summer in the UK, have made fresh commitments to supporting gender equality and girls’ education, which build on those they made in 2018 and 2019. Yet fulfilling these agendas and promises not only depends on galvanising sufficient support and resourcing but also on developing sufficient means of measuring and evaluating progress.

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Alternative Histories of Education and International Development #006 – Solaiman & Corbishley

By utnvmab, on 26 April 2021

Critical Thinking and Safe Spaces: A Dialogue  

by: Haya Solaiman and Rachael Corbishley

During the first session of the CEID Alternative Histories of Education and International Development Discussion Café, we shared some thoughts and reflections around ‘decolonising education.’ When it was suggested afterward that we write a blog to share some of these thoughts we had such mixed feelings.

On one hand, “I’m white, I grew up in the UK, only speak English, and am increasingly aware of my privilege. I’m not sure I felt comfortable writing about decolonising the curriculum as a white student. I am still not sure whether I feel comfortable about this” (Rachael).

On the other hand, “I come from Syria, a country in conflict, yet I consider myself ‘privileged’ as I can continue my education, and even pursue my studies abroad when many of my compatriots are enduring hardships back home and in the diaspora as refugees. However, when asked about decolonising education I also felt uncomfortable as the idea of censorship haunts me whenever I want to express my thoughts” (Haya).

Our contrasting backgrounds made our perspectives on decolonising education rather different. However, we both felt the need for space where we can share our critical thoughts freely and safely. Previously, our peers, Shola and Albina, talked about “creating a safe space”. They reflect that the safe space of the Discussion Café was enabled through “placing everyone at the same level … where everyone’s voices can be heard…” Here we decided to share some of our dialogue; some of our reflections, positionalities, and definitions of safe spaces in academic settings. The following text captures our conversation. We hope that these reflections will enable us to contribute to a wider discussion on safe spaces in academic settings and the hierarchies of knowledge production.

Reflecting on our own backgrounds and positions on safe spaces:

he Art of Conversation by René Magritte 1963

The Art of Conversation by René Magritte 1963

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Education in the Time of COVID-19 #046 – Duraiappah

By CEID Blogger, on 4 March 2021

COVID-19: Will it be a game changer for Education?

By Dr. Anantha K. Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP 

The first pandemic of the 21st century practically crippled the world, bringing it to a complete standstill. It is not the disease itself that caused the shutdown but the policies implemented to curb the spread of the disease. Travel, trade, manufacturing and service sectors were all shutdown. Lockdowns, confinements and social distancing practically made our present economic and social systems inoperable. The education sector was not spared either. UNESCO estimates that about 1.2 billion students from over 140 countries as of March 2020 were out of school. The situation has not really improved since then about 12 months later.

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Education in the Time of COVID-19 #045 – Unterhalter

By CEID Blogger, on 10 February 2021

Covid-19’s impact on girls’ access to education

By Elaine Unterhalter

Over the past decades, girls’ education has been claimed as a universal solution to every problem: population growth, climate crisis, ending conflict or economic growth. It is said If you educate a girl, you educate the nation or the planet. Then Covid-19 happened.

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Alternative Histories of Education and International Development #005 – Hajir, Kurian & McInerney

By ztnvcnu, on 8 February 2021

Decolonial work: Moving Beyond Simplistic Approaches to ‘alternative knowledges’

by Basma Hajir, Nomisha Kurian and William McInerney, University of Cambridge

The pervasive, systemic, and fortified configurations of coloniality within contemporary education contexts necessitates that decolonial resistance remains a deeply challenging practice. As a result, we believe it is important to acknowledge and unpack the many ways engaging in decolonization work can be complex, nuanced, and possibly even counterproductive if done uncritically. Specifically, we are concerned about the ways some decolonial work engages in overly-simplistic approaches to ‘alternative knowledges’ in resistance to colonized curricula and pedagogy. We fear uncritical work here, even that which is well-intentioned, can produce a dangerous context for binary thinking and cultural essentialism that might ultimately reinforce colonialism in education rather than deconstruct it. To unpack this challenge, we discuss three problematic aspects that we see emanating from uncritical glorification of alternative knowledges. 

Uncritical Glorification: Erasure, Relativism, and Difference  

First, uncritical glorification of alternative knowledges can unintentionally contribute to erasing history. For example, prompted by a desire to unpack western domination in education, to remain attentive to the limitations of grand narratives, and to point out what has been silenced, some postcolonial and decolonial scholars engage in critiquing the pre-eminence of what they refer to as ‘western metaphysics’, ‘western modernity’ or ‘western rationality’. We applaud their efforts and we wholeheartedly agree with the premise of their pursuit. Ultimately, interrogating western domination as a symptom of the alliance between power and knowledge is the core of decolonial work. 

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