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International Centre for Historical Research in Education


International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE) at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a leading centre for historical research into education



Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Compulsory School Attendance, 20 November 2020, 10.45-12.15 (UK time – Lecture will start at 11am)

Professor Gary McCulloch (UCL)

Half a century has passed since the philosopher Ivan Illich called for the deschooling of society. Yet, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1983, compulsory schooling remains the core of all modern systems of education.  The establishment and expansion of compulsory school attendance has represented a fundamental social transformation of the modern world.  Nevertheless, the OECD maintained that in many OECD countries, compulsory schooling has remained largely unexamined, while its goals, processes, and practices have tended to be taken as given.  On the 150th anniversary of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, usually seen as the foundation stone of modern schooling in England and Wales, and in the midst of a pandemic that has forced the extended closure of many schools and challenged the underlying ideas and practices of modern schooling, this lecture reflects on the growth of compulsory school attendance, the contested and ambivalent nature of this development, and its relationship to social and economic change in the modern world.

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Meeting ID: 927 4143 1777
Passcode: 454069