College of Education > News and Publications > News: July - Sept. 2012 > Students Explore Global Education Systems in CIED Program

Students Explore Global Education Systems in CIED Program

The Comparative and International Education Program in the Penn State College of Education gives students an opportunity to study education systems around the world.

Curious about the emergence of the postsecondary private education sector in Vietnam? How about patterns of teacher quality across Mexico? Or maybe the global reform of education in poor countries is of interest? These are they types of topics studied by scholars of comparative and international education, a field that is devoted to the systematic analysis of the operation and effects of the world’s education systems.

At Penn State, students who wish to become knowledgeable in the field of comparative and international education can join the Comparative and International Education (CIED) Program, which offers a dual-title degree program in which students can earn a master of science (M.S.) degree or a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree.

David Baker“Today more than ever, in an era of information technology and an interconnected global economy of skills and ideas, scholars need to understand how the processes of schooling and learning occur across societies and what implications this has for education in the world today and in the near future,” said David Baker, professor of education and of sociology and the CIED program coordinator. “The CIED program is designed to create opportunities for a range of people, including administrators and policy makers in social welfare, health education, and development; school leaders; and scholars of education, to examine these important issues.”

The dual-title degree program is offered through participating graduate programs in the College of Education and, where appropriate, other graduate programs at Penn State. The option enables students from different graduate programs to learn the perspectives, techniques, and methodologies of comparative and international education, while maintaining a close association with their program areas of application.

“The program currently includes 59 graduate degree students from 10 different degree programs across the College and outside,” said Baker. “The students are a diverse group representing a variety of ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds from nations in every region of the world.”

In April, many of these students attended and presented research at the 56th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was co-hosted by the CIED program, along with the Penn State Office of Global Programs and College of Education. The largest annual event of its kind, the conference has established itself as an important forum for education scholars, policymakers, and students to gather and exchange ideas about the trends shaping education around the world.

“The theme of the conference was ‘Worldwide Education Revolution,’” said Baker. “About 50 CIED faculty and students attended and presented research at the conference.”

-- by Sara LaJeunesse (August 2012)