n South African Journal of Education - From 'borrowing' to 'learning' in international comparative study : a critical reflection

Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



The state of public education debate, which to a great extent only reflects policies and practices abroad, is examined. The process of learning from others should replace the process of borrowing (of usually inappropriate policies / practices) from others. Two examples of the issues involved in the debate on public education, namely, Outcomes-Based Education and Medium of Instruction, were analysed through reference to media reports and discussions and through applying the time-honoured, seasoned and responsible principle of 'learning' rather than 'borrowing' from others, as prescribed by the science of Comparative Education. It was found that journalists and guest authors summarily employed policies and practices from abroad to motivate their own points of view and even used these as points of departure for political discourses. There was no sign of a scientific factoring-in of contextual similarities and differences between South African education systems and those abroad. This is a highly questionable and dangerous practice. In this regard Comparative Educationists have an important role to play in supplying a superstructure of relevant knowledge to inform eduacation policy formulation.

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