By Don Taylor, Deputy Chair of UKFIET Executive Committee

BAICE logoThe 2018 BAICE Conference was held at the University of York from 12th to 14th September on the theme Comparative Education and Development Alternatives – critiques, innovations and transitions. It included the familiar mix of parallel sessions for the presentation of papers, interspersed with keynote addresses and panel symposia, and concluding with a BAICE Question Time session.

The keynote speaker at the first plenary session was Manish Jain, billed as the Founder and Coordinator of Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development in Udaipur, India. He critiqued the conventional interpretation of development, even sustainable development, and its “civilizing mission, with education at its core”. Echoing Ivan Illich, he called instead for unlearning and for localisation, for reclaiming indigenous knowledge systems, for regenerating cultural resources, and for “re-wheeling the webs of communities”.

Michael Crossley delivered his BAICE Presidential Address on “Policy Transfer, Sustainable Development and the Contexts of Education”, entertainingly illustrated with examples from his own teaching and research career. He called for strengthened collaboration with other constituencies, such as BERA, CESE, and UKFIET. He ended with some suggestions for future research: on contexts that have urgent human rights and global security implications, on enduring class differences in UK, on private education and commercialisation, and analytical research with policy implications, for example on school leadership.

This year sees the 20th anniversary of the formation of BAICE, by the merger of the British Association of Teachers and Researchers in Overseas Education (BATROE) and the British Comparative Education Society (BCES). The anniversary was marked by a ‘Forum’ in the latest issue of the journal Compare (Vol.48, No.5) and by a Panel session in the conference, celebrating and reflecting on the past 20 years of research capacity building and engagement in policy debates, and looking forward to the future of BAICE and of Compare.

Almost 200 people attended the conference, according to the list of ‘Delegates’. Of these, 78% identified themselves as staff or students of universities, including more than 20 people each from Cambridge and from UCL Institute of Education. The BAICE AGM, held at the conference, heard that BAICE now has 358 individual members, a quarter of whom are located outside the UK.

The UKFIET AGM was also held in York, on the eve of the BAICE conference, and was followed by a Networking Event when the theme for the 2019 UKFIET Conference was announced – Inclusive Education Systems: futures, fallacies and finance. This will be held in Oxford, as usual, from 17th to 19th September 2019.