In 1979, two Birmingham businessmen, the Ozanne brothers, decided to launch a new education journal, the International Journal of Educational Development, to fill a perceived niche in the market. They were concerned about the cynicism that they encountered in the developing countries with regard to the so-called ‘experts’ who arrived for brief visits and then felt able to write definitive reports. They were also concerned that the importance of education in the development discourse was being squeezed out by economists. They therefore aimed to publish a journal containing articles based on research into policy and practice in the developing world which might influence policy-makers. The first two volumes of the journal were published by W.I. Ozanne and Associates Ltd., and were printed by a firm in Hong Kong, but it became apparent that this system was economically not viable. Bill Ozanne, therefore, approached Pergamon Press in Oxford to see if they would like to add the journal to their social science portfolio. They agreed enthusiastically, beginning with Volume 3, Number 1. Elsevier Science Ltd. later took over the Pergamon imprimatur and continued to publish the journal, which is now recognised as one of the leaders in the field. Both this journal and Comparative Education are available to members of BAICE at reduced subscription rates, and in the case of Comparative Education, to individual members of some constituent societies of the WCCES. To celebrate the first 10 years of the International Journal of Educational Development, it was agreed to host a conference in Oxford. Thus the first International Oxford Conference on Education and Development was held in September 1989 and attracted over 80 participants from 26 different countries (Watson 1990).
Meanwhile, several academics and individuals concerned about the apparent decline in the number of British personnel involved in international education met to see how to increase collaboration between the different constituent groups. The key figures were Beverley Young (British Council), WCCES Member Societies, Peter Williams (Commonwealth Secretariat), Kenneth King (University of Edinburgh), and Keith Watson (University of Reading). Bill Ozanne was also involved in later discussions. These discussions led to the creation of the United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training (UKFIET), which eventually brought together professional associations such as BCIES, BATROE and BALID (British Association for Literacy in Development); non-governmental organisations such as Education for Development, Action Aid and Oxfam; and agencies such as the British Council, DFID and the Commonwealth Secretariat, to share ideas and organise a biennial international conference on education and development (Watson and King, 1991). It was agreed that, in addition to organising Oxford conferences, UKFIET would hold colloquia/seminars on key educational issues. The underlying idea was that while organisations such as BCIES and BATROE would continue to hold their own annual conferences in one year, they would benefit from coming together every second year as part of a larger event. This would include delegates from international bodies such as the World Bank. UNESCO, DFID and the EU together with academics and researchers from around the world.
The first UKFIET-sponsored Oxford International Conference on Education and Development (though in reality it was the second such event), was held in 1991. Since then it has gained in importance and prestige with the result that the seventh conference in 2003 had over 400 delegates from over 70 countries and the eighth one in 2005 was larger still. The
The success of UKFIET and the first two Oxford conferences thus facilitated closer co-operation between different groups involved in comparative and international education in the UK. It also coincided with major changes in funding for educational research, moves towards greater collaboration between institutions and organisations, and the decline in funding for overseas students. With the obvious benefits of such alliances, negotiations took place during the mid-1990s between the officials of BATROE and BCIES to combine as a new and larger association of interested professionals. Rosemary Preston (University of Warwick). the then Chair of BCIES, together with Thelma Henderson (also of the University of Warwick), the then Chair of BATROE, Bill Ozanne, the Secretary of both UKFIET and BATROE, Peter Williams (formerly Commonwealth Secretariat), and Kenr. Watson, the then Chair of UKFIET, undertook to draw up a new constitution for i reformulated society. This was achieved in September 1997, and the new name confirmed as the “British Association for International and Comparative Education” (BAICE). This was ratified at the inaugural BAICE conference at the University of Reading in September 1998.
Looking back, it was highly appropriate that Reading should have been the venue for the first BAICE conference since this was another new beginning and it was here that the original British Section of CESE had been formed.