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1For the 20th anniversary of the Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres, the Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques (CIEP) will be hosting an international conference on the topic of education in Asia in 2014 on 12, 13 and 14 June 2014.

Format, organisation and partnerships

The conference is open by invitation to 120 French and international participants, including experts, researchers, trainers and managers from European and Asian education systems.

The three days of exchanges will lead to a special issue of the Revue Internationale d’Education de Sèvres to be published in April 2015. All contributions to workshops will also be published online (

The conference will be held at the CIEP in Sèvres. Accommodation and catering for participants will be available onsite. The working languages will be French and English and a simultaneous interpreting service will be provided.

The conference is sponsored by the French Ministry of Education, National College for Education Management, Higher Education and Research (ESEN, France), French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in association with French and international institutions, universities, and research centres.

2The CIEP held a seminar (list of participants attached) on 11 and 12 April 2013 to discuss the orientations, objectives and organisation of the upcoming conference. The participants are part of conference's steering committee.

Dates of steering committee meetings:

  • 11-12 April 2013

  • 4 June 2013

  • 24 September 2013

  • 10 December 2013

  • 11 February 2014

1. The objectives: a conference to raise awareness and improve understanding of education in Asia

Understanding the educational realities of a major, diverse and under-recognised region by:

  • focusing multidisciplinary attention and various perspectives on this remarkable region in terms of its demographic, economic and geopolitical weight;

  • going beyond dated partial observations, which are sometimes based on prejudice and lack of understanding relating to the specific function of traditional doctrines, the exponential development of a 'shadow education' system and in many cases the hint that the results achieved in certain Asian countries may have been achieved by encouraging excessive competition between pupils;

  • examining education systems in the light of their underlying values, whether specific, common to others, or even universal.

Understanding Asia's responses to its own challenges and what they mean to the rest of the world

  • In terms of education, do Asian countries contribute to standardising or diversifying global practices? What influences do they or will they have?

  • How do Asian countries deal with the tension between fostering a scientific and business elite vs. educational massification and the new forms of social exclusion this gives rise to?

2. Conference scope and remit

3The questions asked of Asian education systems will include those questions that comparative specialists ask the world over. There is also likely to be a stronger call to study the links between education, traditions and civilisation, both within these countries and in comparison with others: what do such traditions mean with regard to knowledge and logic, to the State, to action, to religions and philosophies and to questions regarding their unity and their influence on the present?

Which "Asias" are we referring to?

4Whilst education in Asia is based specifically around two key educational experiences, that of Chinese-influenced Asia and that of the Indian traditions, other educational traditions and contexts that are less specific to Asia, such as the Muslim tradition, should also be taken into account, as well as the historical, ideological and political developments specific to each country..

Thematic definitions 

5The conference will primarily deal with school education, though access to higher education and vocational training may also be considered.

3. Three core strands of the conference

STRAND 1: Education systems in Asia: Representations of school education

Discourse and narratives

6The concept of the 'pupil', the 'child', the citizen, the educated person or the worker to be trained vary according to different traditions, as do the relationship to the family, to one's elders, masters, competitors or peers. How do discourse and narratives [on education] position education in relation to society, the State and value systems, and how do they into consideration the very rapid transformations that have taken place over recent decades?

Knowledge, curricula and pedagogy

7How is the knowledge taught in schools defined and to what ends? What has remained and what has changed in terms of curricula? What pedagogical traditions exist? What is the approach to innovation? What is the influence of the shadow education sector of private tutoring? To what extent are local languages and knowledge taken into account?

STRAND 2: Education systems in Asia: Organisations, strategies and results

School education systems changing as a result of social transformation

8Many Asian countries are faced with a number of different factors that undermine their school education systems and create situations of relative disorder such as poverty, the commodification of education, shadow education, direct or indirect foreign interference, minorities and internal migration, and decentralisation. It is worth considering how and in reference to what frameworks the different education systems regulate and manage such factors.

Issues and conditions associated with the funding of education in Asia

9The early development of education in Asia in relation to economic development has led some to believe that there could be an efficient "Asian model" of education funding. With the restoration of THE state and harmonization of international aid, the emergence of entrepreneurial strategies in the field of education, by states to private actors, and the growing education demand of families whether poor or wealthy, have led to a proliferation of stakeholders in terms of education supply and funding arrangements which raises a number of questions about their effects in terms of efficiency.

School and society: a matter of trust

10The issue of societies' faith in schools is a matter of interest for international comparisons of education systems; whilst there are various models of the education-society relationship within Asia, depending on the country, with schools enjoying varying levels of integration into the social system, and whilst competition there appears to be more readily accepted, particularly by families, the significant and rapid development of a shadow sector and private schools, highlights a high level of dissatisfaction among families with regard to the existing education system. What changes are we currently witnessing?

STRAND 3: Asian education and the rest of the world: towards Asian models? towards competition or cooperation?

The existence and influence of Asian models

11Do one or several Asian 'models' appear as such? Can we try to characterise them? How aware of such potential models are education actors? Is the trend one of developing diversity or standardising models? What has been or could be the influence of foreign education models in Asia? Can any Asian models be seen to influence Asia or the rest of the world?

12Towards competition or dialogue: is there a continuing face-off between different models or a step in the direction of dialogue between civilisations?

Steering Committee

Chairman: François PERRET, Director of the CIEP

Pr. Christian AMATORE, Member of the French Academy of Sciences

Pr. Joël BEL LASSEN, Inspector-General of the French Ministry of Education (Chinese)

Pr. Alain BOUVIER, Professor emeritus (mathematics, management), Editor-in-chief of the Revue Internationale d’Education

Pr. Mark BRAY, Professor, Director of the Comparative Education Research Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong

Pr. CHEN Wei, Professor and translator, University of Shanghai (French and comparative literature

Pr. Laurence CORNU, Professor (philosophy), Head of the Department of Education Sciences, François-Rabelais University, Tours (France)

Bruno CURVALE, Programme manager, Department of Cooperation in Education, CIEP

Pr. Jean-Marie DE KETELE, Professor emeritus of Education Sciences, University of Louvain-la Neuve (Belgium)

Pierre-Louis GAUTHIER, Local Education Officer (H) (France)

Dr. Roger-François GAUTHIER, Inspector-General of the French Ministry of Education and Research, Visiting Professor at Paris 5 University, Permanent Member of the Conseil National des Programmes (National Curriculum Council – France)

Dr. Nolwen HENAFF, Assistant professor (economy), CEPED, Université Paris Descartes -Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD)

Dr. Bernard HUGONNIER, former Deputy Director of the Department of Education, OECD, Associate Professor, Sciences-Po Paris

Pr. Walo HUTMACHER, Professor emeritus (sociology), University of Geneva (Switzerland)

Pr. LE HUU Khoa, Professor (anthropology, sociology), Director of the Asia Master's programme, University of Lille (France)

Pr. LE THAN Khoi, Professor emeritus (comparative education, economics), Paris 5 University (France)

Dr. Odile LUGINBÜHL, Local Education Officer - Regional Teaching Inspector (H), former Editor-in-chief of the Revue Internationale d’Education de Sevres

Pr. Michel LUSSAULT, Professor (geography), Director of the Institute of Education (IFE) (France)

Denis MEURET, Professor (University of Burgundy - IREDU), Education, member of the Institut Universitaire de France

Pr. Nathalie MONS, Professor (sociology), University of Cergy-Pontoise (France)

Dr. Jun OBA, Assistant Professor, University of Hiroshima (Japan)

Bernadette PLUMELLE, Head of the Documentary Resources Centre, CIEP (France)

Marie-José SANSELME, Deputy Editor-in-chief of the Revue Internationale d’Education de Sevres (France)

Bikas C. SANYAL, Economist, former Special Advisor to the IIEP-UNESCO (higher education), Director of the Maison de l’Inde, Cité Internationale Universitaire (Paris)

Valérie TEHIO, Deputy Head, Education and Training Division, French Development Agency-AFD ( France)

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« Framework »Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres [En ligne], Colloque : L’éducation en Asie en 2014 : Quels enjeux mondiaux ?, mis en ligne le 22 mai 2014, consulté le 22 octobre 2020. URL :

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