Education and Development in Asia (online)

  • Study at your own pace
  • 10 weeks


This course will examine the relationship between education (mainly at the school level), state formation, and patterns of economic growth in selected Asian countries and regions.

It will be informed by a critique of various concepts of development, and will focus in particular on controversies relating to the significance of trends such as globalisation, cultural identity and autonomy in the developing world.

By comparing the development of education systems in various parts of Asia, you'll acquire the skills necessary to identify and analyse the contextual factors that determine the differences between these systems.

This course is delivered by the Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL Institute of Education (IOE). It can be taken as an accredited or non-accredited short course. 

Who this course is for

This course is for education professionals.

Course content

Key themes will include:

  • the role of skills formation strategies in the East Asian 'Economic Miracle'
  • the contribution of education to nation-building and identity formation
  • the implications of globalisation (both cultural and economic) for education policy in Asia

A particular focus will be the tension in educational policies in China, India and elsewhere between:

  • an elitist pursuit of high skills seen as crucial to competitiveness in the 'global knowledge economy'
  • the promotion of basic education for the masses with a view to fostering greater equality of opportunity and 'social cohesion'

The course will use comparative methods to identify convergent and divergent trends within Asian education, to analyse their causes, and to assess the role of national, regional and international forces and institutions in influencing educational development and shaping the educational agenda for the future.

What you'll learn

The course will help you:

  • understand and apply existing concepts and theories of the comparative study of education in Asia
  • understand the role of education and training in economic development and nation-building in selected Asia countries 
  • develop a holistic understanding of the educational systems in a range of contrasting countries in Asia
  • develop the skills for making systematic comparative analysis of the features of systems in different states and the contextual factors that determine such differences
  • use comparative skills and concepts to identify and analyse the major trends in educational policy and practice in different sectors in selected regions in Asia
  • explore the role of international institutions in relation to education in Asia
  • develop critical awareness of how international comparisons are used and misused in policy-making in Asia

Course structure

The course will be made up of ten sessions spread out over ten weeks. Each week, except the last week, you'll be expected to:

  • watch the recordings/read the transcripts for the session using the links on Moodle (UCL's virtual learning environment [VLE])
  • do the preparatory readings
  • participate in the online activity

Entry requirements

If you are taking this as a credit-bearing course, you need to have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7 or equivalent. Otherwise there are no entry requirements.

Certificates and assessment

Although this course is part of a Master's programme, it's available here as a single short course. You can take either the:

  • credit-bearing version - you'll gain 30 MA credits and will need to complete a 5,000 word assignment (you'll be encouraged to devise your own essay topic, but a list of titles will be provided)
  • non credit-bearing version - you won't gain any credits and won't take the assessment (this means the fee is lower)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you'll have:

  • critically analysed and articulated the major comparative theories and models in relation to the different major educational traditions in Asia
  • used systematic comparative analysis to understand and articulate the causes and effects of different salient educational contexts and characteristics in particular countries
  • understood and articulated major patterns of variation in educational systems in Asia and their causes
  • understood and articulated the role of education in relation to economic development and nation-building in particular Asian states
  • analysed critically and evaluated new policy developments in Asia
  • identified and made use of relevant policy and practice from different countries to analyse and articulate your own professional practice


The fees are as follows:

  • non credit-bearing - £670
  • credit-bearing - £1040

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Course team

Dr Laila Kadiwal

Laila is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL Institute of Education. She has a special interest in the role of youth and teachers in conflict and peace-building in the global South, and in the issue of education and conflict in Muslim contexts. She’s carried out fieldwork in a variety of complex contexts worldwide, including Tajikistan, Pakistan, UK, China and Dubai.

Course information last modified: 07 Feb 2019, 16:16