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Introduction to the International and Comparative Education Research Institute at Beijing Normal University

The International and Comparative Education Research Institute ( IICE )at Beijing Normal University is one of the oldest comparative education research organizations with the greatest scale and influence in China, and its field of comparative education is the only key national discipline approved by the Ministry of Education. Supported by IICE at Beijing Normal University, the Center for Comparative Education at Beijing Normal University was established in 1999 with the approval of the Ministry of Education as a key humanities and social sciences research institute. It is the only such approved research institute in the field of comparative education.
The International and Comparative Education Research Institute at Beijing Normal University was established in 1962 as the Foreign Education Research Office. It was converted and expanded in 1964 with the approval of the Ministry of Higher Education into a research organization focused on foreign issues. This was then integrated in 1965 with other foreign issue research organizations to become the Foreign Issues Research Institute. During a period of adjustment in 1979, the Foreign Issues Research Institute’s Foreign Education Research Office was used as the basis for the creation of the Foreign Education Research Institute. To meet the demands of changing disciplinary trends and China’s social development, the institute was renamed the International and Comparative Education Research Institute in 1995. The past Directors of the institute have been Professor Xie Fangchun, Professor Gu Mingyuan, Professor Bi Shuzhi, Professor Wang Yingjie, Professor Qu Hengchang, Professor Li Shoufu, and Professor Xiang Xianming. The current Director is Professor Liu Baocun.
IICE is committed to the following missions:
----Conduct research on cutting-edge issues in educational reform and development theory, policy and practice at home and around the world and explore the principles of educational development as well as grasp the development trends of international education in order to provide theoretical support for educational reform and development in China.
----Cultivate high-level international talent for cultural and educational government departments and related departments that have an international perspective, a comprehension of international regulations, and an ability to participate in international affairs and competition.
----Remain active in education policy research and consulting, provide intellectual support in making major educational decisions for central and local governments, and offer advisory services for regional education innovation and experimental reform at all levels of schooling.

  1. ----Engage actively in international cultural and educational exchange and cooperation, introduce and spread international concepts and educational experience in China, and spread China’s new discoveries, advanced experience and research in educational reform and development around the world to become a bridge and platform for Chinese and foreign cultural and educational exchange.
  2. The institute has a strong academic faculty of 16 staff members, among them nine professors, six associate professors, and one assistant professor, speaking a wide range of the world’s major languages including English, Russian, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese. There are also three staff working in the editorial department of the Comparative Education Review. The institute’s academic leader, Professor Gu Mingyuan is a prominent educator at home and abroad, one of the founders of the discipline of comparative education in China, former co-chairman of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), and current president of the Chinese Society of Education (CSE). Professor Wang Yingjie is an internationally prominent expert in the field of comparative higher education. He currently serves as the president of China Comparative Education Society and as convener of the State Council Academic Degree Committee’s evaluation group for the discipline of education. Over the course of several decades of development, the institute has created a uniquely excellent tradition, one of pioneering innovation, a spirit of progress, a style of working based on solidarity and cooperation, an atmosphere of adopting the foreign for domestic purposes and combining theory with practice as well as a diligent and pragmatic attitude toward research. ?

The institute has always been a major center of international and comparative education research in China. Based on intensive research of education in other countries, the institute has a number of different research paths, including comparative study of education policy and management, comparative study of higher education, comparative study of elementary education, comparative study of cultural and educational development, and comparative education theory and methodology research. In order to meet the needs of China’s modernization and educational reform and development, the institute has made a positive commitment to essential national education research. It performs in-depth research and analysis of the educational policies and laws, ideology and theory, systems and structures, reforms and developing trends of the major countries and international organizations of the world. Research areas include educational schools of thought, pre-school education, compulsory education, secondary education, higher education, vocational and technical education, adult education, teacher training, academic degrees and graduate education, and educational policy and management. The institute has also published the results of numerous high-level research projects. These include major educational resources edited by Professor Gu Mingyuan, such as The Dictionary of Education (12 volumes), The Series Education in China (9 volumes), Series on Worldwide Education (20 volumes), Chronicles of Global Education, An Overview of Domestic and International Ideas on Education (2 volumes), and An Overview of Global Education, as well as Professor Gu’s monographs, An Introduction to Comparative Education and The Cultural Basis of Education in China. The institute has also published Professor Wang Yingjie’s Development and Reform of the Higher Education in the United States, Education in the United States, and The Formation of and Development of the World-class Universities as well as Comparative Adult Education, edited by Professors Bi Shuzhi and Si Yinzhen and Comparative Normal Education, edited by Professor Su Zhen, all of which have brought the study of comparative education in China to a new level. Younger scholars have also published works that have had wide-ranging influence in academia including Professor Liu Baocun’s Tradition and Transformation of the Idea of Universities, Professor Xiang Xianming’s The Cultural Logic of Comparative Education, Professor Ma Jiansheng’s The Choice Between Equality and Efficiency: A Study of the Marketization of Education in the United States, Professor Wang Xiaohui’s Decision-Making in Education: An International Comparative Perspective, and Professors Xiao Su and Wang Yigao’s A Decade of Changes in Russian Education.??
The institute is the country’s largest training base for high-level professional talent in the field of comparative education. In 1981, the institute was among the first to be approved by the Academic Degree Committee of the State Council to establish a master’s degree program in the discipline of comparative education. In 1984, it was among the second group of institutes approved by the Academic Degree Committee of the State Council to establish a doctoral degree program in the field of comparative education. In 1986, the Department of Education and the School of Economics at Beijing Normal University cooperated in forming a doctoral program in educational economics and management. In 1988, the field of comparative education was determined to be a key national discipline by the State Education Committee (now called the Ministry of Education). In 2000, the institute founded a master’s degree program in adult education. In subsequent adjustments to academic disciplines, the educational economics and management as well as the adult education majors were placed under the management of other departments. Our institute is now focused on the training of high-level professional talent in the field of comparative education, accepting local and foreign master’s and doctoral students as well as post-doctoral researchers and welcoming visiting local and foreign scholars and advanced students. As of July, 2010, the institute has graduated 289 students with master’s degrees (including seven international students and 13 part-time students from Hongkong), 143 students with doctorates (including 17 international students and eight part-time students from Hongkong). Among our alumnus, Professor Wang Yingjie is the first person in China to receive a doctoral degree in comparative education, while Gu Ja Oek, a Korean international student is the first international student to receive a doctorate in the social sciences in China since 1949. Our graduates have been widely praised by employers, and many of them go on to become the leaders and driving force of academic teams.
The institute has been active in doing policy research and providing consultation services to meet the needs of all levels and types of educational authorities, schools, and the greater community. It is continuously improving its comprehensive ability to resolve major practical issues and participate in regional and school educational reform in order to become a renowned international education think tank and consultation base. The institute has provided the government with high-quality consulting services, giving it dozens of research and consultation reports as well as countless pages of investigatory materials during the process of drafting educational policy. It has done so during the research and development of such Chinese education laws and regulations as China’s Education Law, Degree Statutes, Higher Education Law, Compulsory Education Law, Vocational Education Law and Teachers Law. It has also played this role in the research and development of such Chinese national education reform and development plans as The Decision on Educational System Reform, The Outline for Education Reform and Development in China, Plan for the Revitalization of Education in the 21st Century, and The National Outline for Medium and Long Term Educational Reform and Development? (2010-2020). The institute also carries out case studies of the realities that exist in China and actively participates in regional education reform and experimental reform at all levels and kinds of school. It has made a significant contribution to the practice of educational reform in China.

The institute participates actively in international cultural exchange and cooperation, establishing extensive relations with others in academic research, graduate student international exchanges, as well as exchanges of staff and information. This cooperation has occurred with institutes and universities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, the Ukraine, Australia, Japan, Korea, Finland, India and others as well as with international organizations such as UNESCO and UNICEF. We have introduced China to the thought of world-famous educators such as Lyeonid Vladimirovich Zankov, Vasyl Olexandrovych Sukhomlynsky, Yuri Konstatinovich Babansky, Jerome Seymour Bruner, Benjamin Bloom, Martin Wagenschein, Maria Montessori and Howard Gardner, advanced international educational models, and carried out research and experiments that have spread widely our educational theories and experience. At the same time, we have promoted China’s culture and educational reform experience abroad through international communication.

The institute’s journal, Comparative Education Review (formerly known as Trends in Foreign Education), founded in 1965, was commissioned by the Chinese Central government and was the first journal on comparative education in China. It now doubles as the bulletin of the China Comparative Society and has an important influence on academic circles at home and abroad. Citation report data on Chinese academic journals show that Comparative Education Review tops the list of Chinese academic journals about education in terms of citation frequency, impact. For years, Comparative Education Review has played an important role in transmitting academic achievements, leading in the development of the discipline of comparative education, promoting the growth of teachers and students and advancing educational reform and development.
The work our institute has done in academic research, talent training, social service and international communication has been praised highly in academic circles and by those in governments and the field of education and we have won many national, provincial and ministerial awards. Professor Gu Mingyuan has won the National Award for Excellence in Teaching, and was named a Beijing “People’s Teacher.”He has received honorary doctorates from the Hong Kong Institute of Education,the University of Macau and Soka University in Japan, and was conferred the title of honored professor by Columbia University Teachers’ College. Professors Wang Yingjie, Bi Shuzhi, Chi Enlian, Zhou Qu, and Qu Hengchang have received grants from the State Council for their special contributions. Professors Xiang Xianming and Liu Baocun were selected by the Ministry of Education New Century Outstanding Talents Support Plan. From 1991 to 2009, the institute won 35 national and provincial teaching and research awards. Among them, An Introduction to Comparative Education by Professor Gu Mingyuan won the Second Prize for National Teaching Achievement in 2001; his Research on Postwar Education in the Soviet Union won First Prize in the First State Education Committee’s Outstanding Awards in the Humanities and Social Sciences in 1995;his Ethnic Cultural Traditions and Educational Modernization won First Prize at the Sixth Beijing Outstanding Awards in Philosophy and the Social Sciences; his Dictionary of Education won Third Prize at the first General Administration of Press and Publication Dictionary Awards in 1995; his The Cultural Basis of Education in China won First Prize at the Ministry of Education’s Outstanding Awards for College Level? Humanities and Social Sciences in 2006. Compulsory Education in Developing Countries in Asia by Professor Wang Yingjie and Qu Hengchang and Associate Professor Li Jiayong won First Prize at the second National Outstanding Awards in Educational Science in 2000. Doctoral students, Ding Bangping, advised by Professor Gu Mingyuan, and Qie Haixia, advised by Professor Wang Yingjie won the National Excellent Doctorial Dissertation Award in 2001 and 2009, respectively.
Looking back, we have already achieved a lot; looking forward, we face challenges and opportunities. Our objective in the next period of development is to build our institute into a nationally leading and internationally influential training base for high level professional talents in the field of comparative education, a research center for international and comparative education, a domestic and international educational information exchange center and an international education consulting and service center. To this end, our institute will further broaden our research fields on the basis of refining disciplinary direction. While deepening our research of education in developed countries, we shall also broaden research into education in developing countries, especially neighboring countries, the BRICs and African countries, and broaden our research on the educational policies of international organizations like the World Bank, the EU, and the OECD. We will make outstanding achievements with great influence at home and abroad in important issues of national and global educational reform and development through cooperation and teamwork. We will promote exchange and cooperation with academic institutes in China and around the world, and study education in foreign countries while maintaining our focus on the practice of educational reform in our own, as well as introduce our country’s achievements and experiences in educational reform and development to foreign countries. We will deepen the reform of talent training models, promote the internationalization of talent cultivation, reinforce the construction of a curriculum system, and continuously improve the quality of master’s and doctoral student training. We will enhance our research of world educational policy and experimental research and improve our ability to help governments make decisions, providing information for the practice of educational reform. Finally, we will strengthen institutional development and capacity building, improve teaching and research conditions, and create a free .academic atmosphere to make the institute fertile ground for teachers and a growing paradise for students.